, an ancient Greek historian of Halicarnassus in Caria, was born in the first year of the 74th olympiad; about 484 years before Christ. This time of his birth is fixed by a passage in Aulus Gellius, Book xv. chap 23. which makes Helianicus 65, Herodotus 53, and Thucydides 40 years old, at the commencement of the Peloponnesian war. The name of his father was Lyxes; of his mother, Dryo. The city of Halicarnassus being at that time under the tyranny of Lygdamis, grandson of Artemisia queen of Caria, Herodotus quitted his country, and retired to Samos; whence he travelled over Egypt, Greece, Italy, &c. and in his travels acquired the knowledge of the history and origin of many nations. He then began to digest the materials he had collected into order, and composed that history which has preserved his name ever since. He wrote it in the isle of Samos, according to the general opinion; but the elder Pliny affirms it to have been written at Thurium, a town in that part of Italy then called Magna Graecia, whither Herodotus had retired with an Athenian colony, and where he is supposed to have died, not however before he had returned into his own country, and by his influence expelled the tyrant Lygdamis. At Samos he studied the Ionic dialect, in which he wrote, his native dialect being Doric. Lucian informs us, that when Herodotus left Caria to go into Greece, he began to consider with himself, what he should do to obtain celebrity and lasting fame, in the most expeditious way, and with as little trouble as possible. His history, he presumed, would easily procure him fame, and raise his name among the Grecians, in whose favour it was written; but then he foresaw, that it would be very tedious, if not endless, to go through the several cities of Greece, and recite it to each respective city; to the Athenians, Corinthians, Argives, Lacedaemonians, &c. He thought it most proper, therefore, to take the opportunity of their assembling all together; and accordingly recited his work at the Olympic games, which rendered him more famous than | even those who had obtained the prizes. None were ignorant of his name, nor was there a single person in Greece, who had not either seen him at the Olympic games, or heard those speak of him who had seen him there; so that wherever he came, the people pointed to him with their ringers, saying, “This is that Herodotus, who has written the Persian wars in the Ionic dialect; this is he who has celebrated our victories.

His work is divided into nine books, which, according to the computation of Dionysius Halicarnassensis, contain the most remarkable occurrences within a period of 240 years; from the reign of Cyrus the first king of Persia, to that of Xerxes, when the historian was living. These nine books are called after the nine Muses, each of which is distinguished by the name of a Muse and this has given birth to two disquisitions among the learned first, whether they were so called by Herodotus himself; and secondly, for what reason they were so called. As to the first, it is generally agreed that Herodotus did not impose these names himself; but it is not agreed why they were imposed by others. Lucian, in the place referred to above, tells us, that those names were given them by the Grecians at the Olympic games, when they were first recited, as the best compliment that could be paid the man who had taken pains to do them so much honour. Others have thought, that the name of Muses have been fixed upon them by way of reproach, and were designed to intimate, that Herodotus, instead of true history, had written a great deal of fable, for which, it must be owned, he has been censured by Thucydides, Strabo, and Juvenal, and particularly Plutarch, who conceived a warm resentment against him, for casting an odium upon his countrymen the Thebans, and therefore wrote that little treatise, to be found in his works, “Of the Malignity of Herodotus.Herodotus, however, has not wanted defenders in Aldus Manutius, Joachim Camerarius, and Henry Stephens, who have very justly observed, that he seldom relates any thing of doubtful credit, without producing his authority, or using terms of caution; and some events, narrated by him, which were once thought wonders, have been confirmed by modern voyages and discoveries.

Besides this history, he promised to write another of Assyria: but this was never finished, at least not published. There is ascribed also to Herodotus a “Life of Homer,| which is usually printed at the end of his works; hut the style of this piece is very different from that of Herodotus; and the author mentions several things of Homer, which do not at all agree with what the ancients have said of that poet.

Herodotus wrote in the Ionic dialect, and his style and manner have ever been admired by all readers of taste. Cicero, in his second book “De Oratore,” says, that “he is so very eloquent and flowing, that he pleased him exceedingly;” and in his “Brutus,” that “his style is free from all harshness, and glides along like the waters of a still river.” He calls him also the Father of History; because he was, if not the first historian, the first who brought history to that degree of perfection. Quintilian has given the same judgment of Herodotus. “Besides the flowing sweetness or' his style, even the dialect he uses has a peculiar grace, and seems to express the harmony of numbers. Many,” says he, “have written history well; but every body owns, that there are two historians preferable to the rest, though extremely different from each other. Thucydides is close, concise, and sometimes even crowded in his sentences: Herodotus is sweet, copiou&, and exuberant. Thucydides is more proper for men of warm passions Herodotus for those of a sedater turn. Thucydides excels in orations Herodotus in narrations. The one is more forcible the other more agreeable.” There have been several editions of Herodotus the first in Greek, is that of Aldus, 1502, folio. There are also two by Henry Stephens, in 1570 and 1592; one by Gale at London in 1679; and one by Gronovius at Leyden in 1715. But the best is that of Wesseling, published at Amsterdam in 1763. There is also an elegant edition by Schcefer, Leipsic, 1800, &c. 8vo, and anothef printed at Edinburgh, 1806, 7 vols. 8vo. The first Latin translation was published at Venice in 1474, folio. It has been twice translated into English once by Littlebury, in 2 vols. 8vo, without notes the second time by, Mr. Beloe, in 4 vols. with many useful and entertaining remarks. There is also an excellent French translation, by M. Larcher, with very learned notes and dissertations, first printed in 1786, 7 vols. 8vo, and reprinted with additions, 1802, y vols. 8vo. 1


Vossius Hist. Grsec. Fabric. Bibl. Graec. Qen. Dict. —Moreri. —Saxii Onomast. Dibdin’s Classics and Bibl. Spenceriana.