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Herodotus and the invention of history
Herodotus and the invention of history

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1 Introducing Herodotus: thinking historically

In this section, you are going to learn about Herodotus, his context, what he sets out to do, and why that’s important. But first, take a minute to reflect on how we (think we) know things.

A diagram of two heads facing each other. Out of the heads come a series of gears and cogs which connect the two figures. The diagram tries to represent the communication concept.
Figure 2 Communication concept.

Study note: a note on dates

You will notice that this course uses the abbreviations ‘BCE’ and ‘CE’ when dating events, texts and objects. These abbreviations stand for ‘Before the Common Era’ and ‘Common Era’. You may be familiar with an alternative method of referring to dates as ‘BC’ (‘before Christ’) and ‘AD’ (Anno Domini, Latin for ‘in the year of our Lord’), and you may find that the authors of other things you read on the topics discussed here use instead BC and AD instead of BCE and CE. Remember that BCE years count backwards – therefore the sixth century BCE is earlier than the fifth century BCE.