Herodotus; born 484 B.C.E. in Halicarnassus (in present-day Turkey); died 425 B.C.E. in Thurioi (in present-day southern Italy). Herodotus was exiled to Samos from his hometown of Halicarnassus for plotting against the tyrannical rule of the Persians. According to his own claims, he undertook extended travels to Persia, Egypt, Phoenicia, and Babylon and went to Athens in 447 B.C.E., where he established close contact with the great personalities of his time, including the writer Sophocles and the statesman Pericles.
He participated in the founding of the colony Thurioi in 443 B.C.E., where he lived and worked until the end of his life. Herodotus belongs to a line of Greek authors who, at the beginning of the classical period of ancient Greece, endeavored to put down in writing the oral lore of the Greek peoples.
In his work of history, which was later divided into nine books, he described the time of war between the Persians and the Greeks at the beginning of the 5th century B.C.E. Among the representations of historical events, which Herodotus depicts as phases of the deeply rooted differences between Europe and Asia, are found many ethnological insertions on the lands to which he himself had traveled.
With these descriptions, the "Histories," which his work was later named, is one of the most important Western sources of knowledge on the Medeans, Achemenideans, Scythians, and Sacians. The constitution debate contained in his work (Herodotus 3,80-84), in which the different forms of state are weighed against each other, is also of great importance.
This is still a fundamental source in research on democracy today. His prose work was composed in a high literary style, so that the "Histories" had a lasting influence on later writers of history. Cicero (De leg. 1,5) named Herodotus "pater historiae," the father of history.
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