History of Western Civilization

Topics: Civilization

Herodotus and His Significance

Herodotus was an ancient Greek traveler and thinker from the fifth century. Herodotus of Halicarnassus has earned the title, “Father of History,” a title bestowed to him by Roman politician and orator, Cicero. Herodotus is reputable for his book, The Histories, a book he wrote through embracing the methodology of Systematic investigation. Through this method, Herodotus collected historical material and arranged them systematically to formulate a historical narrative. Herodotus was a wide traveler who covered the major part of the Persian empire during in fulfillment of his course.

Little is known about the personal life of Herodotus, but scholars established that the thinker came from a rich family, which could provide Herodotus with a good education.

Herodotus is a significant figure as he is the Father of History. This title bestowed upon him as a result of his efforts and contributions in generating the field of history. His advanced methodology in the arrangement of collected material would accord great significance to history, as everything was backed with facts (Dewald, and Marincola 114).

His writings, particularly The Histories, give a comprehensive account of the events during his time in the Persian Empire. Herodotus is a significant historical figure because he gave other scholars a point of reference for historical evidence and material. Herodotus also contributed to science, giving an account of the natural events during his time. Scientists presently can use the information to establish changes in nature such as weather patterns.

Xerxes Tyranny and Superstition

In his text, The Histories, Herodotus gives an account of the Xerxes invasion to Greece.

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Herodotus was Greece, but it was a thoughtful act for him to recognize the superiority of the Persians in defeating them. In the text, Herodotus displays certain acts that depict Xerxes as tyrannical and superstitious. For instance, Xerxes planned to march an army through Europe, against the Greek. This was further evidenced in the thirst Xerxes possessed through his greed to expand Persian territory throughout Europe and the destruction of Athens. Xerxes also showed mercy to people of his kind, including his five sons. His slaves suffered, and he would even later behead his master.

There are extreme forms of superstitions displayed by Xerxes. For instances, Xerxes summons the Magians, who are expected to explain to him the disappearance of the sun. He further demands an explanation as to why day quickly turned into night. These events came at a time when the Spartans were showing signs of victory, despite them being outnumbered and faced a shortage of recourses, culminating to several challenges. The Spartans were, however, a group of strong-willed people (Dewald, and Marincola 254). Xerxes would associate such actions of the war to superstitions such as day turning to night quickly and the apparent disappearance of the sun.

The Spartan Culture

The Spartan culture was based on its military system. The Spartan military unit was highly reliable and efficient both on and off the battlefield. The Spartan elders, commonly known as Gerousia, were a critical wing of the Spartan society. Their roles span from the political arena to the economic field where they served as intermediaries. They were the court of the state and had the ultimate powers to try even the highest authority on land. Despite being a military state, Sparta embraced philosophy, arts, and culture. Their nominal interest in material possessions, however, degraded their quality of taste in culture.

The Spartans were more concerned with sports. Sports was an exciting activity that put the Spartans fir and in shape for their battles. The Spartans lived for physical fitness and exercise. This was witnessed in their never-ending prowess on the battlefield. The Spartans and the Greeks dominated championships in the Olympic Games. Their success was attributed to the exercise they put in sports, to embrace physical exercise and conquer in sports. Education was an important aspect for the Spartans (Dewald, and Marincola, 301). However, it did not surpass the importance that was accorded to military excellence. Education was important during the war, as it would complement their physical strength, in combating their opponents through the combination of physical strength and wit.

Values of Greek Society

Wisdom was a treasured value in Greek society. This was necessary, particularly in the decision-making processes. Elders and leaders were expected to be filled with wisdom. The decision-making processes were challenging and needed knowledgeable elders and leaders, who would make unbiased decisions. This would involve critical discussions before decisions were made. Temperance was a value practiced by the Greeks. It involved moderation and cautious indulgences of things in society. Temperance aimed at warning the people of Greek of the disadvantages that one would face with the act of overindulgence in things.

Justice was a treasured value to the people of Greece. This came in handy during sharing of wealth and bounty among people. The sharing process s had to be thoughtful, with all the Greeks in need in mind. The process would embrace lessons from justice, to ensure no one was left out in the sharing process. Finally was the value of courage. Odysseus, Perseus, and Achilles are the embodiment of courage. Thye is some of the most iconic heroes witnessed in Greece. These heroes smiled in the face of danger. Courage was a necessary value when going to war. The leaders and front liners in war risked their lives to protect the Greek territory.

The Significance of Persian’s Invasions

The intellectual development of Greece mainly focused on the development of ideologies. These invasions and wars greatly contributed to shaping the Greek ideology, explaining the idea of being a Greek. Politically, Greek would gather more ground through several conquests. This would in turn work to boost their economy, as they had more land and after having conquered several other communities, they would make away with their loot (Dewald, and Marincola 417). Culturally, Greek grew having absorbed several other conquests; there would be cultural diversity in Greece, making the culture grow more through several other conquests.

The development in the Athenian States and Spartan states was hindered due to the conquests made on people from these two states. Most of them were absorbed by the Persian Empire. The rest would be taken in as slaves. Shortage of human resource would lead to the stunted growth of the two states. There were no significant developments in the two states, economically, politically and socially. Politically, they had been rendered unstable. This translated to weak economies in the two states. Socially, several people had been assimilated into the Persian empire. Having weakened the three areas of good development, the Persian empire sealed their fate. Powerful leaders such as Xerxes would withdraw their troupes form the battleground and acknowledged defeat.

Work Cited

  1. Dewald, Carolyn, and John Marincola. Cambridge Companion To Herodotus. Proquest LLC, 2012.

Cite this page

History of Western Civilization. (2022, May 14). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/history-of-western-civilization/

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