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Book Notes

Hesiod and the ‘mythographers’ had developed the method to understand the stories of the gods, but we know of no one before Herodotos who had tried to gather memories and documents together on such a scale to tell a connected story about the past. It was a very brave undertaking: the Persian Wars had finished around the time of his birth and had been over more than a generation by the time he was writing. We owe Herodotus so much that, for all his unreliability and untidiness, it would be unjust to pick up the gibe made about him by some ancient authors who, following the lead of a prolonged and peevish attack on him by the later historian Plutarch, claimed that he was the Father of Lies rather than the Father of History.

From Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years.