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Herodotus Life Situation Affected his History



 01 October 2005


The question of how social conditions affecting Herodotus’s personal life affected his writing history may raise many disputes among historians.

“The state where Herodotus was born in was under Persian Empire at that time; it was governed by Lygdamis, who put to death the poet Panyasis, a relative of Herodotus, for opposition and riots against Persia. Following this event, Herodotus had to leave his native city and went to Samos Island in Athena, and ever since he inhabited in Greek lands. But since he did not have any properties in Greece, according to Perseus law, he could not get a Greek nationality,” Dr. Saeed Oryan, director of language and dialect research center of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization told CHN.

Herodotus, the Greek historian, who is known as the Father of History by many, was born in 484 BC in Halicarnassus, south west coast of Caria, Turkey, then a part of Persian Empire.

“Herodotus was not Greek. He was born in Halicarnassus (today’s Bodrum in Turkey). Therefore he was born in Strapie Lydia and under the Achaemenid kingdom. Not all of the people of the region were Greek, and there were some non-Greek families among them like Herodotus father’s family, who were being called barbaric speakers,” said Touraj Daryaee, associate professor of ancient history in California State University, Fullerton.

Replying to the question of how Herodotus’s life affected his view and inscription of history, Oryan believes that Herodotus has written the history of a country which halted him from getting an Athena nationality due to being born in one of its conquered lands, a place where he had to leave for the execution of his close relative. He wrote his history under such conditions. Even during his own time he was accused several times of writing the history of Persia based neither on what Presesus desired not on the realities.

Morteza Saghebfar, who is translating the whole text of Herodotus History, asserts that Herodotus began writing his history in return for receiving some gold.

Oryan, however, does not deny the importance of Herodotus history and just notes that we should consider Herodotus with regard to his own characteristics.

Daryaee explains that Herodotus more than being a historian was a sociologist and an anthropologist and his view to the non-Greek nations is absolutely different with that of other historians, somehow being closer to philosophers before Socrates.

Herodotus History which has been written mainly about the four first kings of the Achaemenid era, Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius, and Xerxes, was translated to Latin from Greek for the first time in the 15th century. Until the last century, even the Europeans were not very familiar with it and for the first time it was Sir John Malcolm who mentioned it in his book of “The History of Iran”.



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