Essay by AZITA September 2004

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Herodotus (484-424 BC ?) a Greek historian, known as the father of history, who was the first historian to apply critical evaluation to his material, while also recording divergent opinions. He made his prose style resemble the finest poetry by its persuasiveness, its charm, and its utterly delightful effect. Although his writings have been praised, their trustworthiness has been questioned both in ancient and modern times. After four years in Athens, he traveled widely in Egypt, Asia and the Black Sea region of E. Europe, before settling at Thurii in S. Italy in 443 BC. He wrote accounts of his various travels for the people of Greece. He read his, "History" publicly to the Athenians and was rewarded for this historical work. He contrived to set before his fellow citizens a general picture of the world, of its various races, and of the previous history of those nations which had one.

He also was very careful to diversify his pages by scattering among his more serious matter tales, anecdotes, and descriptions of a lighter character, which are very graceful additions to the main narrative.

Two men are famous contemporaries of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon, who were both from Athens. Thucydides (460 BC - 400 BC?) was a better historian than Herodotus and his critical use of sources and research made his "History of the Peloponnesian War" a significant influence on later generations of historians. Xenophon (430 BC - 355 BC?) began his "Hellenica where Thucydides ended his work about 411 BC and carried his history to 362 BC. His writings were superficial in comparison to those of Thucydides, but he wrote with authority on military matters.

Herodotus believed that many Greek rituals and customs were inherited from the Egyptians as the Greek civilization developed. He recorded the wide range...