Herodotus: The Father of History
(24 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)
Taught by Elizabeth Vandiver
Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin
Witness the "works and wonders" of the ancient world through the eyes of its first great historian.
Given the number and the superb quality of the courses on classical literature that Professor Elizabeth Vandiver has contributed to The Great Courses, we knew that we had to bring her into our studio to lecture on Herodotus. His monumental work, the Histories, was the subject of her doctoral dissertation and first book. And it remains one of her great loves among Greek and Roman writings.
In between, his tirelessly inquiring mind took him from one corner of the known world to another. And he reported on or visited all of its continents (Europe, Asia, and Africa) to write about the vast array of subjects that captured his interest, including: the "great works" (erga megala) of the ancient land of Egypt, the remarkable kings who built the vast and mighty Persian Empire, the strange customs and unlikely origins of the Scythians, a warlike, mounted people who lived beyond the Danube and whose repulse of Darius and the Persians in 513 B.C.E. made them the first Europeans to throw back an eastern invasion.
These lectures introduce you to the book—Herodotus's only known work—that came out of these "inquiries." (The title Histories, by the way, is a now-common mistranslation of the original title, as Professor Vandiver explains.) You learn what makes Herodotus one of those rare, landmark figures in the story of thought as Professor Vandiver traces the influences Herodotus assimilated and the new methods he used in crafting this monumental work. (see original news)
01 Herodotus and History
02 "Inquiry" and the Birth of History
03 Myth, Legend, and Oral Tradition
04 Homeric Epic and the East-West Conflict
05 The Ionian Enlightenment
06 Athens in the Archaic Age
07 Politics and Culture in Fifth-Century Athens
08 Scope, Design, and Organization of the Histories
09 The Beginnings of the Conflict
10 Croesus, Solon, and Human Happiness
11 Cyrus and the Foundation of the Persian Empire
12 Herodotus' Account of Egypt
13 The Ascension of Darius
14 Darius and the Scythians
15 Sparta and the Spartan Way of Life
16 The Ionian Revolt and the Battle of Marathon
17 Xerxes and the Threat to Greece
18 The Battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium
19 The Victory of Greece
20 Persons, Personalities, and Peoples
21 The Gods, Fate, and the Supernatural
22 History or Literature-Or Both?
23 Herodotus, the Peloponnesian War, and Thucydides
24 Aftermath and Influence
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