Histories consisted of one long text written originally
on papyrus rolls in antiquity; the librarians in Hellenistic
Alexandria in Egypt divided the text into nine books, named
for the Muses (the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne - "Memory").
The contents in general are as follows:
- Prooimion or "prologue"
- I: History of Lydia (especially the
reign of Croesus); Persia (especially the reign of Cyrus);
the rise of Persian power
- II: Egyptian customs and the reign of
- III: History of Egypt; Sparta's war
with Samos; death of Cambyses & reign of Darius of Persia
- IV: Darius' expedition against the Scythians
- V: Persia's reduction of Thrace; Ionian
- VI: Persian hostilities against the
Greeks; Marathon (1st Persian War)
- VII: Xerxes succeeds Darius; preparation
for the 2nd Persian War; Xerxes' invasion of Greece; Thermopylae
- VIII: Battles of Artemisum and Salamis
- IX: Battles of Plataea
and Mycale; end of the war
Selections include excerpts from the first eight books
of Herodotus' work. We will begin with the prooimion
(p. 49, lines 1-5) and then proceed to the account of the Persian
Wars in books 6 and 7. Our goal is to read these two excerpted
books in Barbour, covering the battles of Marathon and Thermopylae.
We will also read other portions of the work in English.