The Influence of Herodotus on the Practical Philosophy of Aristotle

Dimka Gicheva-Gocheva


The approach of this paper is a retrospective one. It is an attempt to show that many important ideas of Herodotus, a great ancestor of Aristotle, have influenced his practical philosophy. The paper focuses specially on several topics from the Histories of Herodotus, which have found a resonance in the Nicomachean ethics and in the Politics of Aristotle. The main ones in respect of the ethical theory are: the different forms of justice and the just as for example the super-human justice, the just in the family relations, the judicial just and the just in the polis or the larger human community. Book Epsilon of the Nicomachean Ethics is indebted to Herodotus in several points. In respect of Aristotles' political theory, there are two topics in the History of Herodotus which deserve a special interest: firstly, the conversation of the three noble Persians, who discuss the six basic types of political order and organization of power-and-submission in a state or city-state (in book ІІІ, 80-82); this becomes a paradigm for the next typologies of Plato (in the Republic and the Statesman) and Aristotle (in the Politics); secondly, the importance of personal freedom, the equity of the speaking (discussing?) men on the agora, and the supremacy of law for the well-being of any community and its peaceful future. The legacy of Herodotus is obvious in many anthropological and ethical concepts of Aristotle, especially in his most read and quoted ethical writing and in his Politics


Aristotle, Herodotus, justice, the just, anthropology, ethics, political theory, freedom, equity, law

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