I hope the month of May is a welcome approach to summer for you. I also hope that you are enjoying the readings in Herodotus in Books 4 & 5. In preparation for our discussion on Monday June 2, please use these discussion questions to help you gather your thoughts together.
I really like the information on the Scythians in Book 4. They were a very formidable foe even 500 years later for the Romans to deal with. Their neighbors the Parthians defeated the Roman general Crassus at Carrhae in 53 BC with expert horsemanship and archery. They were always considered “barbaric” because they wore trousers!!
I like Book 5 too because we get to hear about the Greeks and especially the Ionians. The friction between Persia and the Ionians starts to heat up and will only get hotter as we read through Books 6-9 in the coming months.
I hope our readings thus far have spurred your curiosity about what is still to come. Paul Cartledge will take our questions on Wednesday June 4 regarding Greek history and culture. It should be exciting.
Looking forward to next week,
Herodotus Discussion Questions – Books IV & V
1. As invaders, the Persians are considered a formidable foe. In Book IV, how does Darius carry out the declaration of war against the Scythians? What is Darius really after? How do the Scythians and their neighbors prepare for the Persian invasion? What might Herodotus be foreshadowing with respect to the eventual Persian invasion of Greece?
2. Given that Ionians were willingly helping Darius in his invasion of Scythia in Book IV, what are the conditions that lead to their revolt in Book V?
3. What does Herodotus reveal about the state of Greek city-state politics in Book V, especially between Sparta and Athens? How might this foreshadow political relations in the larger Persian-Greek clashes of Books VII, VIII & IX?
4. What are your favorite stories, anecdotes or digressions from Books IV & V?