Themistokles as Herodotus Osysseus: The Trickster Hero in the History

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Margaret Cook


Herodotus, known as the "Father of History," was one of the first composers in the genre of history. As a composer of a new literary style, Herodotus had to look to other genres to find techniques and conventions of style to adopt for his undertaking. A major influence on all Greek literature was the epics of Homer. It was from the Iliad and the Odyssey that Herodotus drew character types to aid in the recounting of the great deeds done in his History. Odysseys was a Greek hero of the Trojan War that filled the role of the trickster. Herodotus presented Themistokles, the trickster-hero who turned the tide of the persian invasion in the History, in such a way as to remind his readers of Odysseus. This portrayal of Themistokles in an Odyssean manner helped to relate the character of themistokles in a role that Greek audiences would immediately recognize and understand.