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Herodotus and his WorldEssays from a Conference in Memory of George Forrest$
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Peter Derow and Robert Parker

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199253746

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253746.001.0001

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Herodotos and Athens

Herodotos and Athens

(p.305) 18 Herodotos and Athens
Herodotus and his World

Robert Fowler

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the workings of oral history in Herodotus' text, and the implications for its interpretation as a document of the late 430s BC. Echoes of the contemporary political environment are explored particularly in the accounts of Hippokleides' unsuccessful suit, the expulsion of the Athenian tyrants, and the beginning of the Ionian Revolt. Although oral history effectively creates rather than mirrors the record of the past, thus preventing reconstruction of this past in traditional ways by modern historians, the loss is outweighed by better understanding of the text as an historical record of its own day, and by better methods of identifying received record and oral deformation.

Keywords:   oral history, Athens, Hippokleides, Ionian Revolt, tyrants

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