Reading Questions: Neils, chapter 4, Herodotus, books 1 and 2 (excerpts) 1. How do we define the polis? What are the typical buildings and institutions one would find in a polis? What sort of economy predominated? What role did slavery play in society? 2. What sort of governments existed in Greek poleis? How did the systems change over time? How did Athenian democracy work? 3. What are the most notable features of Greek warfare in this period? How did it change over time? 4. What does the beginning of the Histories tell us about Herodotus and his primary concerns? How is this work similar to Homer? Why does he lead off with stories of women being abducted? What kind of attitude towards women emerges from the work? 5. How does Herodotus conceive of the distinctions between ?Greeks? and ?barbarians?? How is the story of Croesus structured, and what does it tell us about early interactions between Greeks and non-Greeks in Asia Minor? Do you find his story hard to follow? What is the purpose of Herodotus? tangents? 6. What role do the gods have in Herodotus? account? What role does the oracle at Delphi play? Why do you think it has such pride of place? What do we learn about Herodotus? own beliefs about fate, justice, and divine retribution from the way he handles religious themes? What do we learn about the role of religious sanctuaries (such as that at Delphi) from the account? 7. How does the speech of Solon fit into the account of book 1? What do you think of Solon?s assertions about the reckoning of happiness? What kind of worldview lies underneath it? 8. Why does Herodotus decide to discuss Egypt? What do we learn about his conception of the Greeks from his description of the Egyptians?
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