The concept of "debt" in Herodotus

Postgraduate Thesis uoadl:2886275 346 Read counter

Κατεύθυνση Αρχαία Ελληνική Φιλολογία
Library of the School of Philosophy
Deposit date:
Chondrou Lamprini
Supervisors info:
Αμφιλόχιος Παπαθωμάς, Καθηγητής Κλασικής Φιλολογίας, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
Νικόλαος Γεωργαντζόγλου, Ομότιμος Καθηγητής Κλασικής Φιλολογίας, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
Βασίλειος Βερτουδάκης, Επίκουρος Καθηγητής Κλασικής Φιλολογίας, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
Original Title:
Η έννοια του «χρέους» στον Ηρόδοτο
Translated title:
The concept of "debt" in Herodotus
The present study deals with the concept of "debt" in Herodotus' work. This is a topic of great interest, as it has been argued that Herodotus' narrative is the result of reciprocal acts, both positive and negative. My goal was to identify and record categories of obligations that occur in all nine books of Histories and to approach from another perspective the way the historian dealt with the concept of "debt" in the rich material he provided us. In this attempt, I did not only identify passages in which there is a clear reference to words denoting the existence of an obligation, but I also recorded passages in which obligations are hidden within phrases or broader meanings. In these passages I have studied the author’s linguistic and stylistic choices with a view to demonstrating the creation, existence or return of a debt. From the data gathered, it appeared that Herodotus in his monumental text was not limited to refer only to the financial dimension of "debt", but he expanded the concept to more fields, perhaps for the first time in ancient Greek prose. In his extensive work Herodotus wanted, among other things, to show the reasons that made people in the East and in the West to create obligations in ancient times, the way in which both worlds perceived the obligations they had to fulfill, how they were trying to be consistent with their principles and the consequences caused by their inconsistency. Interestingly enough, the historian through these references highlighted many commonalities that united Greeks and barbarians, and at times made their cultural differentiation more distinct. Finally, through the examination of all the data gathered, it can be assumed that his reference to the concept of "debt" also includes Herodotus among the writers who were influenced by the presocratic view of the cosmic balance and the return of primordial elements to their first form, as this theoretical approach very often is applicable to his elaborate structural system, which is dominated by the central idea that human superiority, excessive happiness and wealth ultimately cause divine envy, which intervenes so as to restore the disordered balance.
Main subject category:
Language – Literature
debt, obligation, moral obligation, duty, repayment, reciprocity, gratitude, loan
Number of index pages:
Contains images:
Number of references:
Number of pages:

1 MB
File access is restricted until 2022-11-28.