The Battle Of Thermopylae, And What Part Herodotus '

1871 WordsOct 2, 20178 Pages
In his Histories, Herodotus seeks to lay out some of the major events that occurred in Greek history, and though he does his best to keep the stories true to form, they often end up riddled with hyperbole, inaccuracies, and Herodotus ' own personal perspective and opinions on certain topics. At times he states outright that he is unsure how the actual events transpired, but in addition to these there are other, more insidious moments in his tales in which the reader may not be able to deduce that he is in fact completely fictionalizing for the sake of his narrative. To further examine this in effect, this paper will scrutinize the battle of Thermopylae, and what part Herodotus ' intended narrative plays in changing the perspective of the…show more content…
This likely nonexistent oracle was carefully placed in the narrative by Herodotus anachronistically in order to place greater value on the notion of Leonidas choosing to stay for “distinction for the Spartans alone” (Herodotus 7.220.4) at Thermopylae, knowing it to be a suicide mission. Again, Leonidas probably consulted with no oracle, and stayed because he knew the strategic importance of the pass. Leonidas is then said to dismiss the seer, but Herodotus himself admits that he has no actual proof of Leonidas actually doing so. The Seer conveniently chose to stay for the battle, dying with any proof of this prophecy. Though Herodotus is a known Athenophile, he clearly admires the Spartans and their noble cause. (Cartledge Sparta p.111) He took this loss and through his narrative, transformed it into a win for the Greeks, and thus painting it as a major contribution to the war effort, even though it was not so. Herodotus knew of the valiance of the hopeless Spartans, and used that to depict a grand duel between the Spartans, representing all of the Hellenes, and arguably the rest of the known world, against the Persians. This narrative idea of this grand duel can
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