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The Ethnography of the Fringes

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Chapter Summary

The methods and the types of source criticism used by Herodotus in ethnographical matters were the same as in history- after all, ethnography was for him only a sub-genre of history. He made his own observations, collected local information, checked existing literary sources and analysed all these in the light of his own rational thinking. However, in the case of the fringes he rarely had a choice of source. There are two approaches to the study of classical ethnography and both have their uses and strong points. The author's contribution to the ethnography of the fringes is to have noted the theme of the expedition to the end of the world. Herodotus was not only the father of history, but also the father of ethnography. While his predecessors remained shadowy figures rarely quoted or even mentioned, Herodotus' own work became the model for future generations describing distant lands.

Keywords: ethnography; fringes; Herodotus; literary sources



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