Chapter

Herodotus and the Gods

Mark Munn

in The Mother of the Gods, Athens, and the Tyranny of Asia

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780520243491
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931589 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520243491.003.0009
Herodotus and the Gods

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The testimony of Herodotus is central to the understanding of Greco-Persian relations in the late sixth and early fifth centuries. His Histories is also a strong indicator of the symbolic dimensions of events as they were understood by Herodotus' contemporaries in the later fifth century. The relationship of divinity to historical causation in Herodotus' thought is therefore the subject of this chapter. Herodotus' concept of divinity, as revealed in several key passages, is shown to be closely related to his articulation of the concept of universal history. These concepts in turn are closely related to the universalizing thought guiding the Athenian venture to secure a sovereign empire.

Keywords: Herodotus; mythology; deities; Greece; Persian empire; Athenian democracy; Athens; history

Chapter.  12235 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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