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Herodotus: Histories: Book 7

5. Greeks and Persians

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the presentation of the Greeks and Persians in Herodotus’ Histories, focusing in particular on: (i) the extent to which the Persians are seen as polar opposites to the Greeks; (ii) the character of Xerxes; and (iii) the extent to which the lines between Greeks and Persians are blurred.


In this course, Dr Emma Aston (University of Reading) explores Book 7 of Herodotus’ Histories. We begin by thinking about Herodotus as a historian, the aims in his ‘Histories’, and the extent to which the ‘Histories’ represents both a continuation of and a break from the traditions of Greek historiography (and mythography). After that, we provide a broad overview of the Persian Wars (490-479 BC), before turning in the third module to the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC). In the fourth module, we explore the theme of Greek unity in the face of the Persian threat – why did some Greek states choose to side with the Persians? – before moving on in the fifth module to consider Herodotus’ characterisation of Greeks and Persians in his Histories and how they are differentiated.


Dr Emma Aston is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics at the University of Reading. She has a longstanding interest in Greek religion, especially the depiction of deities in part-animal form, which was the subject of her 2011 book Mixanthrôpoi: Animal-Human Hybrid Deities in Greek Religion. She is currently working on a book on the culture and identity of Thessaly from the 7th to the 2nd century BC. She is also editing an unpublished monograph by the late scholar of Greek religion and myth, Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Aston, E. (2019, March 14). Herodotus: Histories: Book 7 - Greeks and Persians [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Aston, E. "Herodotus: Histories: Book 7 – Greeks and Persians." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 14 Mar 2019,

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