The Nine Books of the History of Herodotus

The Nine Books of the History of Herodotus

Many times we mistake a historical book for what the historical bibliography is, and we believe that with the former we are learning things when it does not necessarily have to be that way, since a book may or may not be realistic, or even partially historical, containing fictional parts that, if not clarified, can generate confusion.

The bibliography For their part, they are books treated with historical rigor, containing truthful data and generally constituting essays, although there are hundreds of works cataloged as historical novels made with an exhaustive search for sources and data, which make it a totally reliable text and with which it does we learn.

But what concerns us at this moment are the historical sources, books and documents that are the basis of the historical study and ‘The nine books of history' from Herodotus is one of the most important that we can find about Ancient Greece and more precisely, about the Medical Wars.

The Medical Wars were an endless series of battles between the Achaemenid Empire of Persia and the Greek polis, especially the Attic-Delic League, composed of Athenians and Spartans, who in the Third Medical War they were victorious, ending the conflict.

The nine books of history they are divided, as you can imagine, into nine volumes of which the first five can be read randomly, or at least we will not be losing the thread of the story. Now, from the sixth volume to the ninth, we must read them consecutively because it enters fully into the Medical Wars.

Anyway, it is always advisable to read them in order so as not to lose any details, and more so when knowing the content of the books:

  • Book I: In order to present the causes of the Medical Wars, Herodotus exposes various mythical conflicts between Greeks and the so-called "barbarians", including the Trojan War, although he remains distant from these and is based on the story of Croesus, king of Lidia.
  • Book II: It speaks totally of Egypt, its customs, its History ... country that Herodotus visited and traveled, being admired by civilization.
  • Book III: Explain the causes of Cambyses' attack on Egypt, his death, and the enthronement of Darius I.
  • Book IV: Persian expansion: Scythia.
  • Book V: Persian advance on Greece.
  • Book VI: I Medical War, contemporary history of Athens and Sparta and the Persian landing in Attica.
  • Book VII: Death of Darius I, rise of Xerxes I, the invasion of Greece and Battle of Thermopylae, among others.
  • Book VIII: Battle of Artemisio, Greek defeat and Battle of Salamis, with the consequent withdrawal of Xerxes I.
  • Book IX: Battles of Plataea and Micala, Taking of Sestos by the Greeks and others.

Here ends the Nine Books of History, although for many the work has remained unfinished, or, in the opinion of other experts, the author has concluded when he believed that everything was over.

¿Why is it considered a historical source?

According to its methodology, we can identify four types of means for the elaboration of the Nine Books of History:

  1. Personal observation: Herodotus lived through the Medical Wars, but we can also appreciate it in the chapter on Egypt, since everything that counts has either been commented on or has lived.
  2. Oral testimonies: Herodotus is nourished by various oral testimonies that he later captures in the Histories that have come down to us.
  3. Written sources: Especially visible in the first chapter, where he makes a brief analysis of the causes of the conflict, relying on various previous authors such as Homer, Solon, Sappho or Aeschylus, among many others.
  4. Considerations: They are nothing more than arguments based on your knowledge, in order to contrast information or explain it when you do not have too many historical arguments to take into account.

Now yes, I leave you with the link to read The Nine Books of the History of Herodotus.

Image: Wikimedia

After studying History at the University and after many previous tests, Red Historia was born, a project that emerged as a means of dissemination where you can find the most important news of archeology, history and humanities, as well as articles of interest, curiosities and much more. In short, a meeting point for everyone where they can share information and continue learning.


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