Charles W. Fornara's Herodotus: An Interpretative Essay (Oxford, 1971) was a landmark publication in the study of the great Greek historian. Well-known in particular for its main thesis that the Histories should be read against the background of the Atheno-Peloponnesian Wars during which it was written, its insight and penetrating discussion extend to a range of other issues, from the relative unity of Herodotus' work and the relationship between
his ethnographies and historical narrative, to the themes and motifs that criss-cross the Histories - how 'history became moral and Herodotus didactic'.
Interpreting Herodotus brings together a team of leading Herodotean scholars to look afresh at the themes of Fornara's seminal Essay in the light of the explosion of scholarship on the Histories in the intervening years, focusing particularly on how we can interpret Herodotus' work in terms of the context in which he wrote. What does it mean to talk of the unity of the Histories, or Herodotus' 'moral' purpose? How can we reconstruct the context in which the
Histories were written and published? And in what sense might the Histories constitute a 'warning' for his own, or for subsequent, generations? In developing and interrogating Fornara's influential ideas for a new generation of scholars, the volume also offers a wealth of insights and new perspectives on the 'Father of History' that
attests to the vibrancy and diversity of contemporary engagement with Herodotus.
Thomas Harrison is Professor of Ancient History at the University of St Andrews, where his research interests include Herodotus, the Achaemenid Persian empire, the Greek relationship with the non-Greek world, and the reception of these themes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholarship. His publications include Divinity and History: The Religion of Herodotus (Oxford, 2000), The Emptiness of Asia: Aeschylus' Persians and the History of the Fifth Century (London, 2000), and Writing Ancient Persia (London, 2011), as well as the edited volumes Polybius and his World: Essays in Memory of F. W. Walbank (Oxford, 2013; with Bruce Gibson) and Herodotus in the Long Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, forthcoming; with Joseph Skinner). He is currently working on a study of the role of belief in Greek religion. Elizabeth Irwin is Associate Professor of Classics at Columbia University. She is the author of Solon and Early Greek Poetry: The Politics of Exhortation (Cambridge, 2005) and the co-editor of two volumes on Herodotus: Reading Herodotus: A Study of the Logoi in Book 5 of Herodotus' Histories (Cambridge, 2007; with Emily Greenwood) and Herodots Wege des Erzahlens (Frankfurt am Main, 2013; with Klaus Geus and Thomas Poiss); she has also written numerous articles on Herodotus and Thucydides and is currently finishing a book on the relationship of Herodotus' Histories to the Atheno-Peloponnesian War and to Thucydides' account of it. Her current research is centred on medical discourse and ethical debates of the later fifth century, political and historical readings of Greek lyric and Athenian drama, Prodicus, Plato, and the reception of Athenian arche in Greek imperial literature.