HerodotusThe Seventh, Eighth, & Ninth Books with Introduction and CommentaryMachine readable text

By Reginald Walter Macan

Perseus Documents Collection Table of Contents


   Unity of the last three Books of Herodotus
   Justification of the existing subdivisions
   Characteristic and Analysis of Bk. 7
   Characteristic and Analysis of Bk. 8
   Characteristic and Analysis of Bk. 9
   Is the work of Herodotus incomplete, or unfinished?
   General considerations in support of the priority of Bks. 7, 8, 9
   Particular passages favourable to the priority of Bks. 7, 8, 9
   Marks of successive Redactions in Bks. 7, 8, 9
   The Sources: analysis inconclusive
   Defects and Merits of Herodotus historicus as exhibited in Bks. 7, 8, 9
   The false and the true estimates of Herodotus and his work


Funded by The Annenberg CPB/Project



THE Greek text in this edition has been printed, by permission, from the fifth issues of Heinrich Stein's annotated edition: Herodotos, Berlin, Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1893, with a few variations, duly noted ad ll. The Apparatus Criticus has been formed by the collation of Stein's various editions, with the editions of Alfred Holder (Herodoti Historiae, 2 vv., Lipsiae 1886-8), and Henricus van Herwerden (Herodotus, Trajecti ad Rhenum <1888>), supplemented by Gaisford's third edition (1840), DietschKallenberg (Teubner, Leipsiae 1885), Schweighaeuser, and others. Stein's own various readings are distinguished as Stein1 (=ed. mai. 1871), Stein2 (=ed. min. 1884), Stein3 (=the fifth edition of the annotated text above described); Stein5, the annotations to the same; Stein simpliciter denotes a reading common to the three The two main families of MSS. are denoted by the symbols introduced by Holder, and now generally accepted, α representing the agreement between A and B, β representing the agreement between R and V and S. Of these two symbols α represents the older existing class, A being a Medicean MS. of the tenth century, B a Roman (Passionean) of the eleventh, while R is a Roman (Vatican) of the fourteenth century, V a Viennese codex, and S the Sancroft MS., both of obviously inferior value, but belonging to the same family. An earlier Florentine MS. (C) agrees generally with the elder family. Other codd. to which express reference is occasionally made (chiefly after Stein1 's apparatus) are one or other of two Paris MSS., viz. 1633, cited as P (an early MS. more akin to β), and Paris. 1635 (=Stein's q, a later MS. in the same line); also the Venetian codex cited as Marc. (Stein's δ, probably a late MS. of the α kindred). The Aldine editio princeps is cited as z. Various emendations are certified by their authors' names. The Ionic of Herodotus remains a great difficulty in the way of constituting a definitive text: neither family of MSS. appears to offer a perfectly consistent dialectal norm, as variations noted in the Apparatus will show; fixed rules hardly obtain in regard to such matters as elision (δέ, δ'), ν and ς suffixed (οὕτω, οὕτως), ι postscript, aspirates, accents, not to speak of diaeresis, punctuation, etc. The order of words sometimes varies. The same words occur in varying forms (Stein2 writes ὁρέων and ὁρῶν in the same chapter, e.g. 9. 53). θωῦμα (or even θῶυμα) has disappeared, but Stein retains οὔνομα, and so forth. It is more than possible that the practice of Herodotus himself was far from uniform or precise in such matters. Papyrology [p. c] has not yet thrown much light upon the state of the text in the early centuries of our aera. The Oxyrhynchus fragments exhibit no important variations; indeed, as it happens, no passage from Bks. 7, 8, 9 has so far emerged (cp. Oxyrh. Pap. I. 18, 19, IV. 695; also U. Wilchen in Archiv fu<*>r Papyrusforschung i. 471-3; Amherst Pap. ii. 12 teste B. P. Grenfell). MSS. of the Roman period might be expected to show some dialectal freaks, and also, perhaps, Atticizing tendencies; but Herodotus himself, in cases where his materials were largely drawn from Attic sources, as in Bk. 9, may have led the way in that direction. The Index Lectionum contains references only to such passages in the text as are noticed in the Commentary.

The text is on the whole satisfactory to the mere historian: cases in which any point of material or historical importance turns upon the reading, are comparatively few in number. In the last three Books, apart from many lacunae, glosses, and doubtful proper names, the following passages afford textual problems of special interest, from the realist point of view: Bk. 7 c. 11 (the Achaimenid pedigree), c. 23 (the Athos Canal), c. 36 (the Bridges), c. 86. 8 (Κάσπιοι), c. 109. 9 (ἰών), c. 114. 7 (a Persian custom), c. 164. 5 (παρά or μετά?), c. 191. 6 (γόησι), c. 239 (Demaratos-anecdote); Bk. 8 c. 20 (spurious?), c. 25. 5 (καὶ Θεσπιέας?), c. 35. 5 (Αἰολιδέων), c. 37. 7 (Προναίης), c. 46. 2 (no. of Aiginetan ships), c. 76. 7 (Κέον), c. 85. 2 (Ἐλευσῖνός), c. 104 (the bearded priestess), c. 115. 15 (transposition), c. 120 (suspect), c. 131 (Eurypontid pedigree), c. 133. 3 (Εὐρωπέα), c. 136. 7 (Ἀλάβανδα), c. 137. 10 (transposition), c. 142. 8 (ἀρχῆθεν); Bk. 9 c. 4. 5 (προέχων), c. 28. 2 (Παλέες), c. 31. 3 (τὸν ταύτῃ ῥέοντα), c. 33. 7 (γόνου), c. 35. 10 (Ἰσθμῷ), c. 55. 6 (Λακεδαιμονίων), c. 70. 5 (Λακεδαιμονίων), c 85. 3 (ἰρένας), c. 93. 4 (Χῶνα), c. 96. 3 (Καλαμίσοισι), c. 97. 2 (ποταμόν), c. 106. 14 (ἐμπολαῖα), c. 107. 16 (Κιλικίης).

Book 7

Ch. 1
Commentary on line 1

e)pei\ de/ does not correspond with any antecedent μέν clause, as οἱ δέ (8. 1) and Μαρδόνιος δέ (9. 1). There is more of a break, or pause, between Bks. 6 and 7 than between 7 and 8, or 8 and 9. The patronymic added to Δαρεῖον just below, and the absence of any reference to the previous description of events here enumerated, further emphasize the original or potential independence of the present opening. It may even be that originally this Book opened with a short proem, transferred (not without some modification perhaps) to the opening, or preface, of the whole work, where it now stands (1. 1). On the whole argument in regard to the genesis of the work see further, Introduction, 7-10.

a)ggeli/h a)pi/keto, by the process described 8. 98; cp. note there.

Commentary on line 2

to\n *(usta/speos. The use of the patronymic may simply be for the sake of emphasis, or solemnity; cp. 1. 45 for a conspicuous example; but still it serves, with other items, to maik the new beginning, which may have been the old beginning, in the work of Hdt. See further, Introduction, 7.

Commentary on line 3

th\n e)s *sa/rdis e)sbolh/n: perhaps an historic phrase, and not one coined by Hdt. for the occasion. The Lydian satrapy, as Stein (on 3. 120) points out, was known to the Persians as Cparda= Σάρδεις: cp. Thuc. 1. 115. 4. The story is told by Hdt. 5. 89 ff., but there is no express reference here to that passage. Cp. the mention of Egypt infra. The absence of such cross references in these Books suppoits the view that they are of earlier composition than Books 1-6. Cp. Introduction, 7.

Commentary on line 4

to/te, sc. ἐπεὶ ἀγγελίη ἀπίκετο, κτλ.

deino/tera e)poi/ee. There was really little left him to do, at least symbolically, to manifest his wiath, if the story of the Bow-shot, the Prayer, and the Mentor, connected in tradition with the news of the sack of Sardes in 498 B.C. (Hdt. 5. 105), is to be believed. That story could not well have been connected with the news of Marathon for two reasons: (1) it treated the Athenians as an unknown quantity to Dareios; (2) Marathon was not, except in the eyes of the Athenians, so very great or significant an achievement (cp. Appendix X. to my edition of Bks. IV.-VI.: 1895). Still, the omission of any specific action to set forth the wrath of Dareios upon this occasion leaves the Herodotean phrase vague and unsatisfactory. This defect, however, does not justify the substitution of ἐποιέετο for the active form of the verb. It appears, however, plainly in the sequel that Dareios (according to Hdt.) intended to conduct the reinvasion of Hellas in person (cp. Hdt. 4. 1).

[p. 2]
Commentary on line 6

e)phgge/lleto. The Herodotean uses of this word are observable; cp. c. 29 infra, 8. 25; also 4. 119, 4. 200, 6. 9, 5. 98, 6. 139 et al. pe/mpwn a)gge/lous is pleonastic (Stein). a)/ggelos in Hdt.= πρεσβευτής (or πρέσβυς, an ἄπαξ λ. in 3. 58).

kata\ po/lis without e)/qnea betrays a too exclusively Hellenic preoccupation; cp. c. 8 infra. The phrase in any case is double-edged, qualifying ἑτοιμάζειν (at least inferentially) as well as πέμπων ἀγγέλους.

Commentary on line 7

e(ka/stoisi: each set of men, each nation (hence the plural).

pro/teron. If παρέχειν be retained the meaning may be (with Stein) that the demand to be made on this occasion was in excess of the normal or prescribed levy, the expression implying that there was a standard levy for the militia (of which nothing is said in 3. 89 ff.). The reading is in doubt; perhaps it is best to omit παρέχειν altogether (with van H.). Even if we read παρέχειν (with Stein) we need not adopt Stein's interpretation, παρέχειν being epexegetical merely. πρότερον may cover not only the Marathonian campaign, but all others, the Scythian included, for which the levy had been (ex hypothesi) 700,000. Cp. 4. 87.

Commentary on line 8

kai\ ploi=a is not quite a sound reading, but it is by no means superfluous even after νέας, as the πλοῖα comprise the transports (cp. ἱππαγωγά cc. 21 and 97 infra; σιταγωγά cc. 186, 191 infra).

Commentary on line 9

tou/twn de\ periaggellome/nwn does not form a strict antithesis to αὐτίκα μὲν ἐπηγγέλλετο just above; τετάρτῳ δὲ ἔτεϊ just below rather demands ἐπὶ τρία μὲν ἔτεα. The exact text is in some doubt (vide Apparatus above), but in any case the antitheses are not fully or correctly worked out. τούτων is rather vague; περιαγγ. passive.

e)done/eto, though perhaps a poetic word, is used by Hdt. 4. 2 in an absolutely prosaic connexion.

tri/a e)/tea<*> teta/rtw| de/. Strictly speaking, the three years should count from the despatch of the king's message. On the chronology cp. c. 20 infra.

Commentary on line 10

tw=n a)ri/stwn rather tends to qualify the maximum numbers; cp. 8. 113. But is there some confusion underlying the term? Cp. c. 8 infra.

w(s, as it was against Hellas (Blakesley).

Commentary on line 12

u(po\ *kambu/sew d. The omission of any reference to the story in 3. 1-38 is no difficulty, on the supposition that this passage was of earlier composition; cp. Introduction, 7.