Some Observations

First, let me say that I have enjoyed so much the comments of my fellow readers.  Your comments are so illuminating, and your close reading of the text is an inspiration to me.  At the risk of cluttering your in boxes with drivel, I will share the following observations:

I have taken a lot of detours (i.e. gone down my own rabbit holes) on this “journey” including looking at modern day maps for the names of cities and rivers.  For example, the Halys River is now called the Kizilirmak, and it is now used for hydro-electric power.  Phocaea is Foca.  Halicarnassus is now called Bodrum. Many other random geographical facts have fascinated me.

I also am fascinated by transportation and communication methods.  In fact, there is an article in Science Times today, which I will forward about ancient mechanics, and the Trireme boat is featured. According to Appendix S, about navigation, mariners – in particular the Persians, did not use the stars, because the Aegean area is too narrow. Instead, (see p 832 for more details) they relied on careful study and documentation of the shoreline to find their way.

The number of clans or groups of peoples is enormous.  My running list is up to about twenty such named groups.  It is an insight into one of the reasons why modern political boundaries are so challenging, they are drawn completely independent of culture and history.  The “boundaries” in Herodotus’s time included geography, climate, customs, trade just to name a few.  In 1.155, Herodotus tells of Croesus’ advice to Cyrus about the Lydians.  Paraphrasing, he says take their weapons away, make them weat tunics, teach them the lyre and the harp, and educate the sons to be shopkeepers.

Cathryn C. Cranston

02. April 2008 by Arrian
Categories: Commentary, Herodotus | Tags: | Comments Off on Some Observations