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The Cambridge Companion to Herodotus : Carolyn Dewald :

Book Description Condition: New. Cambridge University Press, Series: Cambridge Companions to Literature. Publisher's information. Seller Inventory M Seller Inventory LIE Carolyn Dewald. Publisher: Cambridge University Press , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title Herodotus' Histories is the first major surviving prose work from antiquity. Review : "The Cambridge Companion to Herodotus is am odel of its kind and its editors should be proud. Buy New Learn more about this copy. The Histories has links with certain early essays on medicine preserved in the Hippocratic Corpus, and here it begins to be very clear how misleading it is to think in terms of the conventional disciplines as they developed in the next generation or two.

Certain areas of inquiry into the world of human society — for instance, customs and the relation between human society and climate — might equally be found among medical work, sophistic or philosophical, and fifth-century medicine was heavily endebted to the methods and ideas of the Presocratics.

The Ionians are singled out as living in the most beautiful position in the world, oppressed neither by cold and damp, nor by hot and dry 1. Persian luxury is contrasted pointedly in the scene after the battle of Plataea where the victorious Greeks create a Persian banquet and a Spartan one, and then wonder why the Persians had ever bothered to invade Greece 9. The moral is important enough to form the final paragraph of the Histories 9.

Herodotus shares some ideas also current in an explicitly medical text, then, but it is a text which is probably part of a wider milieu of speculation about the nature of human society and different peoples. He also shows a remarkable familiarity with a range of theories which can be specifically linked with Hippocratic medicine.

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We begin to wonder if his interest in Egyptian diet, fasting and purging 2. Egyptians have only doctors who are specialists 2. It seems plausible, then, that Egypt formed a conventional part of Greek medical lore and that, in addition to its other fascinations, it featured in the late fifth-century speculations of early medical writers and perhaps others about the origins of human health. A similar approach is profitable when we turn to the sophists of the last half of the fifth century. Of specific sophists, Protagoras stands out.

This is not to suggest that Herodotus shared the extreme scepticism and radical espousal of the demands of Nature physis that become associated with the more provocative sophists: far from it. What is particularly interesting is the way he sometimes reveals that he knows of a particular extreme theory and makes clear that he rejects it, that is, he is part of the intellectual milieu that knew of at least some of these theories, but he kept his own views and in these was markedly more traditional and conservative than some of his peers some literary criticism tends to forget that in classical Greece as in any other society there would have been a spectum of views around at any one time, and that not all writers would espouse the most radical.

Similarly when he declares that the travelling rumour of the Plataean victory across the sea just in time for the battle of Mycale does in fact show that the divine is active in the lives of men 9. The role of nomos and physis and their antithetical relationship were explored by almost all the main sophists. Here too, Herodotus has his feet placed more firmly in the realm of reality, actual or supposed nomoi rather than speculative, abstract argument.

This is brought out most spectacularly in the exchange between the exiled Spartan Demaratus and Xerxes 7. He did not take the extreme antinomian view, however, and it seems likely that his inquiries into ethnography were at least made sharper, more focussed, perhaps even propelled by contemporary interest in nomos. Chapter 2 uses Herodotean examples among others to show how quite contradictory ideas about correct behavour can be found: cannibals consuming deceased parents appear again 2.

They might also have encouraged his use of variant versions. Herodotus is not a relativist in the full sense that he abstains from judgement.

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He observes and describes customs of different peoples, apparently reserving judgement much of the time, yet he is clear that certain customs are wise because they promote endurance and military success. Once the Athenians became free, he says, they became successful in war because they were fighting for themselves rather than for others 5. This is, of course, ethnography in the service of political and historical analysis rather than moral relativism.

Here we see the historical thinker rather than the sophist playing with paradoxical opposites. Perhaps too, as a Greek from Asia Minor, he was acutely aware that it was not enough to be Greek in the fight against the Persians, and while geography was important, the Asiatic Greeks could hardly accept that as inhabitants of Asia they were different by nature from the mainland Greeks.

The new sophistic stress on nomoi perhaps offered Herodotus conceptual terms in which to express some reasons for the longerterm confict between Greeks and Persians and the surprising success of the Greeks. Here I do not mean the subtle ways of structuring and creating his narrative which have been much discussed and owe debts to the epic narrator and the oral storyteller. This would suggest it was the now fashionable and proper method to generate credibility for the author, whether or not the evidence was itself credible! These sometimes occur at interesting junctures where he is criticising ill-founded or false ideas.

This was a serious vehicle for oral performances about various spheres of knowledge, as well as for teaching the art of persuasion, though it was to become one of the main display methods of the later sophists. There were oral contests on subjects like the nature of man Hippocrates, On the Nature of Man chs. The striking parallels in style with Herodotus in certain passages when he is being controversial or polemical, or criticising opponents and predecessors, indicate that he too partook of this world.

Thucydides may be objecting to this kind of display when he stresses that his work is no agonisma, no competition piece for the immediate pleasure of the listeners Thuc. How does this intellectual milieu affect our interpretation of Herodotus as an historian? The fact that he poses as aware of his methods and often overtly critical of what he has heard should remind us that his account of past history may not always have been as innocent as he sometimes makes out.


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It cannot possibly be as innocent and neutral as it pretends to be 7. Such distancing from the logoi appears from the start. The debate between Xerxes and Demaratus 7. Fowler —3 on Hecataeus, and his chapter in this volume, for prose predecessors; also Momigliano ; Fowler Murray b See Marincola on Homer and Griffin on tragedy in this volume. Compare Loraux and Miralles For evidence for date of publication, Fornara b. See Fornara a ; Strasburger ; Moles ; and the subtle article by Fowler a. Murray b emphasises the significance of Thurii. Further details, Thomas 9ff.

See the chapters of Luraghi and Griffiths in this volume. Note that even Thucydides is markedly Herodotean when dealing with traditions about Pausanias and Themistocles in Book 1.

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Gould 7—8; A. Lloyd —88 I, esp. For fullest treatment of Presocratic and sophistic links see Nestle with Thomas 16— Raaflaub a Lloyd ; also Nestle See also A. Lloyd —88 II. Lloyd —88 ad loc. With A. Lloyd —88 , comm. Lateiner ; cf.

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See Thomas ff. Thomas , and Corcella 80—81; Thomas ch. Lloyd , , Jouanna — For doubts, see Flower and Marincola 15—16, Bibliography and discussion of Airs at Thomas 86— Thomas 36, and generally 37—9; Althoff ; Demont See Dorati for recent study of the scope and language of his ethnography. Myres See, e.

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Lloyd 92—3; Guthrie ; Kerferd , especially 39— 40 and ch. For Herodotus and the sophists, Dihle a , b ; Nestle ; Thomas Burkert , and Thomas —1. Thomas —9 for further references; Nestle ; Demont See especially Lasserre b ; Raaflaub a for caution. Most recent discussion of the debate in general, Pelling See Dihle a ; also Dihle ; Heinimann ; Thomas ff. See also Rood and Romm in this volume.

See Thomas —31 for some possible examples; note also 7.