Athens and aegina (5.82–9)

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10 Scopus citations


This paper offers a new interpretation of the Aeginetan digression in Herodotus 5.82-9. It argues that the passage does not just provide the background to Athenian-Aeginetan hostilities but also offers an ambitious reflection on the nature of historical change more generally. There have been two detailed analyses of the passage in the twentieth century. Dunbabin discusses its value as a historical source for the Archaic Period, whereas Figueira asks what it tells us about Herodotus' use of sources and the political circumstances of the fifth century that shape his narrative. The present reading differs from its predecessors in that it does not try to reconstruct history or historiographical context, but instead traces the different conceptions of the past that Herodotus interweaves in this passage. Recent scholarship has asked how Herodotus works with the types of history that were available to him. Critics have focused particularly on the opposition between a distant past and more recent history, each of them characterized by its own rules and purpose. It has been suggested that the earliest past familiar to Herodotus largely corresponds to the 'mythical' events known from epic, tragedy and other traditional narratives; whereas recent history starts roughly with the reign of Croesus and has a more 'realistic' texture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReading Herodotus
Subtitle of host publicationA Study of the Logoi in Book 5 of Herodotus' Histories
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780511482205
ISBN (Print)0521876303, 9780521876308
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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