Scripting the Persians : Herodotus' use of the Persian 'trivium' (truth telling, archery, and horsemanship) in the Histories
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This paper examines the relationship between Herodotus’ ethnographic account of the Persians and his narrative of their actions in the Histories. The first chapter analyzes the placement of this ethnography within the historian’s description of the fall of Croesus and the rise of Cyrus and then examines the language that Herodotus uses to describe the Persian customs. The second chapter focuses more narrowly on the elements of the Persian trivium (truth telling, archery, and horsemanship) and analyzes the way in which the historian incorporates these themes into his narrative. Finally, the third chapter of the report examines how Herodotus integrates all three elements of the trivium into an extended logos, that of the revolt of the Persian nobles against the usurper Magi and the subsequent ascension of Darius. This analysis thereby demonstrates that the multifaceted relationship between the historian’s Persian ethnography and his narrative connects the Persians’ successes with their adherence to their customs.