Early in Book 1 of Herodotus' Histories, Solon speaks to Croesus about the jealousy of the gods and the ephemeral nature of human happiness (1.29-33). Since Solon's speech is so prominently placed, and since it introduces themes that recur throughout the Histories, it has traditionally been seen as programmatic, i.e., as expressing Herodotus' own views about the gods and human happiness. Although the assumption that Solon speaks for Herodotus has long been the standard view, it has recently been challenged on the grounds that Herodotus himself never directly affirms his agreement with what Solon says. On the other hand, many scholars have noted that Herodotus does not always state his views directly: he often uses literary devices such as analogy, juxtaposition, and the repetition of narrative patterns to indicate his views. After isolating the three main principles of Solon's speech (the jealousy of the gods, the instability of human fortune, and the consequent need to see how a man has ended his life before judging his happiness), this paper examines the direct and indirect evidence for Herodotus' acceptance of these principles. After examining the evidence in Books 1-9 of the Histories, the paper concludes that Herodotus does indeed agree with the views of his character Solon, and that he makes his agreement clear both explicitly and implicitly, through analogy, repetition, and juxtaposition. Moreover, the position of Solon's speech indicates that Herodotus meant it to be programmatic, setting forth basic assumptions about the nature of human life and its relation to the gods which could then provide a philosophical framework for the Histories as a whole.
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