Herodotus In Classical Greece

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The Classical Greek period is known to have many significant individuals whom enlightened Greece and the modern world with streams of intellectual movements. An example of a prominent personality of Classical Greece is Herodotus, who holds incalculable importance. Herodotus gives an insight of his own conception of the world in which human psychology takes fundamental place. He is also known for contributing to the creation of what society now refers to as ‘history’; an essential tool critical for humanity’s self-knowledge. The traces of Herodotus that he has left behind retain a meaningful place in both the context of Classical Greece as well as the context of the modern world. Through the use of primary and secondary sources in this essay, …show more content…
Herodotus’s comprehension of the world beyond the Greek Archipelago was acquired through his journey of collecting research material for his Histories. It “…showed him that there was a corporate life, higher than that of the city”, according to Richard Claverhouse Jebb in his work, ‘The Tragedies’. Furthermore, Herodotus’s magnum opus acts as an exemplification of his understanding, as in book 3 chapter 38, he expresses, “For if it were proposed to all nations to choose which seemed best of all customs, each, after examination, would place its own first; so well is each convinced that its own are by far the best.” This indicates that Herodotus is a thinker whom had a deep mastery of human psychology, which enabled him to grasp one’s attitude towards their culture when it is compared to another. Such awareness was needed when the Greco-Persian Wars spurred the creation of the Greek identity. The Greeks became highly aware of their differences with the non-Greeks, who they refer to as ‘Barbarians’. And as ethnocentrism began to seep through, the Greeks eventually believed that they were culturally superior to them. Herodotus played a major role in changing this perspective as he would give oral presentations of his new discoveries along with his knowledge of the life and customs of ‘Barbarians’ to the public. He played close attention to fine details and ‘marvelous deeds’ like monuments, temples, religious beliefs and the natural wonders of their countries. This eventually extended the Greek’s negative views of the people who were not of their cultural background. Thus, Herodotus’s importance is unveiled through his conception of the world and its relation with the behavior of the human kind as he spurred a transformation of the Greeks attitude towards ‘Barbarians’ in Classical

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