Chapter

Thermopylae and Pylos, with Reference to the Homeric Background*

Edith Foster

in Thucydides and Herodotus

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199593262
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191752261 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199593262.003.0008
Thermopylae and Pylos, with Reference to the Homeric Background*

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Herodotus invented a prose description of battles that differed fundamentally from the poetic battle descriptions of Homer's Iliad. His battle narratives depict group rather than individual action, often display the plan of a battle, and offer frequent explanations of decisions and events. They contain essential descriptions of geography, topography, and natural conditions, and depict the political, social, and military strengths and weaknesses of combatants. This chapter argues that that Herodotus created the basis for Thucydides' more demanding narratives. It analyses Herodotus' Thermopylae narrative and Thucydides' Pylos narrative, and displays the close relation between the two historians. In addition, Homeric influences are taken into account, as far as possible.

Keywords: Thucydides; Herodotus; battle narrative; Homer; Thermopylae; Pylos; Greek historians

Chapter.  12277 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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