City Readers Digital Historic Collections at the New York Society Library
Herodotus (; Ancient Greek: Ἡρόδοτος, Hêródotos, Attic Greek pronunciation: [hɛː.ró.do.tos]) was a Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire (modern-day Bodrum, Turkey) and lived in the fifth century BC (c. 484 BC – c. 425 BC), a contemporary of Thucydides, Socrates, and Euripides. He is often referred to as "The Father of History", a title first conferred by Cicero; he was the first historian known to have broken from Homeric tradition to treat historical subjects as a method of investigation—specifically, by collecting his materials systematically and critically, and then arranging them into a historiographic narrative.
The Histories is the only work which he is known to have produced, a record of his "inquiry" (ἱστορία historía) on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars; it primarily deals with the lives of Croesus, Cyrus, Cambyses, Smerdis, Darius, and Xerxes and the battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, Artemisium, Salamis, Plataea, and Mycale; however, its many cultural, ethnographical, geographical, historiographical, and other digressions form a defining and essential part of the Histories and contain a wealth of information. Some of his stories are fanciful and others inaccurate, yet he states that he is reporting only what he was told; a sizable portion of the information he provided was later confirmed by historians and archaeologists.
Despite Herodotus's historical significance, little is known of his personal life.