Traveler Herodotus: geographical discoveries

The geographical discoveries of Herodotus were significant for the culture of antiquity. Cicero called the traveler "the father of history" for his famous work. The book has value for Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, since it describes the ancient peoples of these lands, as well as the nature of that time. What kind of discoveries are we talking about? What is known about the life and knowledge of a great traveler?

Banished from halicarnassus

About the life of Herodotus is known from two sources: the texts of the traveler and the Byzantine encyclopedia. Some of the information contradict each other.

geographical discoveries of Herodotus

The birth of Herodotus, the geographical discoveries of which will interest many people, occurred in the interval between the Persian Wars. It is believed that this is 484 BC. His birthplace was Halicarnassus, which was based on the Mediterranean coast. His family was quite influential. From a young age, Herodotus joined the party, which fought against the tyranny of Ligdamid.For this he was expelled from his native places. He lived on Samos, an island in the Aegean Sea. From there he went on a long journey.

In 446 BC, the traveler began to live in Athens, where he became close to Pericles. He died in 425 BC.

In Babylon

The ancient majestic capital of Assyria was one of the first geographical discoveries of Herodotus. It was from Babylon that he began his journey. The city was surrounded by a moat and strong bricked double walls. The streets were located strictly along the lines. The traveler was especially impressed with the architecture of the times of Neoctidy and Semiramis. Thanks to the rule of these wise women, rowing, irrigation canals and a bridge were built in the city.

In general, Herodotus respectfully describes the culture of the Ancient East, remembering its importance for the life of the ancient world. He opened to contemporaries and descendants a lot of information about the peoples who inhabited the territory of modern Tien Shan and Turkmenistan.

In India

While in Assyria, Herodotus heard a lot about the wonders of an unknown country called India. The geographical discoveries of Herodotus continued in this amazing country.According to him, the first news of India was received from King Darius. One day he sent his subjects there to study the way from the mouth of the Indus River to the Red Sea.

Herodotus what a geographical discovery

The area attracted a large variety of bright birds, huge animals, unusual vegetation. In those days, the Greeks did not know what rice is. It is believed that it was Herodot who presented his people with a new nourishing grass. In India, he learned about cotton, which replaced animal wool.

About the people who inhabited India, he said that they spoke different languages, were engaged in various industries. Some nations were nomads, others had permanent residence. What geographical discovery did Herodotus make in the Northern Black Sea region?


Herodotus was the first to give a detailed description of the life and traditions of the Scythians. Before his trip to this country, little was known about them. First of all, the traveler was struck by flat terrain, a large amount of fertile soil (black soil). Being a resident of warm lands, he was surprised at the rather long winter, which lasted about eight months.

The traveler described in detail the local rivers:

  • Istres is the modern name for the Danube;
  • Tiris - the modern name of the Dniester;
  • Borysfen - the modern name of the Dnieper.

The description of the Scythian peoples was proved by excavations that were carried out in modern times. Especially Herodot was interested in the customs of the nomadic tribes, their military tactics. They skillfully retreated during the attack in order to lure the enemy into the territory advantageous for themselves, and only then did they engage in open combat.


Geographical discoveries traveler Herodotus in Egypt struck his imagination more than in other countries. Moreover, his knowledge was of immense importance for his country of the time. Most of all he was impressed by the spill of the Nile. He tried to solve the riddle of what is happening. To do this, he visited the island of Elafantina, where there was a well to measure the water level in the Nile. It was connected to the river by a special device. The walls of the well were made of granite, there were well-fixed planks on which the water level in the river was measured. So the Egyptians could calculate the beginning of the spill.

what geographical discovery did Herodotus

The traveler made a description of the Egyptians, their way of life, interesting inventions.He was struck by the connection between humans and animals. In Greece, this was not. Herodotus was surprised that the Egyptians concluded contracts with cats, crocodiles and other animals.

After Egypt, the traveler visited Libya. He described all his travels. It was in Athens that most of his notes were made. He read excerpts of his future work to the Athenians. What is the creation of Herodotus?


The geographical discoveries of Herodotus (briefly described in the textbooks on geography) are described in the History. But this work cannot be called historical research. Rather, it is a masterful description of an inquisitive, gifted person who can communicate and observe what is happening.

traveler Herodotus geographical discovery

There are in his book elements of the encyclopedia (information):

  • geographic;
  • ethnographic;
  • natural historical;
  • literary.

The writing of Herodotus consists of nine books. Each has its own name, which is the name of one of the nine muses of Greek mythology.

What did the traveler not know?

It is already known what geographical discoveries made Herodotus. However, he was a representative of his time and could not own modern knowledge. So what did the great traveler not know?

Herodotus geographical discoveries briefly

He did not know the name "Africa".It is first mentioned in a literary work of the third century BC. This name did not refer to the mainland, but only to the possessions of Carthage. After the Romans destroyed it, they created the province of Africa. Later this name spread to the continent.

Herodotus did not recognize the belief of the Greeks that the earth is a circle, which is surrounded by the river Ocean. But he himself could not say exactly what is located outside the countries known to him. Nevertheless, his knowledge was very deep.

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