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Herodotus is known as the “Father of History” for writing the first great narrative of history, which documented the events and wars between Greece and Persia in the 5th century BCE. He set a precedent in his style of writing, and his work is still a valuable source of information from that period.

Herodotus Make Your Own


Herodotus was born in the Persian Empire circa 484 BCE. He was called the "Father of History" by the Roman orator and writer, Cicero, for his famous work The Histories. This piece is considered a reliable historical work by most though some criticize it and call Herodotus the “Father of Lies”, claiming that The Histories is nothing more than tales.

Herodotus compiled his Histories during his extensive travels in Egypt, Africa, and Asia Minor. The main subject of his Histories was the war between Persia and Greece from 499-479 BCE. He also wrote about his observations and included accounts told to him by people he encountered on his journey. His work includes information about everyday life in Greece, Egypt, and Asia Minor, as well as the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

Although not divided by him, Histories was sectioned into nine books. The first five books detail the background of the Greco-Persian wars while the last four contain the history of the wars. The first part of his Histories tells a narrative of the war and its preliminaries, including the Ionian Revolt and the Battle of Marathon. The latter half of the work tells the story of the organization and growth of the Persian Empire, and includes descriptions of its geography, history, and social structure. It seems clear that he wanted to explain the difference between the Greeks - a people united under one language, religion, and motivation - and the Persians - a multilingual people, still united under one command.

Herodotus died sometime between 430-420 BCE. His style was unique and often left him open to criticism. He wrote a narrative of history using storytelling, digressions, and by opening dialogues. He was fond of Homer, and this is reflected in his tone and approach to his work. He did not have biases against anyone, which made his work more significant, and was detailed and good at geography. He was the first Greek, the first European even, to write a whole history in this specific style, setting a precedent for years to come. Though his work is often disputed and criticized, his Histories remains a leading source for original information of this period in Greek history - not to mention that of Asia and Egypt as well.

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Herodotus Significant Accomplishments

  • Traveled throughout much of the ancient world, documenting his journey.

  • Known as the "Father of History" - the author of The Histories.

  • Invented the field we know as “history,” having written the first great narrative of history.

  • Known as the “Father of Lies” by some.

  • Recorded the events of the Greco-Persian wars and the Persian Invasion.

  • Set a precedent for the style of writing for decades to follow.

  • His work serves as a valuable source of historical information of 5th century Greece and the Persian Empire.

  • Achieved great fame for his work.

  • Herodotus Quotes

    “In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons.”

    “Great deeds are usually wrought at great risks.”

    “The destiny of man is in his own soul.”

    Learn more about Ancient Greece!

Learn more about people who have influenced history in our Picture Encyclopedia!
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