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  • Herodotus
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  • 23 June 2018
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summary Ἰστορίαι Ἰστορίαι review É 3 There Was the Battle of Salamis fought between sausage sellers Which is the oldest language in the world Why did Leonidas and his 300 Spartans spend the morning before the battle of Thermopylae combing their hair Why did every Babylonian woman have to sit in the Temple of Aphr. Hubris in History A Recurring Terror The conversion of legend writing into the science of history was not native to the Greek mind it was a fifth century invention and Herodotus was the man who invented it RG Collingwood The prime subject of The Histories is the twenty years 499 479 BCE of war between Greece and Persia for domination of the Greek world However he intersperses this main narrative with plenty of personal interest stories wonders about firsts and bests historical parallels and occasionally his own biased judgements but always making it clear that he is interested only in presenting a viewpoint he leaves the act of judgement to the reader We can safely say that it was Herodotus who helped create the concept of the discipline of history in part by stressing and criticizing his sources and accepted traditions My job is to record what I have been told make of it what you will that is the dominant warning note wherever H s authorial voice intervenes in the narrative That should be the disclaimer all history books should come withAll the main themes of the book are evident in its beginning and ending in keeping with the circular narratives that H prefers to adopt All the intervening incidents act like reinforcements of the overall thrust inherent in the beginning and endingThe Beginning The Parallel Rise of Freedom EmpireWe begin with an insecure Hellenic world just shaking off the shackles of tyranny and tasting real ambition for the first time Meanwhile in the other end of the world an existing empire is being shaped into a fearsome tyrannical force by the new Persian rulers Soon the Persian empire starts to extend ominously outwards and gobbles up most of the known world This infringes on a core idea of H the concept of natural limits and over extension Persia is meant to fall The Small shall become the Big and the Big shall become the Small As long as empires are driven by ambition history is doomed to repeat itselfThe gods set limits and do not allow human beings to go beyond them Herodotus makes it clear that the Persians have to fail in their plan to conuer Greece because they have overreached their natural boundaries Xerxes announces his campaign by telling his advisers that he intends to conuer Greece so that we will make Persian territory end only at the sky 78The Middle The Clash of CivilizationsThen we are taken through the many over extensions of the Persian empire under a succession of rulers in Ionia Scythia etc until they are poised to encroach upon the newly non tyrannical Greek world Here we enter the climactic middle of the narrative and is drenched in the details of the gory encounter Many heroes legends and dramatic material is born here and we emerge on the other side with a clear sense that it was Athens without the yoke of tyranny that was able to bring down the fearsome war machine of the Persian empire David has won out against Goliath This is achieved due to much luck and much pluck but in the final analysis H seems to imply that the fault was with the hubris of the PersiansIt needs to be pointed out that H is uite clear that as human beings Persians are on the whole no better and no worse than Greeks Structurally however Xerxes great expedition to Greece stands as a monument to the dangerous blindness of massive empires and grandiose thinking but it is also the backdrop against which H has been able to present to us the Greeks love of their homeland their valor against incredible odds and their deep desire to preserve their freedomSo even as this main narrative concludes we are shown what is the inevitable result of Hubris that over extends its own reaches And of how tyranny in any form is not going to triumph over people who have tasted what freedom meansThe Ending A Reenactment of The BeginningHerodotus could have ended there But he doesn t Instead he takes us to the Ending to rub in the message and to instill that message with its true significance what is its bearing on the future For an investigation of History is meaningless unless it can educate us about the future And it is the future that H ironically points to as he takes us through the concluding sections of his HistoriesFor now it is the turn of the Greeks to over extend In the thrill of victory and in the thrall of a thirst for revenge in the spirit of competition with its own neighbors Athens and Sparta launch out on its own imperialistic enterprise to mainland Asia This is to culminate in H s own day with the Ionians looking upon Athens as the euivalent of a TyrantThe beginning of this period saw the triumph of the Greek mainland states over the might of the Persian Empire first in the initial invasion of 490 and the battle of Marathon and then in the second invasion of 48079 with the battles of Thermopylae Salamis Plataea and finally Mycaleb in Asia MnorThis unexpected victory against what seemed like the mightiest empire on Earth resonated in Greek consciousness through the fifth century and indeed beyond The Greeks in general and the Athenians in particular because they had played the major part in the triumph of Freedom saw these victories as a triumph of right over might courage over fear freedom over servitude moderation over arrogance It helped crystallize and reinforce Greeks attitudes to their own newfound way of life and values intensified their supreme distrust of monarchy and tyranny and shaped their attitude to the Persians And after what they visualized as the great struggle for freedom the people of Athens entered upon a spectacular era of energy and prosperity one of the great flowering periods of Western civilizationIn practical terms Athens naval success in the Persian Wars and its enterprise immediately after led to the creation of the Athenian Empire which started as an anti Persian league and lasted for almost three uarters of a century 479 404H seems to imply that Athens should learn from these investigations of the past see what Tyranny can do see the dangers of over extension understand the need for balance respect certain international boundaries and stay its own overreaching handAnd indeed within fifty years of the Persian defeat the dream had faded and before the end of the century Athens over extended abroad and overconfident at home lay defeated at the mercy of her enemies a Spartan garrison posted on the Acropolis and democracy in ruins Much in the intervening years had been magnificent it is true but so it might have remained if the Athenians had heeded Herodotus He had portrayed the Greek victory as a triumph over the barbarian latent in themselves the hubris that united the invader and the native tyrant as targets of the gods The Persian downfall or at least the defeat of their imperialistic ambition called not only for exultation but for compassion and lasting self controlAs should be uite obvious there is much to learn in this for modern times too but with an added twist For Hubris did not end its romp through history there It took on new wings once history started being recorded Now every new emperor was also competing with history Alexander had to outdo Xerxes Caesar had to outdo Alexander Britain had to outdo Rome Germany had to outdo Britain USA had to outdo Britain etc A never ending arms race with imperial history and the accompanying Hubris that powers itSo Herodotus even as he recorded History so as to blunt its devastating force on the lives of men also unwittingly added new impetus to its influence by adding the new flavor of recorded glory to the existing receptacle of legendary glory Hubris drank it up

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summary Ἰστορίαι Ἰστορίαι review É 3 Herodotus c480 c425 is 'The Father of History' and his Histories are the first piece of Western historical writing They are also the most entertainingWhy did Pheidippides run the 26 miles and 385 yards or 42195 kilometres from Marathon to Athens And what did he do when he got. The Histories HerodotusThe Histories of Herodotus is the founding work of history in Western literature Written in 440 BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions politics geography and clashes of various cultures that were known in Western Asia Northern Africa and Greece at that time Although not a fully impartial record it remains one of the West s most important sources regarding these affairs Moreover it established the genre and study of history in the Western world The Histories also stands as one of the first accounts of the rise of the Persian Empire as well as the events and causes of the Greco Persian Wars between the Achaemenid Empire and the Greek city states in the 5th century BC 1972 1324 24 211 1360 300 1368 573 4 9643461637 1368 1386 1391 612 9786006153278 1389 9789643314699 9789643314705 1858 1910 1324 Kiss of Ash (The Witchblade Chronicles, #2) run the 26 miles and 385 yards or 42195 kilometres from Marathon to Athens And what did he do when he got. The Histories HerodotusThe Histories of Herodotus is the founding work of history in Western literature Written in 440 BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek The Histories serves as a The Routledge Handbook of Postsecularity record of the ancient traditions politics geography and clashes of various cultures that were known in Western Asia Northern Africa and Greece at that time Although not a fully impartial Forbidden Hollister #2 record it SNAP remains one of the West s most important sources Sculpting a Galaxy: Inside the Star Wars Model Shop regarding these affairs Moreover it established the genre and study of history in the Western world The Histories also stands as one of the first accounts of the Who Was George Washington? rise of the Persian Empire as well as the events and causes of the Greco Persian Wars between the Achaemenid Empire and the Greek city states in the 5th century BC 1972 1324 24 211 1360 300 1368 573 4 9643461637 1368 1386 1391 612 9786006153278 1389 9789643314699 9789643314705 1858 1910 1324

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summary Ἰστορίαι Ἰστορίαι review É 3 Odite until a man threw a coin into her lap and how long was she likely to sit there And what is the best way to kill a crocodileThis wide ranging history provides the answers to all these fascinating uestions as well as providing many fascinating insights into the Ancient Wor. One of the surprising things about this book is that despite its antiuity the author s personality comes through Of course I m hearing his voice through translation but I couldn t help but imagine that I was on the listening end of an extended conversation with the book s narrator who had traveled widely met many people and read much The book s narrative sounds almost conversational with numerous digressions and detours that indicate extensive knowledge of the background of the characters and incidents being described I almost feel like I ve met the author who lived nearly 25 thousand years agoThis book is generally recognized as the founding work of history in Wester literature Published around 425 BC the year the author died it recounts the traditions politics geography and wars of that era The actual writing of the work had probably stretched over a number of prior years The work is divided into nine books beginning with founding myths and Trojan War and proceeding through Greek history until the second Persian invasionIt s interesting to note that the second Persian invasion occurred approximately fifty five years prior to the publishing of this account Those intervening years were the zenith of the golden years of Ancient Greece during which Athens dominated over the other Greek city states However the beginning rebellions of what later became known as the Peloponnesian War 431 BC 404 BC were underway LINK to my review of History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides LINK to my review of Herodotus The Father of History by Elizabeth Vandiver 24 lecturesPostscript added Sept 24 2019 One story told by Herodotus I found of particular interest he reported being told of a Phoenician ship that circumnavigated around Africa aka Libya in Herodotus era This would have occurred about 2000 years prior to Vasco da Gama I was amazed to learn this but Herodotus referenced the incident only as a reason for concluding that Africa was a smaller continent than Europe Herodotus said the Phoenicians reported that the sun passed to the north of the ship while they were in the southern part of Africa Herodotus believed this to be impossible Ironically Herodotus referenced the report of a northern sun as a reason for doubting to whole story whereas today we recognize it as a reason to conclude that the reported circumnavigation to be credible