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Herodotus (c. 485-430 B.C.) is the author of the first comprehensive history of Egypt. He is nicknamed the "Father of History" for his writings on various nations.

Around 450 B.C., he travelled for several months up the Nile to the first cataract, recording his impressions in a highly anecdotal and entertaining manner. Since he did not read hieroglyphs or speak the Egyptian language, he relied heavily on native interpreters and the temple underlings whom he mistook for priests. His travel journal on Egypt was written in Greek and published in Athens in 446 B.C.

Although there are many inaccuracies in Herodotus's work, his eyewitness accounts give valuable glimpses into life in Egypt at the end of the pharaonic period. His writings tell how "sacred, how unspeakable" was the name of Osiris, the great god of Egypt. The festivals that were held to honour gods and other local customs are also described in great detail. For example, he gives a full account of the mummification process, the only description that has survived from the period.

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