Jennifer Roberts introduces the background and writing of the 5th century Greek thinker and researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus, who invented the genre of historical investigation. She discusses all aspects of his work, including his fascination with his origins; his travels; his interest in seeing the world; and the recurring themes of his work.
Hailed by Cicero as “the father of history,” Herodotus was both a critical thinker and a lively storyteller, a traveler who was both tourist and anthropologist. Like Homer, he set out to memorialize great deeds in words, in particular, the wars between Greece and Persia. In his hands, the Greeks' unforeseeable defeat of the Persian kings Darius and Xerxes with their vast hosts made for fascinating storytelling. Influenced by the work of the natural scientists and philosophers of his own and earlier eras, Herodotus also brought his literary talents to bear on a vast, unruly mass of historical information, leaving behind him the longest work that had ever been written in Greek. This Very Short Introduction introduces readers to what little is known of Herodotus's life and discusses all aspects of his work, including his travels; his interest in seeing the world and learning about non-Greek civilizations; the recurring themes of his work; his beliefs in dreams, oracles, and omens; the prominence of women in his work; and his account of the battles of the Persian Wars.
Jennifer Roberts was educated at Yale and has taught since 1992 at the City University of New York, where she directs the doctoral program in Ancient History at the Graduate Center. She has published widely in the field of Greek history and historiography and has particular interests in ancient and modern democracy, Herodotus, Thucydides, and ancient warfare. She is particularly concerned with the history of attitudes towards social justice and its manifestations
in government and law.