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Homework for Thursday, October 8

October 7, 2015

Tonight will be your first chance in the course to read the historian, Herodotus. He is the great Ancient Greek historian, often referred to as the “Father of History” because he was among the first people to organize materials and present history in the “modern” sense. He wrote during the 5th Century B.C.E. and is best known for his work “The Histories”. Later in the semester we will read that account of the Persian Wars. For now he will introduce us to the great city of Babylon. While these are not strictly primary sources in that they are not first-hand accounts or original documents, Herodotus does give us as contemporary an account as is possible of how Babylon would have looked and what its customs were. He is writing in 440 B.C.E. Cyrus’ sacking of Babylon that Herodotus refers to occurred about 100 years earlier in 539 B.C.E.

For tonight please read “On Babylon” Part I pasted below. Do the following:

1. Take good notes which allow you at the end to answer the next few questions.
2. What do you think Babylon looked like visually? Create a drawing which depicts the Babylon that Herodotus describes. Include as much detail as possible, including street grids, gates, bodies of water, important buildings, and the surrounding geography. Your picture should include the work done by Nitocris
3. What was the purpose of Nitocris’ engineering feats? Why was she so keen to reroute the Euphrates and drain it?
4. What do you make of the Nitocris tomb story?

I have also pasted below a document which gives the measurement conversions so that you can get an idea of how big and heavy some of the items are that he describes.

Herodotus On Babylon Part I

Measurements for items in On Babylon

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