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The battle of Thermopylae was first chronicled by Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria (modern day Bodrum, Turkey) and lived in the fifth century BC (c. 484 – 425 BC). He was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a well-constructed and vivid narrative. Herodotus was called both the "father of history" and the "father of lies" by his contemporaries for his history of the Persian World. “The Histories, his masterpiece and the only work he is known to have produced, is a record of his "inquiry", being an investigation of the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars including a wealth of geographical and ethnographical information. Although some of his stories were fanciful, he claimed he was reporting only what had been told to him. Herodotus is the first writer to make a conscious attempt to discover and explain past events.
The second Greek historian, Thucydides, adds a new dimension, that of contemporary history. Although the complete work of Herodotus is not yet published, Thucydides is certain to know the work of the older historian - who has made his living by reciting the highlights of his narrative. Herodotus has told the story of the last great war between Greeks and Persians. In 431 BC Thucydides recognizes the onset of the next major conflict, between Greeks. He resolves to record the Peloponnesian War as it happens.
Another Greek historian who continued the work of Thucydides' history was Xenophon. The fact that a contemporary continues the work so precisely from this date proves that Thucydides did indeed finish his work there, rather than the remainder being lost. But Xenophon, though a vivid writer, proves a very inadequate historian at a serious level. A supporter of Sparta, he lacks any sense of objectivity which he considered as irrelevant. He describes only what he sees and hears. The result is vivid eyewitness history, akin almost to journalism.