Compare and comparison the historical methods

"Compare and contrast the historical methods, passions, and objectives of Herodotus and Thucydides". He said you "might consider the type of writing(narrative, description, authorial analysis, fascination in accuracy, etc.)

and the author’s objectives on paper the history."

Herodotus and Thucydides – the original fathers of Greek Historiography – are regarded as the initial two historians.

Writing more than 100 years after Homer, Herodotus compiled his Background (1) based on oral accounts and myth. A genial storyteller, Herodotus didn’t regard his posting as epic poetry. THE ANNALS, which explores centuries of dramatic conversation between the ancient Greeks and the Persian Empire, culminating with the Persian Wars in the early fifth hundred years BC, is a vast compilation of the annals, customs and beliefs of the Greeks and “barbarians”. Herodotus’ historical reliability depends on that of his predecessors, as his historical bank account is a composition which includes their notions of background, geography, natural history and anthropology, in a political and literary context.

A era after Herodotus, Thucydides, who strove for objectivity, wrote about political and military events that happened during his lifetime, with a close profile of the battle between Athens and Sparta in late fifth century BC. Thucydides’ background of The Peloponnesian War (2) may be the composition of an astute political and armed service historian. In a disciplined and methodical design, his work analyzes problems linked to the wars, with little digression into other areas.

Since fifth hundred years BC, Western traditions of historical writing and inquiry created beyond conventions set up by Herodotus and Thucydides. In the twenty-five centuries that implemented, various historians shared Thucydides’ preference for modern day history and local politics, others drew upon both original archetypes, plus some rejected both methodologies. Within the course of developing modern day objectivity historians contributed different theoretical ideas, in addition they continued “historical inquiry in the spirit of specifically Herodotus, that is, the fine art of asking probably naive (if certainly not objective) questions about human behavior with time." (3)

Similarities and dissimilarities between Herodotus’ and Thucydides’ histories have already been this issue of much analysis and dissertation in typical scholarship analyzing their focus on issues of historical truth and interpretation, history’s regards to myth, the desire for origins, the differences between chronicle and narrative record.

In order to compare and contrast the historical methods, passions, and objectives of Herodotus and Thucydides we must examine the characteristics of their literary method, like the narrative, description, authorial examination, interest in precision, etc., and their historical inquiry – the authors’ goals in writing the history.

The context in which history is written is essential since the particular circumstances of time and place, which are reflected in the writer’s message become part of the communication, received and interpreted by the reader. "Thucydides, for instance, was conspicuously and painfully the merchandise of a political ‘crisis’ and his work can’t be extricated from his private intense and in the end tragic experiences." (4)

Herodotus’ and Thucydides’ ground breaking methods of conveying the experience of historical happenings and their interpretation have got emerged in the context of typically vibrant ancient Greek culture. A range of literary allusions to myth and folklore, to previous epic, to lyric and epigram, the pervasive influence of Homer found in the task of Herodotus, “the wide lines of THE ANNALS formed like those of a Greek tragedy” (5), happen to be explicitly relevant in regards to to the historian’s connection with his cultural and literary milieu – “for this Record of mine has from the beginning sought out the supplementary to the key argument”. (6) Scholarly investigation of the Peloponnesian Battle has disclosed plausible “intertextual” connections between the dense text message of Thucydides and the epic of his predecessors. (7) One relevant example of such connection is thought to occur in structuring a few of Thucydides’ plot-patterns, like the similarities between Nikias’ letter and Agamemnon’s speech, in Homer or that between the Athenians’ expedition to Sicily and Homer’s Odysseus’ return to Ithaca. (8) Another “intertextual” connection has been noted in the similar choice of text and structuring of the accounts between Herodotus’ narrative of the Persian invasion of Greece and Thucydides’ narrative of the Sicilian expedition (9) A definite characteristic of Thucydides composing style is the pervasive interspersing of speeches within the body of his work. A very famous one is Pericles Funeral Oration, which became the model for many down the road speeches, and was perfectly known in antiquity.

A significant distinction between Herodotus’ and Thucydides’ writings consists in their different assessment of what background is. Herodotus’ idea of history, focusing on the diversity of the universal human experience, contains an expansive field of human inquiry that, after, became to be referred to as Cultural Background. Thucydides, who presented record in context, concentrating on political and military information and events of his times, possesses been credited with writing the original “scientific” background. Herodotus and Thucydides employ different strategies in recounting the history of record. Herodotus narrates centuries of record within the mystery of cultures while Thucydides employs a reductionist and analytical strategy.

Herodotus’ and Thucydides’ gets results, which differ in many ways, also share many characteristics just like the magnitude of their prose, the elusiveness regarding meanings, the contribution to the knowledge of ancient societies, their subject material coping with causes and course of war, their fascination with “origins”, or their eyesight of "civilization" and "barbarians." Although Herodotus’ eclectic types of gathering information stands in contrast to Thucydides’ problem-oriented style, they both regard telling the reality as mandatory to traditional method.

When comparing Herodotus’ technique with that of Thucydides we observe that Herodotus appears throughout The Record as an uncommitted Homeric observer, famously taking the chance of reporting hearsay as evidence, and sometimes crediting the gods with triggers and outcomes of traditional events. In comparison, Thucydides’ historical method is based on precise, verifiable proof and reflects a systematic understanding of the human and military politics. He devoted the majority of his adult existence to the chronicles of the Peloponnesian War and sought all available evidence, in the type of written files and eyewitness reports, to create his account.

As Herodotus says, in his launch to The Histories:

“I, Herodotus of Halicarnassus, am below setting forth my record, that time may not draw the colour from what man has taken into getting, nor those great and wonderful deeds, manifested by both Greeks and barbarians, fail of their statement, and, as well as all this, the reason why they fought each other.” (10)

Thucydides, however, tells us:

“Thucydides, an Athenian, wrote the annals of the war between your Peloponnesians and the Athenians, beginning right now that it broke out and believing that it would be a great war, and more worth relation than any that experienced preceded it. This belief had not been without its grounds. The preparations of both combatants were atlanta divorce attorneys department within the last condition of perfection; and he could start to see the remaining Hellenic race taking sides in the quarrel; those who delayed those that delayed doing so simultaneously having it in contemplation. Indeed this is the best movement yet known

in history, not merely of the Hellenes, but of a huge section of the barbarian environment – I had practically stated of mankind. For though the events of remote control antiquity, and even those that more right away precede the war , could not from lapse of time be clearly ascertained, yet the evidences which an inquiry carried as far back as was practicable potential clients me to trust , all indicate the testmyprep conclusion that there was nothing on an excellent scale , either in war or in other concerns.”(11)

The difference between Herodotus’ launch and that of Thucydides is really as impressive as the difference in their approach to historical inquiry.

Herodotus’ method of inquiry consisted of relying on various other peoples’ testimony, customs and regulations to take a position about the sincerity and motives of the options after which he compiled the accounts of his Background. For example, Herodotus challenges Homer’s assertion that the breaking of guest-good friend taboo and the abduction of Helen were at the main of the Trojan conflict. But Herodotus will not completely reject Homer’s history.He just calls into question Homer’s history by invoking different versions of that story. However the speculations about the original story cast sufficient enough doubt to annihilate its merits, similarly to how, through the entire Histories, seemingly small happenings cause colossal disasters.

For example, Book 2: 112 through 2: 121 corroborate how Herodotus gathered evidence to aid Homer’s history of the war at Troy – which in text message is referred to beneath the name of lium. Herodotus tells us, “I asked of the priests, they told me that what had happened to Helen, was this . . .” (12) “This is normally how Helen came to Proteus, according to what the priests declare.And I believe Homer realized the tale; but inasmuch as it was not so well suited for epic poetry as the additional, he employed the latter and consciously abandoned the one here told.” (13)

Then Herodotus proceeds to make clear his known reasons for allowing the other proof to prevail over that of Homer’s account:

“This, is the account the Egyptian priests advised. I myself concur in what they have said of gave me of Helen. My reasoning is really as follows: if Helen had been in Ilium she’d have been given back to the Greeks whether Alexander wanted it or certainly not. For Priam was not so besotted , nor the others of his kinsfolk, that they would be ready to risk their own bodies, children and metropolis so that Alexander ought to be with Helen.If, in fact, that had been their sentiment at the first, surely later when a lot of the remaining Trojans had perished within their encounters with the Greeks, so when, in Priam’s own case, two or three of his sons on every celebration of battle – if we will be to speak on the testimony of the epic poets – when all these matters of such consequence occurred, I am assured that, if it had been Priam himself who was simply living with Helen, he would have given her back to the Greeks, if thus he could have been quit of the difficulties that were upon him. It was not even as if the kingship would devolve upon Alexander, so that, Priam now being outdated, things were at Alexander’s disposal; for it was Hector, over the age of Alexander and additional of a man, who would have taken over the kingdom on Priam’ s death; and Hector it could certainly not have suitable for comply with his erring brother – and that, too, person who had caused superb disasters to him personally also to all the remaining Trojans. Not any, the Trojans did not have Helen to provide back, so when they spoke the reality, the Greeks didn’t believe them; and the reason of this, easily may declare my estimation, was that the Divine was laying his plans that, as the Trojans perished in utter destruction, they could get this to thing manifest to all or any the globe: that for wonderful wrongdoings great also are the punishments from the gods. That’s what I believe, and that is what I am stating in this article.” (14)

Contrary to Herodotus, Thucydides presents rational explanations as proof for his promises and for the sources of later events that may be reasonably expected on the basis of that evidence. For instance, Thucydides attempts to justify the authoritative say made in the introduction about the Peloponnesian war – that had simply started – being more significant compared to the wars before it – a genuine turning point in history. Thucydides investigates the Trojan War and the Persian wars for data that supports his views.His approach to inquiry consists in rigorous investigation wanting to provide rational accounts through an innovative usage of empirical data, simulating the techniques employed by Greek sciences of that time period in the investigation of all natural phenomena.

Thucydides rejects Herodotus’ invocations of supernatural description when accounting for historical conflict. Instead, Thucydides uses a scientific, inductive method of inquiry to construct his theory of history. He considers the actual occasions, examines the constraints and options available to the protagonists, and then searches for possible effects of the events so as to speculate about the causes of the initial function. His notions are often available to revision, without always rejecting his prior explanations, but rather expanding his explanation so that you can include this new facts.


  1. Herodotus, The History, translated by David Green, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London, 1987
  2. Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, translated by Richard Crawley, Everyman’s Library, London & Toronto, J.M.Dent & Sons, Ltd, New York E.P.Dutton & Co, 1926
  3. Donald R. Kelley. Faces of History: Historic Inquiry from Herodotus to Herder. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998, p. 268
  4. Donald R. Kelley. Faces of History: Historical Inquiry from Herodotus to Herder. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998, p. 6
  5. Donald R. Kelley. Faces of History: Historical Inquiry from Herodotus to Herder. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998, p. 12
  6. Herodotus, The History, translated by David Green, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London, 1987, 4.30, p.290
  7. S. Hornblower, ‘Narratology and Narrative Methods in Thucydides’, in id. (ed.), Greek Historiography (Oxford, 1994), 131-66
  8. Tim Rood Thucydides: Narrative and Description (Oxford, 1998), 194-5
  9. Tim Rood, ‘Thucydides’ Persian Wars’, in C. S. Kraus (ed.), The Limitations of Historiography: Genre and Narrative in Ancient Historical Texts (Leiden, 1999), 141-68
  10. Herodotus, The History. translated by David Green, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London, 1987 , E book 1: 1, p. 33
  11. Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, translated by Richard Crawley, Everyman’s Library, London & Toronto, J.M.Dent & Sons, Ltd, NY E.P.Dutton & Co, 1926, Book 1, pp. 1-2
  12. Herodotus, THE ANNALS. translated by David Green, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London, 1987 , Publication 2: 113, p. 117
  13. Herodotus, The History. translated by David Green, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London, 1987 , Book 2: 116, p.178
  14. Herodotus, THE ANNALS. translated by David Green, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London, 1987, Book 2: 120, pp.180-181