Document Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-2017

Capstone Advisor

Jeff Carnes

Honors Reader

Craige Champion

Capstone Major

English

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component

no

Capstone Prize Winner

no

Won Capstone Funding

no

Honors Categories

Humanities

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature

Abstract

In the Histories, Herodotus fashions himself as the first historian as he chronicles the saga of the Persian Wars. Although he tries to base his narrative solely on fact, Herodotus must dip into the realm of oral tradition, folklore and myth in order fill the gaps of recorded history. In doing this, Herodotus takes on the roles of both author and historian. As a result, the work as a whole can be read as a historical document and a piece of literature. In order to gain the most from the narrative, it is imperative that one read the piece as both a historiography and literary work, and simultaneously and view Herodotus as an author of literature and a historian. What this means is that Herodotus the author uses his own beliefs and cultural biases to manipulate the characters in order to recount history accurately. Women especially are subject to these machinations. Unsurprisingly then, many of the female characters depicted by Herodotus act irrationally and unreasonably, just as the Greek cultural biases say they should. The mythological women who begin the Histories; Candaules’ nameless wife; Atossa; and Artemisia all adhere to the strict norms of femininity, and as a result, Herodotus can use the illogicality inherent to their femaleness to instigate seemingly unexplainable historical events. In contrast, Herodotus’ use of Greek male characters, in particular Aristagoras, allows the author to create an extension of himself. These parallel narrations allow Herodotus to assert his own authority as a narrator in order to strengthen the integrity of the work as a whole.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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