Ionian revolt and the burning of Sardis—events which led up to the Persian attacks on Greece; Book VI describes the punishment of the Ionian cities and the first invasion, ending with the glorious victory of Marathon; and the remaining books record the great invasion of Xerxes.
Herodotus's inspiration came largely, no doubt, from the time in which he lived. He was born early in the fifth century, and so was of the next generation to those who took part in the Persian struggle. He must have known and talked with many men who had fought at Marathon and Salamis. His own native city, Halicarnassus in Caria, was subject to Persia, so that he must early have learned to know and to fear the Persian power. Fate and inclination seem to have combined to make him a traveler. He was twice exiled from his native city, and was for many years "a man without a country," until at last he obtained citizenship in the town of Thurii in southern Italy, a sort of international colony which had been established by the Athenians in 443 B. C. on the site of the old city of Sybaris. He certainly spent some time in Athens, where he enjoyed the friendship of Sophocles, and doubtless of others of that brilliant group of writers and artists whose works have made the "Age of Pericles" a synonym for the "great age" in Greek literature and art. There are traditions that he gave public readings at Athens, Olympia, Corinth, and Thebes; and he speaks with first-hand knowledge of many other places in Greece.
THE RANGE AND PURPOSE OF HIS TRAVELS
But the journeyings of Herodotus were not confined to Greece and its immediate neighborhood. From his own statements we learn that he had traveled through the Persian Empire to Babylon, and even to distant Susa and Ecbatana; had visited Egypt and gone up the Nile as far as Elephantine; had gone by sea to Tyre and to Libya; and had made a journey to the Black Sea, visiting the Crimea and the land of the Colchians.
He seems also to have traveled through the interior of Asia Minor and down the Syrian coast to the borders of Egypt.
- H. C., xii, 35ff.