The History of Herodotus

The History of Herodotus

The History of Herodotus

The History of Herodotus

Excerpt

The scope of this study is severely limited to the problem of composition. Such things as the sources of Herodotas or the extent and number of his journeys are alluded to only in so far as they bear directly upon that problem. I have on principle ignored the "Herodotus-legend", whether ancient or modern. Those who wish to know that the historian was related to the epic poet Panyassis or enjoyed the personal friendship of Pericles must get their information elsewhere. That in spite of this restriction of my subject I have chosen to entitle this study The History of Herodotus, arises from a wish to indicate that I am here trying to do for Herodotus what Eduard Schwartz did for another Greek historian in his brilliant Geschichtswerk des Thukydides. In keeping with the spirit of my model I have borne continually in mind the exhortation of Nietzsche (Fröhliche Wissenschaft, § 246): Wir wollen die Feinheit und Strengheit der Matitematik in alle Wissenschaften hineintreiben, soweit dies nur irgend möglich ist. I. have everywhere been careful to distinguish between possible, probable and certain inferences, and to operate as much as I could with the last and as little as I could with the two former; except that in the last chapter I have permitted myself, for the sake of attempting a sketch of the inner development of Herodotus, to use some material of a hypothetical nature.

As I care more about the soundness than the novelty of my reasoning and conclusions, acknowledgment to predecessors is rare. I have, besides, profited much more often from their mistakes than their successes. Yet the names of Kirchhoff, de Sanctis and even Jacoby will be found once or twice. Adolf Kirchhoff, indeed, is my only predecessor in the compositional analysis of Herodotus whose work has stood the test of time. In 1868 he published in the proceedings of the Berlin Academy an essay of some thirty pages, Über die AbfassungsZit des Herodotischen Geschichtswerkes, which was extended in the edition of 1878. In Kirchhoff's day the problem . . .

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