Herodotus: Volume 2: Herodotus and the World by Rosaria Vignolo Munson (Professor of Classics, Swarthmore College)
The ancient historian Herodotus, the Father of History, is also considered a great anthropologist. In his account of the Persian invasions of Greece in the fifth century BCE, he searches for the forces that transformed Persians from an underprivileged nation into the rulers of the largest empire of antiquity. In his Histories , he explores the non-Hellenic peoples that were either conquered by the Persians or managed to resist or elude their aggression, such as the Lydians, Egyptians, Libyans, Scythians, and Thracians, and describes the lands they inhabit, their resources, customs, religious rituals, and cultural predisposition. This second volume of the Oxford Readings in Classical Studies on Herodotus focuses on his description of foreign lands and peoples, and on the theoretical issues it raises. The selected essays look at the principles of Herodotus' research concerning the physical world in the light of traditional myth and the science of his times, and deal with the connections between travelling and storytelling, culture and gender, Hellenic and barbarian religions, and memory and ethnicity - all within the context of his insistence on the basic unity of human experience. Central to this collection is the extent to which the Histories's ethnographic portrayals conform to conventional Greek constructs of barbarian 'otherness', or derive from field-work and direct contact with native sources.