The Herodotos Project: Towards an ethnohistory of the ancient world
By Christopher Brown, Marie-Catherine de Marneffe, Micha Elsner, and Brian D. Joseph
The ancient Greek writer Herodotos (484–425 BCE) is often referred to as the Father of History: his Histories tell the story of the Persian Wars or, as the ninth-century Byzantine church father Photios put it, the story of the Persian kings and an usurper. History as a discipline often focuses on events, persons, and places. But Herodotos might also be considered the Father of Anthropology, since his work is a treasure house of a variety of information about other, non-Greek peoples of the ancient world; for this reason, he was also called Φιλοβάρβαρος (philobárbaros) ‘fond of barbarians.’ In this way, Herodotos was practicing what might be called “ethnohistory,” essentially, historical anthropology.