Father of Self-Promotion

In 440 B.C., a struggling young prose stylist named Herodotus wanted to publicize his newly composed account of the Persian Wars (it was the first work of written history an experimental literary project if there ever was one). Rather than embark on a multi-city book tour an expensive, time-consuming, and dangerous venture, dodging pirates and storms around the Aegean the budding writer came up with a brilliant PR stroke. Why not premiere his work at the hallowed Olympic Games, when the entire social register of Greeks were gathered in one spot?

Tony Perrottet writes about a time when literature could take center stage.

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