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Biography of Herodotus


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Herodotus, (4847-425), Greek historian. He is called the father of history. He was born at Halicarnassus. While a young man he traveled extensively in Egypt, Palestine, and Asia Minor, going as far eastward as Babylon and Susa. He became involved in the factional politics of his native city, and withdrew to Athens and afterward to Thurii, Italy, a Greek colony. Here he wrote his immortal History of the World in nine volumes. His general purpose is to narrate the conflict between the Greek and the Persian civilizations. He begins with the mythical history of the two races, describes the kingdom of Croesus, king of Lydia, the rise of the Persian monarchy, the Egyptian campaigns of Cambyses, and relates in detail the events of the Persian War. The writing of Herodotus is notable for excellence of language and breadth of view. He aims to show that the war between the Greeks and the Persians did not come about by accident; that it was not the result of proximity or of ambition; but that it was an irrepressible and unavoidable conflict between two different races, representing two types of civilization. Herodotus did not confine himself to the narration of military events. He thought it worth while to describe the wheat of Mesopotamia and training of the Persian youth to ride, to use the bow, and to tell the truth. The overflow of the Nile and the use of the papyrus plant attracted his attention.