What wars did herodotus write about
Without their success in this conflict, they would, no doubt, never have had the liberty, means or conviction to invent, discover or create all they did: not just history but philosophy, science, drama, art, architecture, indeed most of the cornerstones of modern civilization.
This stands in stark contrast to almost all other ancient historians, who tend to come from or be attached to aristocratic families and usually do not mention information about economics or practical details of daily life—common sense dictates that people who don't work for a living aren't likely to consider matters of basic subsistence as interesting as those who do—instead, they dwell on issues of philosophy, character and tradition.
For instance, if his date of birth is even roughly correct, Herodotus was a child during the Persian Wars and could not have been an eyewitness to most of the events recorded in The Histories, which means his testimony cannot constitute primary evidence.
Yet his was not the only arena to be affected by the new "Ionian" thinking. Many of the free-thinkers and their professors and colleagues who had sparked the Ionian Revolution by introducing this new-fangled physics and philosophical questioning were compelled to leave town by sundown.
In fact, according to Herodotus, there were over five million people—this accounting shows his merchant mind at work—but he adds drily that this figure includes "prostitutes and bakers. More likely, these fabrications originated as propaganda concocted after the fact to discredit a former regime. That same king consults the Delphic oracle and learns to his delight that he will bring down a great empire. The bulky Persian forces, accustomed to fighting on the flat, sweeping plains of the Near East, were never able to gain a real foothold and create effective military formations on the choppy turf of Marathon. The old king Candaules of Lydia was deeply in love with his wife and believed her the most beautiful woman in the world. Successive stories share with each other — and the larger historical narrative of which they are part — the same insights, themes and patterns. Thus, the Ionians became the first people in Western Civilization to approach the study of nature the way scientists do and began asking questions about the world which still dominate philosophy and science, such as "Where does everything come from? It's a situation directly analogous to the modern interest in the escapades of European royals whose purported debaucheries and globe-trotting, wife-swapping ways are the staple of tabloids today.
Most of the tales have no clear link to the main story. Xerxes rebuilt his boat-bridge, and to this second effort the forces of nature were indeed more compliant—perhaps the punishment actually worked!
Herodotus the persian wars summary
In Homer's case, "who set these two at each other's throats? We can see a whole spectrum of more or less fantastic creatures, whose ranks included the Cyclops and Sirens of the Odyssey. And so he did, with vicious anger—he seized Athens, which the Greeks had evacuated, and torched most of the city, including the old wooden Temple of Athena on the Acropolis an upcropping of rock at the center of the city. The quest for origins and beginnings runs deep in the Histories. Besides making improvements in navigation and measurement, they also entertained new and challenging ways of thinking. His son, Xerxes, succeeded him in B. Thus, like his father, Cambyses died relatively young, but unlike Cyrus, left behind no adult male heir. He takes the military conflict between Greeks and barbarians back to its roots in mythical times. This gave rise to innovative cults like the Pythagoreans, a sect based on the reverence of mathematical principles and dedicated to the exploration of numerical harmonies in nature. Their collective fascination with stories of this sort is, in fact, all too clear, as well as their fixation on foreigners and nobility and especially the erotic excesses of thrill-seeking aristocrats. The Athenians with a few allies defeated Darius at the battle of Marathon. Only then did Croessus realize that the empire he would destroy was his own. Along this highway, known as the Royal Road, were posted elite riders who carried messages back and forth from station to station on horseback, much like the pony express in the early American West.
Waters relates that "Herodotos did not work from a purely Hellenic standpoint; he was accused by the patriotic but somewhat imperceptive Plutarch of being philobarbaros, a pro-barbarian or pro-foreigner. The enlightenment of this reformed former dictator induced a general expulsion of tyrants in and around Ionia and, to protect themselves from any attempt to reimpose tyranny, the newly freed cities formed an alliance called the Ionian League.
Thermopylae was, in the end, hardly a victory for the Greeks, but it showed Xerxes—just as Marathon had shown Darius—that conquering Greece was not going to be easy.
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