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Herodotus and Hellenistic CultureLiterary Studies in the Reception of the Histories$
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Jessica Priestley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199653096

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199653096.001.0001

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The Prose Homer of History

The Prose Homer of History

(p.187) 5 The Prose Homer of History
Herodotus and Hellenistic Culture

Jessica Priestley

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses interpretative possibilities and contexts for Herodotus' Homeric reputation. The appellation ‘Prose Homer of History’ in the second century Salmakis Inscription proves to be a useful focus of reflection on the place of Herodotus in a variety of ongoing debates in antiquity about how to record the past. Herodotus' connection with Homer seems to reflect his perceived cultural importance: Herodotus' main subject matter of the Persian Wars was as proud and important a moment in the cultural memory of the Greeks as the Trojan War itself. The chapter argues that Herodotus' Homeric reputation is also related to (overlapping) interests in his prose style and Ionic dialect, in the relationship between poetry and history, and in the appropriateness of truth and ‘fiction’ in different types of literary works.

Keywords:   Herodotus, Homer, Salmakis Inscription, prose style, Ionic dialect, poetry, history, Persian Wars, cultural memory

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