Studying history so much I realize I don’t think abstractly enough, and don’t study what “history” itself is, so now I’m looking around for books on the one they generally say invented history, Herodotus. Benardete says Tacitus regarded Herodotus as a “Periclean”, a concept which can be applied to historians of our own times- most of the historians you’ll find are Washingtonian and Lincolnian. Then Benardete goes further than the political and says that Tacitus

knows that Herodotus’ opinion about the gods was the same as Sophocles’

So within the first few pages of this book, the inventor of history is seen to have both political and religious constraints. You can apply the same ideas to contemporary historians, though they very likely do not believe in the Olympic pantheon of gods. Secular Ideas are in the place of those gods, generally symbolized by politicians (FDR), and reminiscent of Abrahamic faith. One might even expect this very book on Herodotus to be written within the context of the same.

With the google translate technological magic we can see what all these places think about Herodotus, to discover how Periclean and Olympian the inventor of history truly was. This book I’m reading was written in the US by a Sephardi a couple decades after the war – I’m certain that won’t bias it whatsoever heh. Benardete is great though, sarcastic reminders aside. If you’re serious about historiography you’ll be able to joke about that kind of thing. The Persian Wars were between 498-448 BC, while Herodotus published his Histories around 425 BC. Herodotus was born in a Greek city that was under Persian rule. Do you think these things affected his idea of the Persians?

Oh boy this is going to be fun – from a .ir page

Please show me

these are the truths that are revealed only when one frees oneself from the shackles of Athenian propaganda

I’m keeping in mind that Iranians will have their own religious and political contexts and constraints, past and present.

What I expect is a beautification of the past in order to instill ethnic self-esteem. So, history being art, in other words. Do the Iranians have their own version of Herodotus?

One replier to that article

In general, Herodotus was a prominent writer, although he introduced legends. The Imam should know that everyone was doing this at that time, and he was no exception to this rule. If you are looking for an author who has stated all the facts, refer to Thucydides, nicknamed the Father of Scientific History

There’s probably a “scientific history” in Iranian on both Greek and Persian historiography.

If you were a historian living in Iran and your vice president equivalent was droned by the west, would you be able to be altogether objective in your studies? I’m sure some are. And I’m sure sanctions don’t help objectivity any.

State-funded propaganda?

Say it isn’t so! How do they prove that though? They today are paid by the Ayatollah to preserve the image of Ancient Persia as a “glorious empire”. See how difficult all this is? And you’re not going to see a post like this on JSTOR for the same reasons. As a proud westerner I’d like to note that it’s been alleged that Pericles and Socrates had the same teacher, so maybe it isn’t such a bad thing if Herodotus was funded by the state.

Very few literary works survived from ancient Persia. This is partly due to the destruction of the library at Persepolis. Most of what remains consists of the royal inscriptions of Achaemenid kings, particularly Darius I (522–486 BC) and his son Xerxes. Zoroastrian writings mainly were destroyed in the Islamic conquest of Persia.

So they have to rely on their enemy’s accounts of ancient Persia. I wonder how present the “othering” of Persia by Herodotus is in the minds of people in charge of foreign policy related to Iran today. I wonder if any philosophy books at the level of Aristotle were burned by the Muhammadens in the 7th century – who could know?

Herodotus is a controversial subject in Iran, I’m finding lots of coping so far. Wouldn’t you cope if what we knew of Ancient Greece was recorded only by Persians? And your nuclear scientists were bombed by these same Persians?

This is why I say that book-burning tells us a lot about a civilization. Those Muhammadens had to burn the Zoroastrian books because they couldn’t handle disagreement. And we see that with the policies of our tech-bolsheviks today, lowly, primitive, medieval Muhammaden behavior. Anyway, back to reading this Ottoman Jew Benardete’s interpretation of this formerly Persia-occupied Greek’s interpretation of Greeks and Persians.

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