Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Classical Studies


The present work is a study of how the identifiable units of the Histories are joined to one another at their beginnings and ends. Such an analysis may be expected to contribute to our understanding of Herodotus general principles of organization and selection. The Histories are composed of numerous parts of various length that are partially autonomous. A conceptual unity of the whole is indeed assumed at the outset and will be incidentally confirmed in the course of the analysis. But it is the breadth and the diversity of the Histories that strike this reader as a compositional feat. It is my purpose to identify the technical means by which Herodotus has achieved it and to get closer, in consequence, to the basic criteria that determine his composition.

Since a study of all the major transitions throughout the Histories would be too lengthy for the scope of a dissertation, I will concentrate almost exclusively on the first book, in the belief that it serves as the most suitable sample of the entire work. For the complexity and diversity of its articulations, Book I as a whole may be regarded as unique, but at the same time it is also representative in that it provides a broad basis for a catalogue of transitions: Since the material contained here is more varied than that in other parts of the Histories of comparable length, there are also more types of transitions to be examined. Even though, in the first book, ''subordinate construction'' predominates while ''parallel narrative'', as we shall see, is more frequent later in the Histories, all the most important phenomena of Herodotus' method of composition are present here. For this reason only, occasionally will it be necessary to step outside the pre-fixed limits of the investigation, in order to make this study of transitional devices truly represent­ative for the entire work. Book 1 may be regarded in fact as the ultimate example of Herodotus' skill in the unification of widely different parts into a cohesive entity.

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