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Thucydides and Herodotus$
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Edith Foster and Donald Lateiner

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199593262

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199593262.001.0001

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Thermopylae and Pylos, with Reference to the Homeric Background *

Thermopylae and Pylos, with Reference to the Homeric Background *

(p.185) 8 Thermopylae and Pylos, with Reference to the Homeric Background*
Thucydides and Herodotus

Edith Foster

Oxford University Press

Herodotus invented a prose description of battles that differed fundamentally from the poetic battle descriptions of Homer's Iliad. His battle narratives depict group rather than individual action, often display the plan of a battle, and offer frequent explanations of decisions and events. They contain essential descriptions of geography, topography, and natural conditions, and depict the political, social, and military strengths and weaknesses of combatants. This chapter argues that that Herodotus created the basis for Thucydides' more demanding narratives. It analyses Herodotus' Thermopylae narrative and Thucydides' Pylos narrative, and displays the close relation between the two historians. In addition, Homeric influences are taken into account, as far as possible.

Keywords:   Thucydides, Herodotus, battle narrative, Homer, Thermopylae, Pylos, Greek historians

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