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1. The earliest Greek historian (in the proper sense of the term), and the father of history, was according to his own statement, at the beginning of his work, a native of Halicarnassus, a Doric colony in Caria, which at the time of his birth was governed by Artemisia, a vassal queen of the great king of Persia. Our information respecting the life of Herodotus is extremely scanty, for besides the meagre and confused article of Suidas, there is only one or two passages of ancient writers that contain any direct notice of the life and age of Herodotus, and the rest must be gleaned from his own work. According to Suidas, Herodotus was the son of Lyxes and Dryo, and belonged to an illustrious family of Halicarnassus; he had a brother of the name of Theodorus, and the epic poet Panyasis was a relation of his, being the brother either of his farther or his mother. (Suid. s. v. Πανύασις) Herodotus (8.132) mentions with considerable emphasis one Herodotus, a son of Basilides of Chios, and the manner in which the historian directs attention to him almost leads us to suppose that this Chian Herodotus was connected with him in some way or other, but it is possible that the mere identity of name induced the historian to notice him in that particular manner.

The birth year of Herodotus is accurately stated by Pamphila (apud Gell. 15.23), a learned woman of the time of the emperor Nero: Herodotus, she says, was 53 years old at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war; now as this war broke out in B. C. 431, it follows that Herodotus was born in B. C. 484, or six years after the battle of Marathon, and four years before the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis. He could not, therefore, have had a personal knowledge of the great struggles which he afterwards described, but he saw and spoke with persons who had taken an active part in them. (9.16). That he survived the beginning of the Peloponnesian war is attested by Pamphila and Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Jud. de Thuc. 5 ; comp. Diod. 2.32; Euseb. Chron. p. 168, who however places Herodotus too early), as well as by Herodotus's own work, as we shall see hereafter. Respecting his youth and education we are altogether without information, but we have every reason for believing that he acquired an early and intimate acquaintance with Homer and other poems, as well as with the works of the logographers, and the desire one day to distinguish himself in a similar way may have arisen in him at an early age.

The successor of Artemisia in the kingdom (or tyrannis) of 11alicarnassus was her son Pisindelis, who was succeeded by Lygdamis, in whose reign Panyasis was killed. Suidas states, that Herodotus, unable to bear the tyranny of Lygdamis, emigrated to Samos, where he became acquainted with the Ionic dialect, and there wrote his history. The former part of this statement may be true, for Herodotus in manny parts of his work shows an intimate acquaintance with the island of Samos and its inhabitants, and he takes a delight in recording the part they took in the events he had to relate; but that his history was written at a much later period will be shown presently. From Samos he is said to have returned to Halicarnassus, and to have acted a very prominent part in delivering his native city from the tyranny of Lygdamis; but during the contentions among the citizens, which followed their liberation, Herodotus, seeing that he was exposed to the hostile attacks of the (popular ?) party, withdrew again from his native place, and settled at Thurii, in Italy, where he spent the remainder of his life. The fact of his settling at Thurii is attested by the unanimous statement of the ancients; but whether he went thither with the first colonists in B. C. 445, or whether he followed afterwards, is a disputed point. There is however a passage in his own work (5.77) from which we must in all probability infer, that in B. C. 431, the year of the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war, he was at Athens; for it appears from that passage that he saw the Propylaea, which were not completed till the year in which that war began, It further appears that he was well acquainted with, and adopted the principles of policy followed by Pericles and his party which leads us to the belief that he witnessed the disputes at Athens between Pericles and his opponents, and we therefore conclude that Herodotus did not go out with the first settlers to Thurii, but followed them many years after, perhaps about the time of the death of Pericles. This account is mainly based upon the confused article of Suidas, who makes no mention of the travels of Herodotus, which must have occupied a considerable period of his life; but before we consider this point, we shall endeavour to fix the time and place where he composed his work. According to Lucian (Herod. s. Act. 1, &c.) he wrote at Halicarnassus, according to Suidas in Samos, and according to Pliny (Plin. Nat. 12.4.8) at Thurii. These contradictions are rendered still more perplexing by the statement of Lucian, that Herodotus read his work to the assembled Greeks at Olympia, with the greatest applause of his hearers, in consequence of which the nine books of the work were honoured with the names of the nine muses. It is further stated that young Thucydides was present at this recitation and was moved to tears. (Lucian, l.c. ; Suid. s. vv. Θουκυδης, ὀργᾶν; Marcellinus, Vit. Thuc. § 54; Phot. Bibl. Cod. 60. p. 19, Bekk. ; Tzetz. Chil. 1.19.) It should be remarked that Lucian is the first writer that relates the story, and that the others repeat it after him. As Thucydides is called a boy at the time when he heard the recitation, he cannot have been more than about 15 or 16 years of age; and further, as it is commonly supposed that the Olympic festival at which Thucydides heard the recitation was that of B. C. 456 (Ol. 81.), Herodotus himself would have been no more than 32 years old. Now it seems scarcely credible that Herodotus should have completed his travels and written his work at so early an age. Some critics therefore have recourse to the supposition, that what he recited at Olympia was only a sketch or a portion of the work but this is in direct contradiction to the statement of Lucian, who asserts that he read the whole of the nine books, which on that occasion received the names of the muses. The work itself contains numerous allusions which belong to a much later date than the pretended recitation at Olympia; of these we need only mention the latest, viz. the revolt of the Medes against Dareius Nothus and the death of Amyrtaeus, events which belong to the years B. C. 409 and 408. (Hdt. 1.130, 3.15; comp. Dahlmann, Herodot. p. 38, &c., and an extract from his work in the Classical Museum, vol. i. p. 188, &c.) This difficulty again is got over by the supposition, that Herodotus, who had written his work before B. C. 456, afterwards revised it and made additions to it during his stay at Thurii. But this hypothesis is not supported by the slightest evidence ; no ancient writer knows anything of a first and second edition of the work. Dahlmann has most ably shown that the reputed recitation at Olympia is a mere invention of Lucian, and that there are innumerable external circumstances which render such a recitation utterly impossible: no man could have read or rather chanted such a work as that of Herodotus, in the open air and in the burning sun of the month of July, not to mention that of all the assembled Greeks, only a very small number could have heard the reader. If the story had been known at all in the time of Plutarch, this writer surely could not have passed it over in silence, where he tells us of Herodotus having calumniated all the Greeks except the Athenians, who had bribed him. Heyse, Baehr, and others labour to maintain the credibility of the story about the Olympic recitation, but their arguments in favour of it are of no weight. There is one tradition which mentions that Herodotus read his work at the Panathenaea at Athens in B. C. 445 or 446, and that there existed at Athens a psephisma granting to the historian a reward of ten talents from the public treasury. (Plut. de Malign. Herod. 26, on whose authority it is repeated by Eusebius, Chron. p. 169.) This tradition is not only in contradiction with the time at which he must have written his work, but is evidently nothing but part and parcel of the charge which the author of that contemptible treatise makes against Herodotus, viz. that he was bribed by the Athenians. The source of all this calumnious scandal is nothing but the petty vanity of the Thebans which was hurt by the truthful description of their conduct during the war against Persia. Whether there is any more authority for the statement that Herodotus read his history to the Corinthians, it is not easy to say; it is mentioned only by Dion Chrysostomus (Orat. xxxvii. p. 103 ed. Reiske), and probably has no more foundation than the story of the Olympic or Athenian recitation. Had Herodotus really read his history before any such assembly, his work would surely have been noticed by some of those writers who flourished soon after his time; but such is not the case, and nearly a century elapses after the time of Herodotus, before he and his work emerge from their obscurity.

As, therefore, these traditions on the one hand do not enable us to fix the time in which the father of history wrote his work, and cannot, on the other, have any negative weight, if we should be led to other conclusions, we shall endeavour to ascertain from the work itself the time which we must assign for its composition. The history of the Persian war, which forms the main substance of the whole work, breaks off with the victorious return of the Greek fleet from the coast of Asia, and the taking of Sestos by the Athenians in B. C. 479. But numerous events, which belong to a much later period, are alluded to or mentioned incidentally (see their list in the Classical Museum, l.c.), and the latest of them refers, as already remarked, to the year B. C. 408, when Herodotus was at least 77 years old. Hence it follows that, with Pliny, we must believe that Herodotus wrote his work in his old age during his stay at Thurii, where, according to Suidas, he also died and was buried,for no one mentions that he ever returned to Greece, or that he made two editions of his work, as some modern critics assume, who suppose that at Thurii he revised his work, and among other things introduced those parts which refer to later events. The whole work makes the impression of a fresh composition; there is no trace of labour or revision; it has all the appearance of having been written by a man at an advanced period of his life. Its abrupt termination, and the fact that the author does not tell us what in an earlier part of his work he distinctly promises, (e. g. 7.213), prove almost beyond a doubt that his work was the production of the last years of his life, and that death prevented his completing it. Had he not written it at Thurii, he would scarcely have been called a Thurian or the Thurian historian, a name by which he is sometimes distinguished by the ancients (Aristot. Rh. 3.9; Plut. de Exil. 13, de Malign. Herod. 35; Strab. xiv. p.657), and from the first two of the passages here referred to it is even doubtful whether Herodotus called himself a Thurian or a Halicarnassian. There are lastly some passages in the work itself which must suggest to every unbiassed reader the idea that the author wrote somewhere in the south of Italy. (See, e. g. 4.15, 99, 3.131, 137, 138, 5.44. &100.6.21, 127).

Having thus established the time and place at which Herodotus must have written his work, we shall proceed to examine the preparations he made for it, and which must have occupied a considerable period of his life. The most important part of these preparations consisted in his travels through Greece and foreign countries, for the purpose of making himself acquainted with the world and with man, and his customs and manners. We may safely believe that these preparations occupied the time from his twentieth or twenty-fifth year until he settled at Rhegium. His work, however, is not an account of travels, but the mature fruit of his vast personal experience by land and by sea and of his unwearied inquiries which he made every where. He in fact no where mentions his travels and adventures except for the purpose of establishing the truth of what he says, and he is so free from the ordinary vanity of travellers, that instead of acting a prominent part in his work, he very seldom appears at all in it. Hence it is impossible for us to give anything like an accurate chronological succession of his travels. The minute account which Larcher has made up, is little more than a fiction, and is devoid of all foundation. In Greece Proper and on the coasts of Asia Minor there is scarcely any place of importance, with which he is not perfectly familiar from his own observation, and where he did not make inquiries respecting this or that particular point; we may mention more especially the oracular places such as Dodona and Delphi. In many places of Greece, such as Samos, Athens, Corinth and Thebes, he seems to have made a rather long stay. The places where the great battles had been fought between the Greeks and barbarians, as Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataeae, were well known to him, and on the whole route which Xerxes and his army took on their march from the Hellespont to Athens, there was probably not a place which he had not seen with his own eyes. He also visited most of the Greek islands, not only in the Aegean, but even those in the west of Greece, such as Zacynthus. As for his travels in foreign countries, we know that he sailed through the Hellespont, the Propontis, and crossed the Euxine in both directions; with the Palus Maeotis he was but imperfectly acquainted, for he asserts that it is only a little smaller than the Euxine. He further visited Thrace (2.103) and Scythia (4.76, 81). The interior of Asia Minor, especially Lydia, is well known to him, and so is also Phoenicia. He visited Tyre for the special purpose of obtaining information respecting the worship of Heracles; previous to this he had been in Egypt, for it was in Egypt that his curiosity respecting Heracles had been excited. What Herodotus has done for the history of Egypt, surpasses in importance every thing that was written in ancient times upon that country, although his account of it forms only an episode in his work. There is no reason for supposing that he made himself acquainted with the Egyptian language, which was in fact scarcely necessary on account of the numerous Greek settlers in Egypt, as well as on account of that large class of persons who made it their business to act as interpreters between the Egyptians and Greeks; and it appears that Herodotus was accompanied by one of those interpreters. He travelled to the south of Egypt as far as Elephantine, everywhere forming connections with the priests, and gathering information upon the early history of the country and its relations to Greece. He saw with his own eyes all the wonders of Egypt, and the accuracy of his observations and descriptions still excites the astonishment of travellers in that country. The time at which he visited Egypt may be determined with tolerable accuracy. He was there shortly after the defeat of Inarus by the Persian general Megabyzus, which happened in B. C. 456; for he saw the battle field still covered with the bones and skulls of the slain (3.12.), so that his visit to Egypt may be ascribed to about B. C. 450. From Egypt he appears to have made excursions to the east into Arabia, and to the west into Libya, at least as far as Cyrene, which is well known to him. (2.96.) It is not impossible that he may have even visited Carthage, at least he speaks of information which he had received from Carthaginians (4.43, 195, 196), though it may be also that he conversed with individual Carthaginians whom he met on his travels. From Egypt he crossed over by sea to Tyre, and visited Palaestine; that he saw the rivers Euphrates and Tigris and the city of Babylon, is quite certain (1.178, &c., 193). From thence he seems to have travelled northward, for he saw the town of Ecbatana which reminded him of Athens (1.98). There can be little doubt that he visited Susa also, but we cannot trace him further into the interior of Asia. His desire to increase his knowledge by travelling does not appear to have subsided even in his old age, for it would seem that during his residence at Thurii he visited several of the Greek settlements in southern Italy and Sicily, though his knowledge of the west of Europe was very limited, for lie strangely calls Sardinia the greatest of all islands (1.170, 5.106, 6.2). From what he had collected and seen during his travels, Herodotus was led to form his peculiar views about the earth, its form, climates, and inhabitants ; but for discussions on this topic we must refer the reader to some of the works mentioned at the end of this article. Notwithstanding all the wonders and charms of foreign countries, the beauties of his own native land and its free institutions appear never to have been effaced from his mind.

A second source from which Herodotus drew his information was the literature of his country, especially the poetical portion, for prose had not yet been cultivated very extensively. With the poems of Homer and Hesiod he was perfectly familiar, though lie attributed less historical importance to them than might have been expected. He placed them about 400 years before his own time, and makes the paradoxical assertion, that they had made the theogony of the Greeks, which cannot mean anything else than that those poets, and more especially Hesiod, collected the numerous local traditions about the gods, and arranged them in a certain order and system, which afterwards became established in Greece as national traditions. He was also acquainted with the poetry of Alcaeus, Sappho, Simonides. Aeschylus, and Pindar. He further derived assistance from the Arimaspeia, an epic poem of Aristeas, and from the works of the logographers who had preceded him, such as Hecataeus, though he worked with perfect independence of them, and occasionally corrected mistakes which they had committed; but his main sources, after all, were his own investigations and observations.

The object of the work of Herodotus is to give an account of the struggles between the Greeks and Persians, from which the former, with the aid of the gods, came forth victorious. The subject therefore is a truly national one, but the discussion of it, especially in the early part, led the author into various digressions and episodes, as he was sometimes obliged to trace to distant times the causes of the events he had to relate, or to give a history or description of a nation or country, with which, according to his view, the reader ought to be made familiar; and havilng once launched out into such a digression, he usually cannot resist the temptation of telling the whole tale, so that most of his episodes form each an interesting and complete whole by itself. He traces the enmity between Europe and Asia to the mythical times. But he rapidly passes over the mythical ages, to come to Croesus, king of Lydia, who was known to have committed acts of hostility against the Greeks. This induces him to give a full history of Croesus and the kingdom of Lydia. The conquest of Lydia by the Persians under Cyrus then leads him to relate the rise of the Persian monarchy, and the subjugation of Asia Minor and Babylon. The nations which are mentioned in the course of this narrative are again discussed more or less minutely. The history of Cambyses and his expedition into Egypt induce him to enter into the detail of Egyptian history. The expedition of Dareius against the Scythians causes him to speak of Scythia and the north of Europe. The kingdom of Persia now extended from Scythia to Cyrene, and an army being called in by the Cyrenaeans against the Persians, Herodotus proceeds to give an account of Cyrene and Libya. In the meantime the revolt of the Ionians breaks out, which eventually brings the contest between Persia and Greece to an end. An account of this insurrection and of the rise of Athens after the expulsion of the Peisistratidae, is followed by what properly constitutes the principal part of the work, and the history of the Persian war now runs in a regular channel until the taking of Sestos. In this manner alone it was possible for Herodotus to give a record of the vast treasures of information which he had collected in the course of many years. But these digressions and episodes do not impair the plan and unity of the work, for one thread, as it were, runs through the whole, and the episodes are only like branches that issue from one and the same tree: each has its peculiar charms and beauties, and is yet manifestly no more than a part of one great whole. The whole structure of the work thus bears strong resemblance to a grand epic poem. We remarked above that the work of Herodotus has an abrupt termination, and is probably incomplete: this opinion is strengthened on the one hand by the fact, that in one place the author promises to give the particulars of an occurrence in another part of his work, though the promise is nowhere fulfilled (7.213); and, on the other, by the story that a favourite of the historian, of the name of Plesirrhous, who inherited all his property, also edited the work after the author's death. (Ptolem. Heph. apud Phot. Bibl. Cod. 190.) The division of the work into nine books, each bearing the name of a muse, was probably made by some grammarian, for there is no indication in the whole work of the division having been made by the author himself.

There are two passages (1.106, 184) in which Herodotus promises to write a history of Assyria, which was either to form a part of his great work, or to be an independent treatise by itself. Whether he ever carried his plan into effect is a question of considerable doubt; no ancient writer mentions such a work; but Aristotle, in his History of Animals (8.20), not only alludes to it, but seems to have read it, for he mentions the account of the siege of Nineveh, which is the very thing that Herodotus (1.184) promises to treat of in his Assyrian history. It is true that in most MSS. of Aristotle we there read Hesiod instead of Herodotus, but the context seems to require Herodotus. The life of Homer in the Ionie dialect, which was formerly attributed to Herodotus, and is printed at the end of several editions of his work, is now universally acknowledged to be a production of a later date, though it was undoubtedly written at a comparatively early period, and contains some valuable information.



It now remains to add a few remarks on the character of the work of Herodotus, its importance as an historical authority, and its style and language. The whole work is pervaded by a profoundly religious idea, which distinguishes Herodotus from all the other Greek historians. This idea is the strong belief in a divine power existing apart and independent of man and nature, which assigns to every being its sphere. This sphere no one is allowed to transgress without disturbing the order which has existed, from the beginning, in the moral world no less than in the physical; and by disturbing this order man brings about his own destruction. This divine power is, in the opinion of Herodotus, the cause of all external events, although he does not deny the free activity of man, or establish a blind law of fate or necessity. The divine power with him is rather the manifestation of eternal justice, which keeps all things in a proper equilibrium, assigns to each being its path, and keeps it within its bounds. Where it punishes overweaning haughtiness and insolence, it assumes the character of the divine Nemesis, and nowhere in history had Nemesis overtaken and chastised the offender more obviously than in the contest between Greece and Asia. When Herodotus speaks of the envy of the gods, as he often does, we must understand this divine Nemesis, who appears sooner or later to pursue or destroy him who, in frivolous insolence and conceit, raises himself above his proper sphere. Herodotus everywhere shows the most profound reverence for everything which he conceives as divine, and rarely ventures to express an opinion on what he considers a sacred or religious mystery, though now and then he cannot refrain from expressing a doubt in regard to the correctness of the popular belief of his countrymen, generally owing to the influence which the Egyptian priests had exercised on his mind; but in general his good sense and sagacity were too strong to allow him to be misled by vulgar notions and errors.

There are certain prejudices of which some of the best modern critics are not quite free : one writer asserts, that Herodotus wrote to amuse his hearers rather than with the higher objects of an historian, such as Thucydides; another says that he was inordinately partial towards his own countrymen, without possessing a proper knowledge of and regard for what had been accomplished by barbarians. To refute such errors, it is only necessary to read his work with an unbiassed mind : that his work is more amusing than those of other historians arises from the simple, unaffected, and childlike mode of narration, features which are peculiar more or less to all early historians. Herodotus further saw and acknowledged what was good and noble wherever it appeared; for he nowhere shows any hatred of the Persians, nor of any among the Greeks : he praises and blames the one as well as the other, whenever, in his judgment, they deserve it. It would be vain indeed to deny that Herodotus was to a certain extent credulous, and related things without putting to himself the question as to whether they were possible at all or not; his political knowledge, and his acquaintance with the laws of nature, were equally deficient; and owing to these deficiencies, he frequently does not rise above the rank of a mere story-teller, a title which Aristotle ( De Animal. Gener. 3.5) bestows upon him. But notwithstanding all this, it is evident that he had formed a high notion of the dignity of history; and in order to realise his idea, he exerted all his powers, and cheerfully went through more difficult and laborious preparations than any other historian either before or after him. The charge of his having flattered the Athenians was brought against Herodotus by some of the ancients, but is totally unfounded; he only does justice to the Athenians by saying that they were the first who had courage and patriotism enough to face the barbarian invaders (6.112), and that thus they became the deliverers of all Greece; but he is very far from approving their conduct on every occasion; and throughout his account of the Persian war, he shows the most upright conduct and the sincerest love of truth. On the whole, in order to form a fair judgment of the historical value of the work of Herodotus, we must distinguish between those parts in which he speaks from his own observation, or gives the results of his own investigations, from those in which he merely repeats what he was told by priests, interpreters, guides, and the like. In the latter case he undoubtedly was often deceived; but lie never intrudes such reports as anything more than they really are; and under the influence of his natural good sense, he very frequently cautions his readers by some such remark as " I know this only from hearsay," or " I have been told so, but do not believe it." The same caution should guide us in his account of the early history of the Greeks, on which he touches only in episodes, for he is generally satisfied with some one tradition, without entering into any critical examination or comparison with other traditions, which he silently rejects. But wherever he speaks from his own observation, Herodotus is a real model of truthfulness and accuracy; and the more those countries of which he speaks have been explored by modern travellers, the more firmly has his authority been established. There is scarcely a traveller that goes to Egypt, the East, or Greece, that does not bring back a number of facts which place the accuracy of the accounts of Herodotus in the most brilliant light : many things which used to be laughed at as impossible or paradoxical, are found to be strictly in accordance with truth.

The dialect in which Herodotus wrote is the Ionic, intermixed with epic or poetical expressions, and sometimes even with Attic and Doric forms. This peculiarity of the language called forth a number of lexicographical works of learned grammarians, all of which are lost with the exception of a few remnants in the Homeric glosses ( λέξεις ). The excellencies of his style do not consist in any artistic or melodious structure of his sentences, but in the antique and epic colouring, the transparent clearness, the lively flow of his narrative, the natural and unaffected gracefulness, and the occasional signs of carelessness. There is perhaps no work in the whole range of ancient literature which so closely resembles a familiar and homely oral narration than that of Herodotus. Its reader cannot help feeling as though he was listening to an old man who, from the inexhaustible stores of his knowledge and experience, tells his stories with that single-hearted simplicity and naivecté which are the marks and indications of a truthful spirit. "That which charms the readers of Herodotus," says Dahlmann, "is that childlike simplicity of heart which is ever the companion of an incorruptible love of truth, and that happy and winning style which cannot be attained by any art or pathetic excitement, and is found only where manners are true to nature; for while other pleasing discourses of men roll along like torrents, and noisily hurry through their short existence, the silver stream of his words flows on without concern, sure of its immortal source, every where pure and transparent, whether it be shallow or deep; and the fear of ridicule, which sways the whole world, affects not the sublime simplicity of his mind." We have already had occasion to remark that notwithstanding all the merits and excellencies of Herodotus, there were in antiquity certain writers who attacked Herodotus on very serious points, both in regard to the form and the substance of his work. Besides Ctesias ( Pers. 1.57.), Aelius Harpocration, Manetho, and one Pollio, are mentioned as authors of works against Herodotus; but all of them have perished with the exception of one bearing the name of Plutarch ( Περὶ τῆς Ἡροδότου κακοηθείας ), which is full of the most futile accusations of every kind. It is written in a mean and malignant spirit, and is probably the work of some young rhetorician or sophist, who composed it as an exercise in polemics or controversy.


Latin Edition

Herodotus was first published in a Latin translation by Laurentius Valla, Venice, 1474.

Greek Editions

and the first edition of the Greek original is that of Aldus Manutius, Venice, 1502, fol. which was followed by two Basle editions, in 1541 and 1557, fol. The text is greatly corrected in the edition of H. Stephens (Paris, 1570 and 1592 fol.), which was followed by that of Jungermann, Frankfort, 1608, fol. (reprinted at Geneva in 1618, and at London in 1679, fol.). The edition of James Gronovius (Leiden, 1715) has a peculiar value, from his having made use of the excellent Medicean MS.; but it was greatly surpassed by the edition of P. Wesseling and L. C. Valckenaer, Amsterdam, 1763, fol. Both the language and the matter are there treated with great care; and the learned apparatus of this edition, with the exception of the notes of Gronovius., was afterwards incorporated in the edition of Schweighäuser, Argentorati et Paris. 1806, 6 vols. in 12 parts (reprinted in London, 1818, in 6 vols., and the Lexicon Herodoteum of Schweighäuser separately in 1824 and 1841, 8vo.). The editor had compared several new MSS., and was thus enabled to give a text greatly superior to that of his predecessors. The best edition after this is that of Gaisford (Oxford, 1824, 4 vols. 8vo.), who incorporated in it nearly all the notes of Wesseling, Valckenaer and Schweighäuser, and also made a collation of some English MSS. A reprint of this edition appeared at Leipzig in 1824, 4 vols. 8vo. The last great edition, in which the subject-matter also is considered with reference to modern discoveries, is that of Bähr, Leipzig, 1830, &100.4 vols. 8vo. Among the school editions, we mention those of A. Matthiae, Leipzig, 1825, 2 vols. 8vo.; G. Long, London, 1830; and I. Bekker, Berlin, 1833 and 1837, 8vo.


Among all the translations of Herodotus, there is none which surpasses in excellence and fidelity the German of Fr. Lange, Breslau, 1811, &c., 2 vols. 8vo.

Further Information

The works written on Herodotus, or particular points of his work, are extremely numerous: a pretty complete account of the modern literature of Herodotus is given by Bähr in the Neue Jahrbücher für Philologie und Paedagogik, vol. xli. p. 371, &c.; but we shall confine ourselves to mentioning the principal ones among them, viz., J. Rennell, The Geographical System of Herodotus, London, 1800, 4to, and 1832, 2 vols. 8vo.; B. G. Niebuhr, in his Kleine Philol. Schriften, vol. i.; Dahlmann, Herodot, aus seinem Buche sein Leben, Altona, 1823, 8vo., one of the best works that was ever written; C. G. L. Heyse, De Herodoti Vita et Itineribus, Berlin, 1826, 8vo.; H. F. Jäger, Disputationes Herodoteae, Göttingen, 1828, 8vo.; J. Kenrick, The Egypt of Herodots, with notes and preliminary dissertations, London, 1841, 8vo.; Bähr, Commentatio de Vita et Scriptis Herodoti, in the fourth Avolume of his edition, p. 374, &c.

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  • Cross-references from this page (7):
    • Aristotle, Rhetoric, 3.9
    • Herodotus, Histories, 8.132
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.130
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.184
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.15
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 12.4
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 2.32
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