Questions for Books 2 & 3

Greetings fellow readers of Herodotus,

As we read through Books 2 & 3, here are three questions to consider, which we will use to guide the discussion on Monday March 5. Think about these and any other questions you might have for our next discussion. Feel free to respond to the listserv with observations, questions, comments and witty quips between now and then if you would like to initiate an email discussion sooner.

Books 2 & 3 Discussion Questions

1. Book 2 – How & Wells, in their Oxford commentary, remark: “As Herodotus introduces his long digression on Egypt with a reference to the conquest of the Greeks (c. I. 2), so he skilfully concludes with a similar reference.” (p. 256) Even with such an erudite observation, one may still be wondering ‘what does any of Book 2 have to do with the Persian invasion of Greece?’ Let’s look at it from Herodotus’ Hellenocentric point of view. What do Herodotus’ observations tell about Herodotus as a Greek? Are his observations an attempt to re-define Egypt according to Greek culture? or is Herodotus too much influenced by Egyptian culture to make accurate statements in his History?

2. Book 3 – The rise and fall of Cambyses – How does Herodotus measure the sanity of Cambyses? How does Cambyses take advice and counsel in comparison with his precedessor Cyrus?

3. Book 3 – The rise of Darius – How should we view the transfer of power from Cambyses to Darius? Is this a monarchy? despotism? tyranny? oligarchy?


P.S. Tonight – Monday, February 19 – I’m leading a quick orientation for several readers who are joining us now. The call is at 8pm NYC time – 1-800-615-2900 / 11215.

20. February 2007 by Arrian
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