Analysis

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 134

Published around 425 BC, the Histories is the foundational work in the historical tradition; that is, it is the first attempt to systematically break down the past into sequences of interactions between cause and effect. "History" is etymologically descended from the Greek word "historie," or "inquiry." Indeed, Herodotus is the first person to delve into past inquiry in order to help understand and contextualize the present.

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Just as importantly, his work attempts to break through the subjective fog of historical evidence and textual artifacts and approximate its "real" sequence of events. This project met much criticism from his rival Thucydides, who was skeptical about the ability of history to render objective truth. Thucydides and Herodotus were ideological opposites in their perspective on whether history should be relegated to the category of either science or entertainment.

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