The History of Herodotus Author:George Rawlinson, translator Often called "the father of history" Herodotus wrote the history of the Persian Wars more than one thousand years ago. The Persian Wars were a series of wars between the Powerful Persian empires of Xerxes and Darius and a handful of Greek cities, most notably Athens and Sparta. The Persian Wars set the tone for many subsequent themes in Western ... more »History including:
1. The concept of preserving Western culture from Eastern invaders. This theme occurs again and again in the conflicts between Rome and Parthia, the latter Roman Empire and the Huns, Charlamagne and the Saracens, late Medieval Europe and the Mongols, and contemporary Hollywood propaganda films about Arab terrorists. 2. The idea of a highly motivated and cunning underdog defeating a powerful but sloppy enemy. 3. The need for alliances and team work.
The most interesting part of The Histories, however is not the politics or the battles but the moral lessons that Herodotus tried to impart. A recurring theme in The Histories is the idea that the Greeks defeated the Persians because the Greeks acted in Harmony with nature while the Persians defied nature. Herodotus provides countless anecdotes of the hubris of Persian emperors who attempted to dominate nature by bridging the Hellespont , draining an offending river by digging thousands of diverting canals, or throwing shackles into the ocean to symbolize its submission to the Emperor. Herodotus viewed these actions as Hubris because they contained a false assumption of man's superiority over nature.
It is interesting that the father of Western History derived his culture's legitimacy from its respectful interaction with nature. What on Earth would he make of us now?« less