Herodotus Discussion Questions for Books 8 & 9

Hi fellow readers,
Here are the discussion questions for the final two books of Herodotus.  Enjoy the read and blog your thoughts or email the group with your questions.

1.  In Book 8.40-65, Herodotus narrates the momentous conference of Greek leaders as they debate whether to fight the Persians at sea near Salamis, or to defend the Peloponnese by at the Isthmus of Corinth, a natural defense.  Has Herodotus embellished the decision to fight at Salamis in view of the victory?  Was it the best decision even if the Greeks had lost?  Was it really the only option for the Greeks at this point?

2.  Given Xerxes’ stubbornness and dedication to invading Greece, what are some of the factors that lead to his personal withdrawal from the war after the battle of Salamis (book 8)?  What other options should he have considered?

3.  In one of the most astounding reversals in military history, the Battle of Plataea (book 9) resulted in a resounding Greek victory.  What is the interplay between Athens and Sparta in the events leading up to this battle?  How had the battle affected relations afterwards between Athens and Sparta?  What can Herodotus tell us about the Greek city-states in general at this time before his Histories abruptly end?
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