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CL1236 Herodotus

This module explores the 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). Weekly lectures explore the context and themes of Herodotus' text; language classes focus on close readings of Book I and consider the content and narrative style of Herodotus' Greek.
  • Module Organiser:
    • Dr. Ashley Clements
  • Duration:
    • One term (Jan - Apr)
  • Contact Hours:
    • 49 (16 lectures, 22 reading classes and 11 language labs)
  • Weighting:
    • 10 ECTS
  • Assessment:
    • 50% continuous assessment (two written assignments), 50% final examination

Recommended Edition

  • Sheets, G. A. (1981) Herodotus Book I. Bryn Mawr.
  • Asheri, D., A. Lloyd, and A. Corcella (2007) (eds.), A Commentary on Herodotus Books I-IV. Oxford.
  • How, W. W. and Wells, J. (1912) (eds.), A Commentary on Herodotus, vols I & II. Oxford.

Introductory Reading

  • Marincola, J. and C. Dewald (eds.) (2006) The Cambridge Companion to Herodotus. Cambridge.
  • Munson, R. (2001) Telling Wonders: Ethnographic and Political Discourse in the Work of Herodotus. Ann Arbor.
  • Immerwahr, H. R. (1966) Form and Thought in Herodotus. Chapel Hill.

Learning Outcomes

  • to acquire thorough familiarity with Herodotus’ text and Herodotean Greek
  • 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
  • to develop the core skill of close linguistic analysis
  • to develop an understanding of, and the ability critically to evaluate, later receptions of  Herodotus’ work