Herodotus was a famous ancient historian who has carefully recorded some of the key historical events pertaining to Greece, Persia and many cultures in the Middle East, Mediterranean and Asia Minor. He was born in Asia Minor, which is now modern day Turkey, in 484 B.C. (which is where he appears on the Biblical Timeline with world history.) Herodotus had made extensive travels throughout the ancient world and spoke directly with priests, scribes, orators, political leaders and monarchs in order to gain information about past events. Because of his extensive travels he is dubbed one of the best known factual historians that have ever existed. Other historians that are comparable to Herodotus include personalities such as Ibn Battuta, Livy and Josephus.
Herodotus historical documentation primarily focuses on Greece and Persia. The cultures, kingdoms and tribes that are also included with his documented works outline the minor cultures that existed within the framework of the Persian and Greek rule. Egypt was another major culture that was a part of Herodotus’ recorded information and he included the Egyptian history in light of Greek and Persian influence.
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Greece, Persia and Egypt were not the only places that Herodotus wrote about. He also took down information on the Babylonians, Scythians, Lydia, Medes, Assyrians, Phrygians, Arabia and India. He recorded information about various kings from various lands, and he went into detail about how ancient commercial operations were conducted for economic gain. For example, he outlined the process for spice production in Arabia and how gold was mined in India. He even revealed some information about the Phoenician and Carthage trade routes. He divided up all of the information that he documented into a series of IX books known as the Histories.
The Histories exposed the ancient world in a way that has never been accomplished before the time of Herodotus. This ancient scholar was able to shed light into how people lived on a daily basis. He even wrote down information about various tribes that existed in Asia Minor and their nomadic lifestyles.
The information that Herodotus recorded revealed that the lives of ancient man weren’t very different than the lives of modern people. There were rich and poor, there were international wars and conflict. Many people struggled to earn a decent living, the wealthy people within a particular culture or society usually were in charge and the people were worried about their futures and the future of their children. Herodotus brought all of these realities to light in his works so that many people could really get a good look at the lives, ancient men.
Greek culture was starting to become a dominant force in the world during Herodotus time. Though he wasn’t a Greek by birth, he realized that Greek culture was destined for greatness. Many of his writings included the history of Greece, their myths and the various wars that they fought especially with their ancient arch enemies the Persians. The Persian Empire was another primary subject of Herodotus’ writings, and he focused on the rise of Persia under Cyrus the Great and how the Persian Empire had come to dominate the ancient world. He wrote about their kings, gods, laws, battles and customs.
Some scholars and historians claim that Herodotus was a fake and that he exaggerated the information that he recorded. This could have been the case, but a lot of what Herodotus wrote down was verified through outside historical data. No one will ever know conclusively if he visited as many places as he did or just spent his time inside of an ancient library studying the histories of ancient peoples. One thing that many historians and scholars have to admit is that Herodotus’ presentation of history is considered one the best documentations in all of western society. And this one of the reasons why Herodotus will be remembered as the “Father of History”. He passed away in 425 B.C.
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