The Western Classical notion of identity comes to us from Herodotus’ Histories, written in the 5th century B.C. It’s from Herodotus that we have the story of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, told in the broader context of the entire Hellenic world’s successful resistance of the Persian invasion. In order to do that, the Spartans (Dorians) and Athenians (Ionians) had to overcome their differences and join together to defend what was common to both of them as Greeks. (more…)
In The Histories, the Greek historian Herodotus relates an account of a conflict between (Greek) Athenians and a group identified as “Pelasgians.” The story encodes ideas of racial/cultural difference, expulsion, miscegenation, mass murder, and, especially, racial (genetic) dominance that are still relevant today.
The story is related in Book Six, §§6.137–6.140. At some unknown date prior to Herodotus’ time, but still remembered, the Athenians expelled the Pelasgians from Attica, (more…)
No group of people can hope to regain control of their destiny unless they possess two essential things: the will to survive as a people, and knowledge. The reader who seeks to have a well-guided will must have an unshakable sense of identity: an understanding of who he is and his relationship to the world around him.
In retrospect, Aryans appear to have harbored a naïve faith in the natural relationship between reputation, fame, and merit. True, our conceptions served us well enough in our own world. But that was prior to the Age of Defamation. Now we see that fame, reputation, and moral worth can be completely unrelated. It is child’s play for dominant, cunning, and unscrupulous elites to destroy reputations, fabricate evidence and opinions, and reverse the judgments of history—and have their constructs stick, and be universally accepted.
The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories Edited by Robert B. Strassler
New York: Pantheon, 2007
Independent scholar Robert Strassler has produced far and away the best English edition aimed at the general reader of the work which remains the fountainhead of the Western historical tradition. Let us hope there is still a fit audience out there for it—men, that is, capable of learning what Herodotus has to teach.