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Herodotus and the Philosophy of Empire

By Ann Ward

Herodotus and the Philosophy of Empire
Hardback, 260 pages $39.95
Published: 2nd July 2008
ISBN: 9781602580077
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Philosophy, All Political Science, Political Philosophy

In Herodotus and the Philosophy of Empire, Ann Ward treats the classical writer not as a historian but as a political philosopher. Ward uses close textual analysis to demonstrate that Herodotus investigates recurring themes in the most important forms of government in the ancient world. This analysis of The Histories concludes with reflections on the problems of empire, not only for the Persians and the striving Athenians, but for our own government as well. To this end, Ward contrasts Herodotus on empire with the assumptions underlying speeches and writings of Paul Wolfowitz, Colin L. Powell, Joseph S. Nye, Jr. and Robert W. Merry.


1. Introduction

2. Egypt and Scythia: The Pious and the Poetic Regimes

3. Persia and Regimes in Theory

4. Athens and Regimes in History

Conclusion: Herodotus and the Role of the Historian

Epilogue: 9/11 and the Politics of Empire




This is a lucid, learned and creative reading of Herodotus’ comparative analyses of Egyptian, Scythian, Persian, and Spartan regimes.  This book will inspire not only a return to Herodotus’ text, but also a reflection on contemporary American debates on ‘human imperialism’ and pragmatic security.

—Janet Coleman, Professor of Ancient & Political Thought, London School of Economics and Political Science

This original study makes the provocative case that Herodotus, to an even greater degree than Thucydides, illuminates the permanent grounds of democracy’s greatest spiritual strengths and most dangerous imperial temptations. Herodotus is shown to be not merely the proverbial father of history but, what is more, the fertile father of democratic theory, especially in its international dimensions.

—Thomas L. Pangle, Joe R. Long Chair in Democratic Studies, University of Texas

Ann Ward’s Herodotus and the Philosophy of Empire stands out as perhaps the most ambitious of recent works on Herodotus.

Elliot Bartky, in The Review of Politics Volume 71 Issue 4 (Fall 2009)

This rich and comprehensive analysis beautifully captures the political urgency of Herodotus’ insights.

—Norma Thompson, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Senior Lecturer in the Humanities, Yale University

Ann Ward (Ph.D. Fordham University) is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Classics-Political Studies, Campion College, University of Regina.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 260 pages
 9in x 6in

  HIS002010, PHI019000, POL010000
 Baylor University Press

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