Herodotus’ reliability as a historian, whose narration of the Battle at Thermopylae has been investigated for centuries, might be validated by several proofs. Firstly, the time when the battle took place was the time when the historian lived, which implies that Herodotus was a witness of the described events and could convey them on the basis of first-hand experience. Secondly, Herodotus is often referred to as the father of history due to the large volumes of works devoted to the history of ancient Greeks written by the author. Indeed, he repeatedly states factual information and describes ancient cities, geographical locations, and historical figures with significant accuracy checked by other historians, which validates his expertise (Herodotus, The Histories, p. 437-438). Finally, Herodotus might be considered a reliable source of information about the Battle at Thermopylae because there exist proofs of his continuous travels to countries and cities that were essential for writing history.
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When comparing Herodotus’ historical narration of the Battle of Thermopylae and Frank Miller’s novel, several inconsistencies in the description of the events might be noticed. For example, the ancient author opens his description of the events of the battle by stating that the land where the battle took place was “the coast of a bay in which there is a daily rise and fall of tide” (Herodotus, The Histories, p. 437). In Miller’s novel, the location where the events took place was described as a canyon. Another example of the differences between the historian’s representation of the events and those described in the graphic novel is the portrayal of the army at the center of the battle. Herodotus states that Spartans were not the only warriors who fought against Persians. Indeed, the historian states that there were “300 hoplites from Sparta, 500 from Tegea, 500 from Mantinea, 120 from Orchomenus in Arcadia, 1000 from the rest of Arcadia” (Herodotus, The Histories, p. 438). However, in the novel, the writer romanticizes the 300 Spartans concentrating merely on their contribution to the battle.
Herodotus. “Book 7 Battle of Thermoplyae.” The Histories, pp. 437-446.