Historical Analysis : Herodotus 's Life Traveling From A Wealthy, Cosmopolitan Greek Merchant Family

1090 Words Sep 29th, 2015 5 Pages
Herodotus came from a wealthy, cosmopolitan Greek-Carian merchant family. Instead of settling in one place, Herodotus spent his life traveling from one Persian territory to another, a cultural nomad. He crossed the Mediterranean to Egypt and traveled through Palestine to Syria and Babylon collecting anecdotal stories. While he was traveling, he would listen to myths and legends, record oral histories, and take notes of the places and things that he saw as he traveled. When Herodotus tired of endless traveling, he would return to his native city-state, Athens. There he would gather crowds in open arenas and public squares and tell his exotic stories, describing in detail what he saw and telling what he learned in his far journeys. He collected fees from officials for his appearances and became a local celebrity. Before Herodotus, no other writer had ever made such a systematic and thorough study of the past or had tried to explain the cause-and-effect of past events. After Herodotus, historical analysis became a fundamental part of intellectual and political life. When Herodotus died, editors divided his Histories into nine books, which were actually scrolls at the time.The first five books look into the past to try to explain his insights on the rise and fall of the Persian Empire, a massive undertaking. The books describe the geography of each nation state the Persians conquered and go into detail about the indigenous people and their customs. The last four books tell the…

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