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CG311 GREEK PROSE:
HERODOTUS' HISTORIES


Prof. Michael Arnush Ladd 209 x5462
marnush@skidmore.edu Hours: Tu W 11.00
Overview
Texts
Requirements
Readings
Web Resources




OVERVIEW
 
 
"Sophists were not the only thinkers to emerge with new ideas in the mid-fifth century. In historical writing, for example, Hecataeus of Miletus, born in the later sixth century B.C., had earlier opened the way to a broader and more critical vision of the past. He wrote both an extensive guide book to illustrate his map of the world as he knew it and a treatise criticizing mythological traditions of the past. Most Greek historians who came after him concentrated on the histories of their local areas and wrote in a spare, chronicle-like style that made history into little more than a list of events and geographical facts. Herodotus of Halicarnassus (c. 485-425 B.C.), however, building on the foundations laid by Hecataeus, made his Histories a ground-breaking work in its wide geographical scope, its critical approach to historical evidence, and its lively narrative. To describe and explain the clash between East and West represented by the wars between Persians and Greeks in the early fifth century, Herodotus searched for the origins of the conflict both by delving deep into the past and by examining the cultural traditions of all the peoples involved. His interest in ethnography recognized the importance and the delight of studying the cultures of others as a component of historical investigation" ("Herodotus' New Kind of Historical Writing," in An Overview of Classical Greek History from Homer to Alexander, by T. Martin (Perseus)
 
Labelled both as the "Father of History" (pater historiae) and the "Father of Lies" (pater fabularum), Herodotus of Halicarnassus has had a profound effect on a variety of disciplines and areas of intellectual inquiry: history and historiography, ethnography, archaeology, linguistics, literature, narratology, sociology, anthropology and gender studies. We will examine Herodotus and his Histories from a number of these perspectives (and others) and assess the quality of his contributions to western thought, read selected sections of his work in Greek and all of it in English, and discuss scholarship that sheds light on various aspects of Herodotus, historiography and his times. You will develop a greater proficiency in Greek grammar and syntax, acquire a vocabulary of Herodotean discourse, and examine aspects of the literary genre of historiography as created by Herodotus.
 
LEARNING GOALS

Students in CG311 GREEK PROSE: Herodotus will demonstrate the ability

  • to read continuous prose, employing skills developed in elementary, intermediate and advanced levels
  • to effect the transition from grammar-based learning to reading comprehension
  • to contextualize Herodotus' Histories in its larger cultural settings, including:
    • biographical details about the author
    • corpus of works of the author
    • literary world of the author
    • political/social aspects of the setting of the text
  • to use digital technology (web-based resources such as the textual, lexical and morphological tools in Perseus, and cultural databases on Greece and Rome)