Did Herodotus Actually Visit The Places He Wrote About?

I have been struggling with Herodotus’ “Histories”-the translation I’m reading is very good, but I get the impression that Herodotus made a lot of stuff up. For example, in Book 2 (Egypt), he claims that there are 320 generations between the first king of Egypt, and his present day (ca. 450 BC)…that would be over 12,000 BC.
In another instance, he claims that the Frankincense trees of Arabia are guarded by thousands of winged snakes-that attack and kill anyone who tries to take the resin.
As for Northern Europe, he is aware that tin came from the “Cassiterides” (British Isles), but he seems to have no idea where they are.
So was Herodotus the “Father of History”…or the Father of Lies?

He certainly did travel to some of these places, like Egypt and I think parts of the Persian Empire including Susa. Note in his writings many times he repeats what he was told; and he on occasion casts doubt about its veracity

There is a lot of of clear bias in his history, his Persian Wars is more aptly called “selected events from the late conflict with the Persians, excluding anything that did not go right and with numbers pulled out of thin air”. On the other hand, unlike other writers he does not hesitate to give praise where its due to the Persians, something which infuriated his contempories.

As it is, he, like all ancient writers, comes with a health warning.

WARNING: The Surgeon General has determined that Herodotus is dead.

Herodotus didn’t “make stuff up,” but unlike say, Thucydides (another “father of history”), Herodotus wasn’t trying to set out documented, verifiable facts in chronological order. Herodotus loved a good story, and would publish interesting historical anecdotes for entertainment value, whether or not he thought the stories were true.

Herodotus himself says he’s relying on travelers accounts for a lot of his stuff, so there’s no real question that he didn’t travel to all the places he describes. He did travel to Egypt, through Ionia and parts of Persia.

Exactly. He states that he has been told such-and-such, or accounts say, or repeats tales of places, etc.

Although every time he comes up I still remember and laugh at “Herodotus didn’t believe the Phonecians had sailed around Africa and neither do I!” that I read someone modern proclaiming once upon a time. The funny part being that Herodotus didn’t believe it because they said the sun was to their north as they rounded the southern part of Africa.

Herodotus wanted to record what people said, no matter how accurate/inaccurate their stories were.

Plutarch’s ‘On the malignity of Herodotus’ does him a disservice and paints him as the ‘father of lies’ rather than the father of history. But Herodotus explicitly states that he will report the stories people told him, even if he does not think they are true. In that sense maybe he is more like the distant progenitor of the modern oral history movement.

Is he still dead?