Herodotus is not only the father of the art and the science of historical writing, but also one of the Western tradition's most compelling storytellers. In tales such as that of Gyges, who murders Candaules, the king of Lydia, and usurps his throne and his marriage bed, thereby bringing on, generations later, war with the Persians, Herodotus laid bare the intricate human entanglements at the core of great historical events.
In his love for the stranger, more marvelous facts of the world, he infused his magnificent history with a continuous awareness of the mythic and the wonderful. For more than a hundred generations, his supple, lucid prose has drawn readers into his panoramic vision of the war between the Greek city-states and the great empire to the east. And in the generosity of his spirit, in the instinctive empiricism that took him searching over much of the known world for information, in the care he took with sources and historical evidence, in his freedom from intolerance and prejudice, he virtually defined the rational, humane spirit that is the enduring legacy of Greek civilization.
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