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CL2319 Herodotus and his world

Herodotus

Module Organiser: Dr Ashley Clements
Duration of Course: One term (Jan -Apr)
Contact Hours: 19 (2 lectures p/w + 3 seminars)
Weighting: 5 ECTS
Assessment: 20% continuous assessment (one written assignment), 80% end-of-year examination

This course explores the life and work of the fifth-century BC Greek historian Herodotus, the first person to write history in the European tradition. Herodotus' Histories is a multifaceted text that blends together history, ethnography, geography, anthropology and political critique in the course of explaining the cause of the Persian wars (490-479 BC).

In weekly lectures, the course explores the context, main themes and preoccupations of Herodotus' work, considering topics such as: Herodotus and his intellectual and cultural milieu; historiê and early Greek enquiries into nature; the Histories and the epic past; Herodotean wonders and ethnography; Herodotus and Greek religion; Herodotus and Thucydides; imperialism, the Histories and political critique; later receptions of the Histories, Herodotus as 'father of history' or 'father of lies'.

Introductory Reading

  • Marincola, J. and C. Dewald (2006) (eds.) The Cambridge Companion to Herodotus. Cambridge.
  • Munson, R. (2001) Telling Wonders: Ethnographic and Political Discourse in the Work of Herodotus. Ann Arbor.
  • Thomas, R. (2000) Herodotus in Context. Cambridge.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful conclusion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate:

  • Thorough familiarity with Herodotus' text
  • Ability to read the Histories against the intellectual and political trends of the fifth century, and both as an account of the past and as commentary on its own times
  • The core skill of close textual analysis
  • An understanding of, and the ability critically to evaluate, later receptions of Herodotus' work

Last updated 8 September 2017 ryanw1@tcd.ie.