Histories | Study Guide

Herodotus

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Histories | Chapter Summaries

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Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Book 1, The Story of Croesus Herodotus opens by stating he wishes to record the deeds of the past, and that he wants to show how the war between the ... Read More
Book 1, The Rise of Cyrus the Great Having introduced Cyrus as Croesus's conqueror, Herodotus relates Cyrus's rise and that of the Persians. He begins by di... Read More
Book 1, Affairs in Babylonia and Persia Having related Cyrus's conquests of the Medes and Lydians, Herodotus begins to narrate Cyrus's campaigns of expansion. T... Read More
Book 2, The Geography of Egypt Cyrus is succeeded as king of Persia by his son, Cambyses. Herodotus notes quickly that Cambyses had ambitions to conque... Read More
Book 2, Customs and Animals of Egypt Herodotus next describes the customs and animals to be found in Egypt. He claims that Egyptian customs tend to be the op... Read More
Book 2, The History of Egypt Herodotus lays out the history of Egypt until the reign of Amasis, the pharaoh that Cambyses will defeat in Histories. H... Read More
Book 3, Cambyses's Conquest of Egypt Having introduced and described Egypt, Herodotus returns to describing Cambyses's campaign against Egypt. The Persians i... Read More
Book 3, The Magi and the Rise of Darius The magi, a class of priests, revolt against Cambyses. They plot to place a false version of the slain brother of Cambys... Read More
Book 3, Affairs on Samos Herodotus returns to the conflict over Samos and the affairs of Polycrates, its ruler. After the campaigns of Cambyses a... Read More
Book 4, The Country and Customs of the Scythians Darius, fresh from ending the Babylonian revolt, invades Scythia. As with Egypt, Herodotus gives his narrative over to a... Read More
Book 4, The Persian Campaigns Against the Scythians Darius marches to fight the Scythians. On his way, he erects a series of pillars marking his passage. He fights and defe... Read More
Book 4, The Persian Conquest of Libya While Darius's campaign against Scythia is ongoing, he leaves a general, Megabazus, on the Hellespont to subdue the peop... Read More
Book 5, The Persian Conquest of Thrace Megabazus, who had been left in command of the Persian army on the Hellespont, is ordered to conquer Thrace. Herodotus p... Read More
Book 5, Origins of the Ionian Revolt Trouble is brewing in Ionia. Naxos at this time is recorded as being the wealthiest of the Greek islands. Aristagoras, t... Read More
Book 5, Affairs in Athens Undaunted, Aristagoras decides to seek aid from the Athenians instead. Herodotus describes Athens and, in particular, th... Read More
Book 5, The Ionian Revolt At this point, Aristagoras arrives in Athens with his request for aid. The Athenians are persuaded to aid Aristagoras an... Read More
Book 6, The Persian Reconquest of Ionia Histiaeus, who was sent with an army by Darius, arrives at Sardis. There, the Persian governor and Darius's brother, Art... Read More
Book 6, Affairs in Greece Because the Athenians had aided the Ionians, Darius aims to punish them. He sends his general, Mardonius, to attack Gree... Read More
Book 6, The Battle of Marathon Athens and Aegina continue to squabble while Darius prepares his attack on Athens. He appoints Datis and Artaphernes (th... Read More
Book 7, Xerxes and Persian Preparations Darius is exceedingly angry when informed of the defeat at Marathon. Another vexing event is a rebellion in Egypt. He re... Read More
Book 7, The Persians Invade Europe So vast is Xerxes's army that it takes seven full days and nights to cross the Hellespont. Herodotus catalogs the many c... Read More
Book 7, The Battle of Thermopylae Herodotus notes that while Xerxes ostensibly meant to punish Athens, his real intent was to conquer all of Greece. He ex... Read More
Book 8, The Battle of Artemisium Herodotus records the size and composition of the Greek fleet—271 ships in total. In accordance with their plan, the Gre... Read More
Book 8, The Battle of Salamis The Athenians try to convince the other Greeks to marshal their naval strength at Salamis. Thanks to their efforts, the ... Read More
Book 8, The Aftermath and the Macedonians Xerxes, chastened by defeat, begins a retreat. He orders a causeway to be built heading toward Salamis, but this is a ru... Read More
Book 9, The Battle of Plataea Mardonius mobilizes his army for a new campaign when the Athenians refuse to make peace. He advances swiftly on Athens, ... Read More
Book 9, The Liberation of Ionia During these events, the Spartan king Leotychides had a small force at Delos. Three men approach and ask Leotychides per... Read More
Book 9, Foundation of the Athenian Empire After their victory over the Persians at Mycale, the Greeks head to the Hellespont, hoping to destroy Xerxes's bridge. T... Read More
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