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date: 20 June 2021

p. 202. Origins and the historianlocked

p. 202. Origins and the historianlocked

  • Jennifer T. Roberts


Without an understanding of origins, there can be no understanding of causality, and without causality, the concept of history is meaningless. ‘Origins and the historian’ explains that the limits of human knowledge, the concern with firsts, the identification of Herodotus himself as the author of a text, and the mutability of fortune are all key elements in The Histories. The phrase ‘the first of whom we know’ appears with remarkable frequency, signalling both Herodotus's fascination with firsts and his awareness of the limited scope of human knowledge. Both in his storytelling mode and in his ethnographic mode, Herodotus manifests a strong belief that to understand history one must understand origins.

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