Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2009

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Classical World


In analyzing how Herodotus' descriptions of foreign societies reflect Greek assumptions and prejudices, we have sometimes failed to recognize the extent to which he reports persuasive and historically valid information. This is particularly true of the Persians for whom Herodotus appears to have had access to very good sources, especially perhaps among Medes and Persians living in Asia Minor. This paper argues that Herodotus' representation of Persian character and customs and his understanding of the relationship between the king and his subjects is based on genuine native traditions that reflect an internal debate within Persian elites in the aftermath of their war against Greece.


This work is freely available courtesy of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States and Johns Hopkins University Press.

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