Herodotus was a Greek historian born in Halicarnassus, subject at the time of the great Persian Empire. He lived in the fifth century BC (c. 484 – c. 425 BC), a contemporary of Socrates. He is often referred to as “The Father of History”, a title originally conferred by Cicero.
Herodotus was the first historian known to have broken from Homeric tradition in order to treat historical subjects as a method of investigation, specifically by collecting his materials in a critical, systematic fashion and then arranging them into a chronological narrative. The Histories (also known as The Persian Wars) is the only work Herodotus is known to have produced. It is a record of his inquiry into the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars, including a wealth of geographical and ethnographical information. Some of his stories were fanciful and others inaccurate. Yet he states that he was reporting only what he was told. A sizable portion of the information he provided was later confirmed by historians and archaeologists.
Despite Herodotus’ historical significance, very little is known of his personal life and academic history. The work is divided into nine sections, or “books”. This version of The Histories is by A. D. Godley, first published in 1920.