The History of Herodotus The History of Herodotus 评分人数不足

The History

stonetiger
This book is about the history of Greece and Persia war, which took place around 2500 years ago. Today our world has been widely and deeply influenced by the western culture, which is indeed inherited from the ancient Greek civilization. During the period of Greek golden times, there have being emerging many philosophical thinkers, including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Zino, Pythagoras, .etc whose thoughts have been inspiring and influencing up until today. So how did this Greek world happen to prosper? What was the context during which the Greek civilization was emerging? Herodotus Histories gives us an important clue.

The writing method of Herodotus seems quite special. First, in addition to narrate the stories, he also introduces the relevant customs, costumes, religious beliefs, origins of the place where the story is going to take place. For example, he had given a detailed description of Egypt and Ethiopia before narrating how Cambyses conquered them. Besides, Scythia w...
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This book is about the history of Greece and Persia war, which took place around 2500 years ago. Today our world has been widely and deeply influenced by the western culture, which is indeed inherited from the ancient Greek civilization. During the period of Greek golden times, there have being emerging many philosophical thinkers, including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Zino, Pythagoras, .etc whose thoughts have been inspiring and influencing up until today. So how did this Greek world happen to prosper? What was the context during which the Greek civilization was emerging? Herodotus Histories gives us an important clue.

The writing method of Herodotus seems quite special. First, in addition to narrate the stories, he also introduces the relevant customs, costumes, religious beliefs, origins of the place where the story is going to take place. For example, he had given a detailed description of Egypt and Ethiopia before narrating how Cambyses conquered them. Besides, Scythia was also introduced before Darius took his expedition. Obviously Scythian seems to be much more barbarian than the rest of the world; Second, when he is narrating some stories, there will inevitably encounter some situations which need to be further introduced in order to help readers better understand how the story is going on. So Herodotus would pause at this place, start narrating another story, then switch back. This mode of writing appears over and over again; probably people should read fast enough to catch up the whole story.

This book also gives us some information on how people at that time view the world. In geography, they thought the world consists of three parts: Asia (mostly the territory of nowadays Turkey); Africa (includes Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya); Europe (from Greek world to the pillars of Heracles). The most fertile land is in the Greek world, the land in Asia is also good, but its climate is worse than Greece. Most Egyptian territory is sandy but Egypt is quite rich due to the richness of Nile. In the most northern part, Scythians were almost barbarians, the weather there was harsh. In religion, they worship gods and heroes; for example, Zeus, Dionysus, Hera, Apollo, Athena, etc. And they usually gave a large portion of valuables to the sanctuaries of gods, in the hope that they would protect them. Before making any important decisions, they would consult with oracles. And throughout the book, the author puts the gods’ will as the first factor in determining how things would go. In society, they viewed lineage as very important. In introducing someone, he would always point out his father, or even his grandfather. Courage is highly respected; Lacedemonians and Athenians were famous for their courageous.

The plot is everywhere. Just like Chinese history, there’re lots conspiracies, secret discussions undergo. Honesty seems a worth virtue at that time, but some people would comprise at the time of necessity. When Darius was participating in the conspiracy to overthrow the monarchy of Magus, he was courageous and flexible to make any lie if necessary. He said if there’s a lie needs to be uttered, let say it. In doing anything great, one first needs to be brave, then cautiously planned, and finally the decisive factor is with god’s help.

There are some impressive moments, which Herodotus depicted vividly. When the king of Lydia Croesus came back to Sadis from attacking Persia, he dismissed his allied troops because he didn’t thought there’s any necessity. However, at this very moment, Cyrus followed him with his full strength of army. It is an impossible situation for Croesus, but he nevertheless got ready to fight. In a very desperate situation, the Lydia king showed his courage. At the battle of Thermopylae, three hundred spartiates confronted with the entire Persian armed forces, which amounted to millions of soldiers. How gorgeous that situation would be.

This book also involved something about the government organization. For instance, before Darius come to power, the seven conspirators had a discussion about how they are going to run the country after the magus had been overthrown. They thought democracy and oligarchy would reduce the efficiency, whereas monarchy would be the best choice if a powerful and wise man has been selected. This argument has some convincing points; even nowadays some countries still take it as a theory to defend their current status. However, people living in Greece cherish their democratic way of political life. Some even said that their troops have more power when they are free rather than being as slaves. I think the early democratic system running in ancient Greece is a very valuable asset which had been inherited by the western countries since the Renaissance. The concept of freedom, vote, representative, free speech, arguments, democracy, and council are very crucial to the modern world. Almost everybody was involved in the political decision making, so that they fell like hosts in their country which would make them take more energy into building their own country.

Actually the history before the Greece Persia war has hardly been recorded, except for the Trojan War which took place around 1200BC. Homer recorded that war, though written in a mystery’s way in which even the gods joined many battles. After Trojan War, the Greece world entered into a period of darkness which lasted for over 400 years, due to the foreign invaders. However, the Greek civilization revived, and that is the very time when the Greek Persian war took place. As the victory of Greece from this war, there comes the golden age for the Greeks. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle came into the center of stage one after another.

Many of experts are trying to find out why and how did this sudden burst of this excellent civilization came out. After reading this book, I think it is still in a mysterious cloud. The book written by Herodotus introduces us the rational way of thinking at that time, the courageous characters, their longing for glory, and their admiration for the unknown power which dominated how things would come out. But it doesn’t tell us how all these are coming out of nowhere.
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