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The answer was that all the other men were participating in the Olympic Games, and when Xerxes asked what the prize was for the winner, the answer was “an olive branch.” Hearing this, a Persian general named Tigranes exclaimed, “By the gods! Mardonius, what kind of people are these you have brought us to fight against? They do not compete for riches but for honor! ”120
The main primary source regarding the Medical Wars is the Greek historian Herodotus. This author, who has been described as “The Father of History,” 121 was born in 484 BC. In Halicarnassus, in Asia Minor (an area governed by the Persian Empire). He wrote his work Histories between 440 and 430 BC. Trying to find the origins of the Medical Wars, which were still a relatively recent event in history at that time (the wars finally ended in 449 BC). 122 Herodotus’s approach was a complete novelty, at least in Western society, and for this reason it is considered that he invented History as we know it today.122 The historian Holland states on the subject that: “For the first time, a chronicler set out to find the origins of a conflict not in a past so remote as to be fabulous, nor in the whims or wishes of some god, nor in an affirmation of the people manifesting their destiny, but through explanations that he could personally verify ».122
Many of later ancient historians, despite following in his footsteps, looked down on Herodotus and considered themselves followers of Thucydides.123 However, Thucydides preferred to begin his story from the point where Herodotus ended (at the site of Sestos), so he must have considered that it had done a reasonably good job summarizing the previous story. Plutarch, for his part, criticized Herodotus in his essay On the Malignancy of Herodotus, describing him as “Philobarbaros” (lover of barbarians) for not being sufficiently pro-Greek. This suggests that Herodotus may have done a good job in terms of neutrality.124 A negative view of Herodotus ended up arriving in Europe during the Renaissance, although his work continued to be read regularly.125 Nevertheless, from In the 19th century, his reputation was drastically rehabilitated by archaeological discoveries that repeatedly confirmed his version of events.126 The prevailing view of Herodotus today is that, in general, he did a good job on his History, although some details Specifics (especially soldier numbers and dates) should be viewed with skepticism.