Ancient History Encyclopedia has a new name!

We are now World History Encyclopedia to better reflect the breadth of our non-profit organization's mission. If you have bookmarks or links to our site on your blog or website, please update them. Learn More

Natural history in Herodotus’ "Histories"

Article

Jan van der Crabben
by Valeria Viatcheslavova Sergueenkova
published on 14 November 2011
Send to Google Classroom:
X

This thesis argues that Herodotus should be considered in the context of early Greek science, and in the history of the development of Greek speculative thought in general, not only because of the range of his interests which includes questions about the causes and processes underlying natural phenomena but also because of his methodological self-awareness in tackling these problems. Specifically, he is concerned with the problem of how to make plausible inferences about what is unknown as well as what constitutes an adequate causal explanation. He is more polemical and engages critically with second-order questions more often in his ethnographic accounts, which are closely related to the inquiries into nature of pre-Socratic philosophy than in his historical narrative. This thesis argues that this difference is related to Herodotus’ conscious distinction between the types of questions and forms of argumentation he and his audience consider appropriate to different styles of inquiry into the causes of natural phenomena and human events. For this reason explanations involving appeal to the supernatural, while widely invoked in the narrative, are excluded from his accounts of the nature of things in the ethnographic sections of the Histories . Herodotus’ methodological self-awareness is part of his attempt to define the nature of his inquiries against other types of records of the past, which are in his view less methodologically self-conscious and, consequently, less discriminate about the evidence they rely on.

Editorial Review This article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.

Written by Valeria Viatcheslavova Sergueenkova, linked by Jan van der Crabben, published 14 November 2011. Source URL: http://gradworks.umi.com/3385559.pdf.

Disclaimer: World History Encyclopedia claims no authorship, intellectual property, or copyright on the material below. It is used solely for non-profit educational purposes, and none of the data is stored on our servers. If you want this content to be removed from the site, please contact us.

Remove Ads

Advertisement

Translations

We want people all over the world to learn about history. Help us and translate this article into another language!

Support Our
Non-Profit Organization

World History Encyclopedia is a non-profit organization. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide.

Become a Member  

Recommended Books

 

Cite This Work

APA Style

Sergueenkova, V. V. (2011, November 14). Natural history in Herodotus’ "Histories". World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/article/279/natural-history-in-herodotus-histories/

Chicago Style

Sergueenkova, Valeria Viatcheslavova. "Natural history in Herodotus’ "Histories"." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified November 14, 2011. https://www.worldhistory.org/article/279/natural-history-in-herodotus-histories/.

MLA Style

Sergueenkova, Valeria Viatcheslavova. "Natural history in Herodotus’ "Histories"." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 14 Nov 2011. Web. 18 May 2021.