Sunday, August 21, 2011

Herodotus' Histories (Books I and II)


These are my notes summarising Herodotus' Histories. There are lines which are in bold, which summarise what happen over some great period of chapters.

Each book is organised as a grocery list of "chapters", I summarise each chapter of each book.

Note that I am using the George Rawlinson translation, and it appears to use Greek mythological names even when referring e.g. to the Egyptian pantheon.

Book I

1–5. A crime blot of kidnappings.

1. Phoenicians kidnapped Io of Argos.

2. Later, some Greeks took Europé, princess of the Phoenicians.

3. Alexander (son of Priam) took Helen the Greek by force as a wife.

4. Persians consider the Greeks at fault. Thus concludes the Persian version of the story.

5. Phoenicians claim that Io left of her own free will.

6. Croesus (son of Algattes) was lord of all nations west of the Halys river.

7–25. Lydian History.

7. How Croesus came to power; the lineage of Lydian kings.

8. Camydales, long ago, was king and wanted his bodyguard Gyges to see his wife naked.

9. Gyges tried to decline, but was forced into the wife's chambers.

10. Gyges escapes from Caundales' chambers.

11. The Queen tells Gyges to kill Caundales and take the thrown, or kill himself; Gyges chooses the former.

12. Gyges slays Caundales.

13. Gyges takes the thrown if blessed by the oracle.

14. Gyges sent gifts to Delphi. While king made an inroad from Miletus to Smyrna…but that's it. Ardys succeeds Gyges.

15. Ardys took Priêné; Alyattes succeeds Ardys.

16. Alyatte conquered Smyrna and did things of note.

17. Laid siege to Miletus.

18. Alyattes accidentally burns down a temple of Minerva.

19. Alyattes ill, asks oracle what to do; oracle's reply is first rebuild the temple of Minerva.

23–24. Arion's story.

25. Alyattes dies.

26–56. Croesus of Lydia.

26. Croesus (Alyattes' son) takes the throne; declares war on Ephesus first, then the rest of the Ionians.

27. Croesus becomes master of Greek cities in Asia [i.e. Asia minor], forms a league of amity with Ionians of the Isles.

28. The tribes held in subjection.

29. Solon the Athenian travels abroad.

30. Croesus receives Solon; discusses Tellus as happiest man.

31. Solon suggests Cleobis and Bito coming second as happiest.

32. Croesus asks Solon where Croesus ranks.

33. Croesus perceives Solon as "an arrogant fool"; Solon leaves indifferent.

34. Croesus dreams one of his sons will die by an iron weapon; marries his son off.

35. Adrastus (son of Midas) comes and lives with Croesus.

36. A boar lays waste to the corn fields; villagers ask for Croesus' son's aid; Croesus refuses (because of his dream).

37. People ask if Croesus' son is a coward.

38. Croesus explains the dream he had.

39. The son asks to go.

40. Croesus assents, lets his son go hunt the boar.

41. Croesus asks Adrastus to joint the hunt.

42. Adrastus reluctantly agrees.

43. Adrastus accidentally kills Croesus' son.

44. Croesus finds out, furious at Adrastus.

45. Adrastus begs forgiveness, Croesus moved by pity.

46. Croesus learns of Cyrus (leader of the Persians) and asks oracles' guidance.

47. Only Delphi Oracle's reply extant, in form of hexameter verse.

48. Croesus believes only Delphi's oracle is true, and performs sacrifices.

49. Croesus believes he understands the prophecy.

50. Croesus orders everyone to perform sacrifices "to propitiate the Delphic gods".

51. Croesus sends many gifts to Delphi.

52. Many gifts still exist (in Herodotus' day).

53. Croesus asks the oracle if he should go to war with the Persians; Oracle says he'll destroy a mighty empire.

54. Delphians let Croesus consult the oracle free of charge.

55. Croesus asks the oracle if his kingdom would be of long duration.

56. Croesus interprets the reply well, contemplates league with Athens or Sparta.

57–64. History of Athens.

57. Pelasgi history.

58. Pelasgi are barbarians, cf. the "Hellenic races".

59. How Pisastrus came to power in Athens.

60. Pisastrus driven out, comes back to pwoer in Athens.

61. Pisastrus family exiled.

62. Pisastrus family returns near Marathon.

64. Pisastrus returns to power for a third time.

65–68. History of Sparta.

69. Croesus sends gifts to Sparta.

70. Lacedamonians sent Croesus a bronze vase in return, but Croesus never received it; there are two accounts of it: (1) Lacedaemonians claim Samians took it; (2) Samians claim Lacedaemonians came too late when Croesus was taken prisoner, so Lacedaemonians sold it.

71. Croesus led his forces into Cappadocia expecting to defeat Cyrus. Lyndian wise man Sandanis pleaded Croesus not to attack Cappadocia.

72. Cappadocians (known to Greeks as Syrians), geography of their kingdom.

73. Croesus wanted (1) the land of Cappadocia, (2) revenge for the wrongs of Astyages (this was "the chief reason"). Astyages (son of Cyaxeres, King of Medes) was dethroned by Cyrus, and is also Cyrus' brother in Law.

74–76. The history of Astyages becoming Croesus' brother-in-Law and source of problems with Cyrus.

76. Croesus pillages Pteria; Cyrus levies an army, fights Croesus.

77. Croesus blames not having enough men for his problems; Cyrus doesn't attack again, but asks for help from Babylon, Egypt. Croesus asks for help from his Allies, to meet at Sardis. Croesus disbands his mercenaries, permitting them to return home; Cyrus attacks, takes Croesus prisoner.

78. Croesus asks Telmussian seers their opinions of the numerous snakes.

79. Cyrus doesn't disband his forces, moves towards Sardis.

80. The armies fought in the plains before Sardis; Cyrus arranged camels, footmen, cavalry, and ordered Croesus to be taken alive "even if he offers resistance"; horses fear camels, causing Croesus' cavalry to retreat.

81. Sardis besieged, Croesus sends for help.

82. Spartans fought for Thyrea against the Argives and won.

83. Spartans went to aid of Croesus until they found out he was taken prisoner.

84. Cyrus discovered how messangers returned and left Sardis, took advantage of it, and sent his army in thus capturing Sardis.

95–130. Medes history, rise of Deioces, Phraortes, Cyaxares, and Astyages.

96–101. Deoices collected the Medes into a nation and ruled over them alone.

102. Phraortes (son and successor of Deioces) declared war on the Assyrians, died in the expedition.

103. Cyaxeres (son of Phraortes) organized Medes' army into companies, etc. Won a battle against Assyrains when horde of Scythians entered Median territory.

104. Scythians defeated Medians and took over their empire.

106–125. Background of Cyrus' birth, upbringing, etc.

106. Cyaxeres regained control by inviting Scythians to party, killing them after they passed out drunk.

107–108. Cyaxeres has vision, marries his daughter Mandane to the Persian Cambyses.

126–130. Cyrus overthrowing Cyaxeres by using the Persians, becomes ruler of the Persians.

131–140. Culture of the Persians.

141–176. Persian conquest of the Ionians.

141. Ionians and Æolians sent ambassadors to Cyrus at Sardis to become his lieges; Cyrus refuses on the grounds they didn't help Cyrus when help was needed. The Ionians begin fortifying their towns.

142. The climate, language, cities of Ionia.

143. Cyrus allied with Milesians; Phoenicians (as seafaring peoples) are fearless of non-seafaring Persians; Athens the only Ionic state "of mark".

144. Dorians exclusiveness with their temples; there are 5 other cities involved in this too.

145. The 12 cities of the Achaens.

146. The 12 divisions of Achaea.

147. Lycians or "bloog of Glaucus, son of Hippolochus, or…the blood of Codrus, son of Melanthus" are the kings of Ionians.

149. The cities of the Æolians; the Ionians "deprived" Æolians of Smyrna

150. Colophon cast out rebels plotting sedition; Smyrna welcomed them, and the rebels took over during a festival to Bacchus; Smyrnians were expelled to parts of Æolia, Ionians took Smyrnia.

152. Æolians and Ionians had Pythermus the Phocæn speak to Spartans for assistance, non was given; Lacrines (of Sparta) sent to Cyrus to deny "molestation" of any Greek city.

153. Cyrus reproached the Spartan, intending it for all Greeks. Cyrus inteded on war with Babylon, the Bactrians, the Sacæ, Egypt and left Pactyas (a Sardis native) to collect Croesus' treasure.

154. Pactyas induced his country to revolt, using Croesus' treasure to hire mercenaries.

155. Cyrus (upon being informed of revolt) asks Croesus if he should just ensalve all Lydians and sell them; Croesus says the fauly lies with Pactyas, so Pactyas alone should receive all punishment.

156. Cyrus orders Mazares (the Mede-ian) to sell all accomplices of Pactyas into slavery; Cyrus went off on his way.

157. Mazares (the Median general) marched to Sardis; Pactya et al. fled to Cymé; Mazares sent word to ask for Pactyas alone, changed Sardis manner of living. Cymæans ask oracle of Branchidæ for advice.

158. Oracle said give Lydians to Persians; Aristodicus (son of Heraclides) believes messanger is lying, demands another be sent asking the same question, Aristodicus went along too.

159. The oracle gave the same answer; God even told Aristodicus to cut the crap out and don't ask the same question anymore!

160. Pactyas was transported around, eventually given to Mazares.

161. Mazares sought to punish the cities aiding Pactyas, but suddenly contracted illness and dies..

162. Harpagus (another Mede) sent to replace Mazares; took cities "by means of mounds", first attacks Phocæ

163. Phocæans favored by Tartessus' king Arganthônius, who helped build the wall of Phocæ.

164. Harpagus laid siege to the town; Phocæans fled by boats ot Chios; Harpagus captured a vacant town.

165. Phocæans couldn't purchase Chios; more than half returned to Phocæ and were killed by Harpagus' garrison, the rest went to an old Phocæan colony Alalia on Cyrnus (Corsica).

166. Phocæans went to Alalia (on Cyrnus), Carthaginians and Tyrrhenians formed a league sent 60 ships against Alali; Phocæans won a Cadmeian victory (i.e. where victor hurts more than profits), lost 40 ships (of 60).

167. Fate of Phocæan prisoners; some Phocæans settled in Rheggium (southern Italy).

168. Teians (of Teos) fled to Thrace.

169. All other Ionians resisted Harpagus, ended up in servitude.

170. Bias of Priêné (a wise man) suggested Ionians set up a pan-Ionian state on Sardinia; Thales of Miletus (a Phenician) suggested setting up one centered in Teos.

171. Harpagus attacks the Carians, the Caunians, and the Lycians; the history of the Carians.

172. The history of the Caunians.

173. The Lycian's history.

174. The Carians surrender to Harpagus without fighting; Caundians attempted to make their country an island, but stopped due to the Oracle of Delphi; Caundians surrender to Harpagus without a blow.

176. Lycians fought, outnumbered, retreated with the city walls, and had everyone and their treasures moved into the citadel, then burned the citadel down (with everyone and everything inside).

177. Cyrus meanwhile is conquering everything in his path, focusing on Assyria.

178–187. Babylon and its History.

178. Babylon is the most renown and strongest city in Assyria.

179. The moat and walls of Babylon.

180. The Euphrates river divides Babylon in two.

181. There is an outer wall, an inner wall, and at the center of both halves a fortress.

185–187. More on the history of Babylon.

★188–192.★ The Battle of Babylon.

193–194. The canal system and agriculture of Assyria.

195. The dress of the Babylonians.

196–200. The Babylonian customs.

201. Cyrus' desire to conquer the Massagetæ.

202–203. Geography of Massagetæ and surrounding lands.

204. Reason for Cyrus' desire for conquest.

205. Queen Tomyris rules Massagetæ after her husband's death; Cyrus tries courting her and fails.

206. Tomyris calls on Cyrus to quit his militaristic bridge-building.

207. Croesus urges Cyrus not to continue conquering, no one wins forever, but pushforward anyways.

208. Cyrus takes Croesus' advice, invades Massagetæ.

209. Cyrus has dream his son Darius is plotting against him.

210. Hystaspes sent back to keep an eye on Darius.

211. Cyrus leaves reserves; Spargapises (son of Tomyris) leads 1/3 of Massagetæ army, captures Cyrus' reserves, then gets drunk; Cyrus returns, capturing or killing all of Spargapises' forces.

212. Tomyris, pissed, demands her son be released.

213. Spargapises is released, and immediately kills himself.

214. Tomyris confronts and defeats Cyrus; Cyrus is killed in the battle.

215–216. Culture of the Mssagetæ.

Book II

1. Cambyses (Cyrus' son) takes the throne, considers Ionian and Æolian Greeks his subjects.

2. Egyptians believe Phrygians the oldest "race".

3. Heliopolitans reputed for knowledge of Egyptian history.

4. Egyptians use the solar calendar.

5–34. Geography of Egypt, its origin, dimensions, and boundaries.

19–34. The Nile River.

19. The Nile starts to rise at the summer solstice, and continues for 100 days, then it contracts and continues low until the next summer solstice (so it's low during Winter). But why?

20. One theory is the Etesian winds cause the river to rise.

21. A second theory: the Nile acts strangely because it flows from the ocean, and the oceans flows all around the world.

22. A Third theory: the inundation of the Nile is caused by the melting of snows.

35–98. Customs of Egypt.

85–89. The various processes of embalming.

99–182. The History of Egypt.

99–146. The History of Egypt according to the Egyptians.

99. Mên (a.k.a. Menes, the first king of Egypt) constructed the dyke which protects Memphis from the inundations of the Nile. He also built the temple of Vulcan which stands within the city, "a vast edificie, very worthy of mention".

100. From a list of 330 monarchs, 18 were Ethiopian kings, and one was an Egyptian queen (who bore the same name as the Babylonian princess named "Noticris").

101. The other kings were of little note, leaving nothing behind, except Mœris (aka, Amenemhat III). He built the northern gateway of the temple of Vulcan, had excavated and created an artificial lake, and the pyramids built by him in the lake.

102–110. Sesostris' reign as king.

125. Construction of the Pyramids.

147–182. The History of Egypt according to others.

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