Manual The Histories

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Modern scholars disagree about whether Herodotus from the first had this arrangement in mind or had begun with a scheme for only one part, either a description of Persia or a history of the war, and if so, with which. One likely opinion is that Herodotus began with a plan for the history of the war and that later he decided on a description of the Persian Empire itself. For a man like Herodotus was bound to ask himself what the Persian-led invasion force meant.

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Herodotus was deeply impressed not only by the great size of the Persian Empire but also by the varied and polyglot nature of its army, which was yet united in a single command, in complete contrast to the Greek forces with their political divisions and disputatious commanders, although the Greeks shared a common language, religion, and way of thought and the same feeling about what they were fighting for. This difference had to be explained to his readers, and to this end he describes the empire.

His method in the account of the empire is to describe each division of it not in a geographical order but rather as each was conquered by Persia—by the successive Persian kings Cyrus , Cambyses , and Darius. The one exception to this arrangement is Lydia, which is treated at the very beginning of the history not because it was first conquered but because it was the first foreign country to attack and overcome the Greek cities of Asia Minor.

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The first section of Book I, the history and description of Lydia and its conquest by the Persians, is followed by the story of Cyrus himself, his defeat of the Medes and a description of Persia proper, his attack on the Massagetae in the northeast, toward the Caspian , and his death. Book IV begins with the description and history of the Scythian peoples, from the Danube to the Don, whom Darius proposed to attack by crossing the Bosporus , and of their land and of the Black Sea.

Book V describes further Persian advances into Greece proper from the Hellespont and the submission of Thrace and Macedonia and many more Greek cities to Persian might, then the beginning of the revolt of the Greek cities of Ionia against Persia in , and so to the main subject of the whole work. Article Media. Info Print Print.

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Herodotus 'The Histories': a timeline

Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Many nowadays doubt that purging international legal scholarship of politics would work. The first factor is that the object under investigation is itself a political matter.

International law has throughout its history been political, because its content depends on the political power of the parties negotiating the treaties, and because it transports political values. Scholars themselves cannot completely avoid being more or less political actors, because their value judgements, which are inescapable, often carry political implications.


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Along this line, most scholars of history seek to uncover various aspects of past events and debates and to contextualise them, thereby realising a modicum of objectivity and neutrality. Some consciously try to avoid judgment, while others are more prone to judging deliberately and to employing historical insights in contemporary political debates.

Writing on topics such as genocide, state of exception, failed states, humanitarian intervention, asymmetrical war, or cyber-attacks is especially liable to being used and abused by participants in political controversies. In fact, when it comes to writing history, the fight over master narratives is especially fierce, among governments, in different academic camps, and between governments and academics. The notorious example are memory laws which consecrate specific views on atrocities of the past especially genocidal massacres and which sometimes additionally criminalise the denial of those atrocities.

LacusCurtius • Herodotus

It is against this background that the rights and responsibilities of those researching on the history of international law should be seen. In the fine arts, she often appears with parchment scroll or book and trumpet.


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  • The painting has further political implications: Artemisia Gentileschi was one of the few accepted female painters in 17th century Baroque in Italy. Her personal life shows how she was subjected to the political convictions of her time.