Herodotus and Ethics

“There are no universal ethics. ”
This was what the Greek historian Herodotus argued more than two thousand years ago, illustrating his point with a story about the Persian king Darius. The king, wrote Herodotus, summoned several Greeks and asked them how much money it would take for them to eat the dead bodies of their fathers. Outraged, they proclaimed their refusal to perform such a gruesome act at any price, adding that cremation of the dead was a sacred obligation. 
Darius then called upon some Indians, who by custom ate their deceased parents, and asked them if they would consider burning the bodies of their fathers. Insulted, they replied that such an act would be a horrible crime. The lesson, concluded Herodotus, was simply that each nation regards its own customs as superior. (Herodotus, Histories 219 – 220)
Ishay, Micheline. History of Human Rights. 16

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