Being a Hero in The Histories of Herodotus Essay

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Many people consider him the father of history; others prefer to call him the father of lies. Whatever may be your perception of Herodotus’ work, the truth is that Herodotus began a new manner of writing history in which human psychology takes a fundamental place. He was the first historian who really considered the reasons why things happen and did not limit his narrative to just facts. His book The Histories evidences all the distinctive features that he employs through his description of facts as well as the intrinsic analysis that he includes to his storyline about controversial topics like the definition of what heroes really are. Indeed, The Histories’ book 7 reveals Herodotus’ astonishing and unique view of heroism. During his…show more content…
On the other hand, Leonidas showed a great affiliation to his nation’s traditions and customs during his life. He never gave up in his defense for freedom because he knew it was his responsibility to stay and fight bravely for his nation. As Demaratus told Xerxes, “there is no way they will ever accept any terms of slavery” (Herodotus 176) and Leonidas never did. Demaratus also said that Spartans would oppose Xerxes “in battle even if all the other Greeks come around to your way of thinking” (Herodotus 176) and, although this was not the case, Leonidas always acted as a man of values who would never give up. In fact, he never thought about the possibility of giving up. Leonidas was a fighter, a man who would fight until his last drop of blood was spilled, a Spartan. We see, therefore, a big difference between Xerxes and Leonidas. While Xerxes is a powerful king who does not care about his culture’s trait, Leonidas was a brave king who always follows his culture’s traditions. Consequently, according to Herodotus’ point of view, Leonidas’ is the truly heroic king because he follows his culture’s traits under any circumstances.
Herodotus does not think of a hero as just a passionate fighter, but also as a humble person. This is another characteristic that is contrary to Xerxes’ personality. He was a very arrogant person with great power, which made him think he may do whatever he
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