Myth, Truth, and Narrative in Herodotus

Hardcover | October 30, 2012

EditorEmily Baragwanath, Mathieu de Bakker

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Herodotus, the "Father of History", is infamously known for having employed elements more akin to mythological tales than to unvarnished "truth" in translating his historical research into narrative form. While these narratives provide valuable source material, he could not have surmised thehostile reception his work would receive in later generations. This mythical aspect of the Histories led many successors, most notoriously Plutarch, to blame Herodotus for spinning far-fetched lies, and to set him apart as an untrustworthy historian. Echoes of the same criticism resounded intwentieth-century scholarship, which found it difficult to reconcile Herodotus' ambition to write historical stories 'as they really happened' with the choices he made in shaping their form.This volume brings together 13 ground-breaking essays written by specialists in the fields of ancient Greek literature and history. Each article seeks to review, re-establish, and rehabilitate the origins, forms, and functions of the Histories' mythological elements. These contributions throw newlight on Herodotus' talents as a narrator, underline his versatility in shaping his work, and reveal how he was inspired by and constantly engaged with his intellectual milieu. The Herodotus who emerges is a Herculean figure, dealing with a vast quantity of material, struggling with it as with theHydra's many-growing heads, and ultimately rising with consummate skill to the organisational and presentational challenges it posed. The volume ultimately concludes that far from being unrelated to the "historical" aspects of Herodotus' text, the "mythic" elements prove vital to his presentation ofhistory.

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Herodotus, the "Father of History", is infamously known for having employed elements more akin to mythological tales than to unvarnished "truth" in translating his historical research into narrative form. While these narratives provide valuable source material, he could not have surmised thehostile reception his work would receive in l...

Emily Baragwanath is Assistant Professor in the Classics Department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on the literary techniques employed by the Greek historians in their construction of historical narratives. Her first book, Motivation and Narrative in Herodotus (Oxford University Press, 2008), won...

other books by Emily Baragwanath

Motivation and Narrative in Herodotus
Motivation and Narrative in Herodotus

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:366 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.01 inPublished:October 30, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199693978

ISBN - 13:9780199693979

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Table of Contents

Preface and AcknowledgmentsList of ContributorsIntroductionPart I: From Myth to Historical Method1. Carolyn Dewald: Myth and Legend in Herodotus' First Book2. Suzanne Said: Herodotus and the "Myth" of the Trojan War3. Mathieu de Bakker: Herodotus' Proteus: Myth, History, Inquiry and Storytelling4. Irene de Jong: The Helen logos and Herodotus' Fingerprint5. Elizabeth Vandiver: 'Strangers are from Zeus': Homeric Xenia at the Courts of Proteus and Croesus6. Vivienne J. Gray: Herodotus on MelampusPart II: Myth and History7. Rosaria V. Munson: Herodotus and the Heroic Age: The Case of Minos8. Charles C. Chiasson: Myth and Truth in Herodotus' Cyrus Logos9. Rosalind Thomas: Herodotus and Eastern Myths and Logoi: Deioces the Mede and Pythius the Lydian10. Pietro Vannicelli: The Mythical Origins of the Medes and the Persians11. Angus M. Bowie: Mythology and the Expedition of Xerxes12. Emily Baragwanath: Returning to Troy: Herodotus and the Mythic Discourse of his Own TimeReferencesGeneral IndexIndex Locorum