Literature Study GuidesHistoriesBook 4 The Persian Conquest Of Libya Summary

Histories | Study Guide

Herodotus

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Histories | Book 4, The Persian Conquest of Libya | Summary

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Summary

While Darius's campaign against Scythia is ongoing, he leaves a general, Megabazus, on the Hellespont to subdue the people of that region. Another Persian army is on its way to Libya. Many of the inhabitants of Libya are Greek colonists, and Herodotus describes these states as well as the nomads who live in the deserts. The Persian invasion meets with mixed success. The Persians are unable to conquer the city of Cyrene, despite not facing any armed resistance. Their advance reaches as far as the city Euesperides.

Analysis

Herodotus's interest in the peoples of Libya (a region of North Africa) centers on the Greek colonists—naturally, for his audience is Greek. It is likely he had visited the region and spoken to locals. His description of the Saharan nomads is detailed, and once more shows his commitment to honestly describing as many of the areas and peoples he encounters as possible. The Persian invasion of Libya is not one of their finer moments, and the episode illustrates the real problems of empire building and conquest. It is not always as simple as having an army show up and defeat the local defenders.

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