Herodotus

(ca. 485 B.c.-ca. 425 b.c.)
   A noted Greek historian who wrote what modern scholars view as the world's first conventional history book, today called the Histories, which contains much valuable information about ancient Mesopotamia. The main subject of the work was the series of epic battles fought between the Persians and the Greeks in the early fifth century b.c. But Herodotus chose to go into voluminous detail about the backgrounds and cultures of the peoples involved, especially the Persians. He remains a major source of information about the Persians, Medes, Babylonians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, and some other Near Eastern peoples in the first millennium b.c. Herodotus's book is valuable partly because some sections are eyewitness accounts from his visits to Babylon, Palestine, and Egypt. He was a curious and observant individual, as well as a gifted writer, and he jotted down priceless descriptions of numerous Mesopotamian artifacts and customs. Here is his well-meaning, if partly ill-informed, description of Europe, Libya (Africa), and Asia, the three great land-masses known in his day:
   I cannot help laughing at the absurdity of all the map-makers . .. who show ocean running like a river round a perfectly circular Earth, with Asia and Europe of the same size. Let me spend afewwordsingivingapropernotion of the size and shape of these two continents. Persian territory extends southward to the Red Sea, as it is called. North of them are the Medes, then the Saspires, then the colchians, who go as far as the northern sea [the Black Sea]. ... These four nations fill the area between the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf. . . . This branch of the continent contains thirty different nations. The other starts from Persia, Assyria, and Arabia, and ends - or it is assumed to end - at the Arabian Gulf. . . . Asia is inhabited as far as India; farther east the country is uninhabited, and nobody knows what it is like. . . . Libya is part of the second branch I mentioned, for it adjoins Egypt. Egypt itself forms a narrow neck ... but it soon broadens out, and what is known as Libya covers a very large area. . . . The three continents do, in fact, differ very greatly in size. Europe is as long as the other two put together. ... As for Libya, we know that it is washed on all sides by the sea except where it joins Asia. (Histories 4.35-42)

Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary. . 2015.

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  • HERODOTUS° — (fifth century B.C.E.), Greek historian. He notes that the Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine, have, on their own testimony, learned the practice of circumcision from the Egyptians (Historiae, 2:104; cf. Jos., Ant., 8:262; Apion, 1:169).… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • HERODOTUS — alius quidam auctor, frequens in Scriptorum vett. ore. Vide Voss. toties laudatum, de Hist. Gr. p. 374. et 375 …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Herodotus — [hə räd′ə təs] 484? 425? B.C.; Gr. historian: called the Father of History …   English World dictionary

  • Herodotus — Infobox Person name = Herodotus image size = 220px caption = Ostensible bust of Herodotus birth date = circa 484 BC birth place = Halicarnassus, Caria, Asia Minor death date = circa 425 BC death place = Thurii, Sicily or Pella, Macedon occupation …   Wikipedia

  • Herodotus — /heuh rod euh teuhs/, n. 484? 425? B.C., Greek historian. * * * born 484?, Helicarnassus, Asia Minor died 430/420 BC Greek historian. He resided in Athens and then in Thurii in southern Italy. His travels covered a large part of the Persian… …   Universalium

  • Herodotus — Historian c.484 t30 BC.     Herodotus is regarded as the Father of History . The writings of Herodotus were the first attempt to separate fantasy from firsthand observation and factual evidence made available to the author.     Born at… …   Ancient Egypt

  • Herodotus — Büste von Herodot Herodot von Halikarnass(os) (griech. Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, * 490/480 v. Chr.; † um 424 v. Chr.) war ein antiker griechischer Historiograph, Geograph und Völkerkundler. Er wurde von …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Herodotus — biographical name circa 484 between 430 and 420 B.C. Greek historian • Herodotean adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Herodotus — noun An ancient historian who lived from 484 to 425 BC. See Also: Herodotean …   Wiktionary

  • HERODOTUS — (fl. C. 484–420 B.C.)    Greek traveler and historian. He was born at Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, was exiled to Samos, lived in Athens, and died in Sicily. He wrote nine books of Histories that chronicle the wars between the Greeks and the… …   Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia

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