Weekly Journal Entry Update Ten

Book 9 is the last book of the History of Herodotus!

Book 9 Notes

In the beginning of the book Herodotus talks about Alexander and his return. Upon his return he shared what he heard while with the Athenians.

This led to the start of a battle. Mardonius decided to leave Thessaly and take his army to get ready to go against Athens. While on his journey he did a pickup service of some sort…

He picked up all the people from the countries that he went to on his way.


  • How did he have space??
  • Am I missing something?
  • Were they all joining the army to go to battle?
  • Was this a genuinely nice and generous gesture or was this a strategic gesture?

Book 9 Notes

Rulers of Thessaly were prepared and ready to continue the march. They had no regrets and were beyond ready to battle.

The way that Mardonius got into Hellas was from Xerxes being able to have an uninterupted journey therefore they opened a whole passage for Mardonius.

Mardonius continues and runs into Thebans. Thebans tries to convince Mardonius that he doesn’t need to further his journey towards battle because there was no better country for Mardonius to stay at than Boetia.

Thebans were trying to be the peace makers. They said that “you will without trouble be master of all their battle plans...”

They suggested that Mardonius instead strategically send currency to the people in power in the cities he had concern about. In doing that, he would effortlessly divide them turning Hellas against itself.

He denied the offer again. What he wanted was to take Athens again, everything else was not much of his concern.


  • He was really focused on his goal at hand. It seems like all of the offers of other options that came across his way were not things he even second guessed. He knew he wanted to take Athens and had no other plans to do anything else. He had a message to send to the King of Sardis. This was an ego thing.


I want to go into analyzing some of their actions for the last journal entry.

There is a theme of proving yourself and making sure there is a successful ego stroke. Mardonius is approached with several other options, alternatives, even reasons as to why battling may not be the best option for him. Knowing the other options available, he also has his mind made up to begin with. Doing anything other than taking over Athens, and showing his ability was not on his mind at all.

In these stories it is often that I notice people are making their decisions, actions, etc. solely based off of the fact that they want to be able to say they did it. Where did this derive from? Is this simply because leaders are surrounded by other leaders who do the same? Or because they look back on the leaders who have succeeded and conquered before them and characteristics of selfishness, cockiness, impulsive behavior and more are all present?

These are the things I wonder when looking at this Book and the ones before it.

When I analyze the acts done by leaders it brings me to another idea and thought. Acts that I recognize as kind and generous may still just be acts to support their selfishness and ego driven goals.

For instance, Mardonius picking up people along the way…

My first reaction to this gesture was “wow! that’s nice. gathering people who may want to come along! giving them a ride!” but then I took a step back…

Was Mardonius taking people who willing wanted to tag along or was he collected people to build his army? Was he strategically sculpting a team that could seriously take on a battle and assist him in his endeavors?

I think while reading these stories its easy to forget that they are translations and also depictions of what happened. Herodotus is telling the story.

Imagine how many things got lost and misinterpreted along the way.

How I precieve a passage may be completely different than someone else. I often second guess their intentions when I have witnessed others take their actions for exactly what they are or very literally.

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