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1. An Account of Egypt
$6.47
2. The Histories, Revised (Penguin
$16.38
3. The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories
$25.00
4. The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories
$6.45
5. The Histories (Oxford World's
6. The History of Herodotus (The
$5.99
7. Travels with Herodotus (Vintage
$8.00
8. The Way of Herodotus: Travels
$9.78
9. Herodotus and the Road to History
$8.15
10. The History: Herodotus (Great
11. A Commentary on Herodotus
$16.27
12. The Histories (Everyman's Library)
$9.64
13. The Histories (Norton Critical
$69.95
14. Herodotus: The Histories (Penguin
$19.20
15. The Persian Wars, Volume II: Books
$10.00
16. Herodotus and Sima Qian: The First
$3.49
17. The Histories (Barnes & Noble
$7.25
18. The Histories (Oxford World's
$20.00
19. The Histories (Oxford World's
$26.56
20. The Cambridge Companion to Herodotus

1. An Account of Egypt
by Herodotus
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-10-04)
list price: US$1.99
Asin: B002RKRW6G
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Product Description
This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more


2. The Histories, Revised (Penguin Classics)
by Herodotus
Paperback: 771 Pages (2003-04-29)
list price: US$11.00 -- used & new: US$6.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140449086
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Translated by Aubrey de S&eacutelincourt with an introduction and Notes by John M. Marincola. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (41)

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Readable
My two students, thirteen and twelve, are reading through this translation.I am too.It is a very readable, understandable translation.

Sélincourt's translation is very clear, "Herodotus of Halicarnassus here displays his inquiry, so that human achievements may not become forgotten in time, and great and marvellous deeds- some displayed by Greeks, some be barbarians- may not be without their glory; especially to show why the two peoples fought with each other."

Herodotus gives us a fascinating look at the time around 650 B.C. -479 B.C.The details are extensive and mind boggling so thankfully at the back of this edition is a structural outline to help the reader follow the thread of Herodotus' narrative.He begins with the quarrel between the Greeks and barbarians.He tells of his opinion concerning Helen of Troy.Was she a willing captive?Was she really present during the Trojan Was in Troy?

Having already read Iliad and the Odyssey, Herodotus' explanation of 'xenia' and the great sin Paris committed in making off with the wife of his host as so absolutely heinous in that culture rang true.

The heartless barbarism of most of the kings is sickeningly fascinating.

I would recommend Elizabeth Vandiver's lectures from the teaching company on Herodotus and also the text book Omnibus I by Douglas Wilson and G. Tyler Fischer as great sources for teaching this great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Herodotus "The Histories" discovered
After many friends told me it was interesting, I purchased this. It is not just interesting - it is addictive! I had no idea it was actually readable, but it stole two evenings before I got strong.
The book is (roughly) a history of Ancient Greece to his time.
Well worth buying!

5-0 out of 5 stars Tai's QuickViews: Five Stars
Notes the customs of birth and death outline in: Book V, Terpsicore-89

...when a child is born all its kindred sit round about it in a circle and weep for the woe it will have to will have to undergo now that it's come into the world, making mention of every ill that falls to the lot of humankind. When, on the other hand, a man has died, they bury him with laughter and rejoicing and say that now he is free from a host of sufferings and enjoys the completed happiness.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Strand of Western Civilization's DNA
This epic begins with the tale of a royal orphan, Cyrus, who built the Persian Empire, and ends with Cyrus's grandson Xerxes' invasion of Greece, which would bring together the warring Greek nations in a climactic struggle for liberty and civilization.This book has one long digression after another, but is held together by the tragicomedy found throughout.

There is the poignant tale of the Lydian king Croesus who in his pride and in his lust for the destruction of a great empire, as prophesized by the Oracle at Delphi (which performs in the trickster role in this epic), sought war with Cyrus and the Persians.The war would indeed destroy a great empire (Croesus's own), and from its ashes would rise a greater empire (Persia).His pride finally subjugated, Croesus would become advisor to Cyrus.

And then towards the end of the book, during Xerxes' invasion of Greece, there is the Athenian naval commander Themistocles who even after the burning of Athens and the possible subjugation of all of Europe decided he still had time to extort from his island allies.It was his crass greed and his shameless duplicity that would save the day twice for the Greeks.First, he was bribed to risk the entire Greek navy against the far superior Persian alliance.When the other Greek commanders rightfully and justly refused to engage in the madness, Themistocles bribed them as well.Ironically, the small Greek navy performed valiantly in the struggle, and turned the tide of war against the invaders.Then much later, when his Spartan navy allies considered abandoning the fleet in order to defend their homeland against a Persian march, Themistocles committed treason by providing the Persian fleet with vital military intelligence.The Greek fleet was encircled, and forced to fight (which was Themistocles's plan all along).The Greeks won the navy engagement, and forced Xerxes to retreat in disgrace.When the Greeks decided not to pursue, Themistocles shamelessly sent an envoy to Xerxes to tell him it was he and him alone that managed to persuade the Greeks not to pursue.

The failure of the Persian invaders of 1.5 million strong to crush the Greeks, Herodotus speculates, is because the Gods do not like pride and lust in men:when men like Croesus and Xerxes think themselves Gods then they must be taught their mortality.Herodotus also offers other explanations for the bloody and brutal defeat of the Persians:disunity in the ranks, disorganization, and bad judgement.The Persians were a smattering of many conquered nations who fought for fear of Xerxes and love of gold, while the Greeks fought for their freedom and homeland.Herodotus also points out that in critical land and sea battles, where space was limited, the superior numbers of the Persians were actually their mortal weakness.

The introduction tells us that "The Histories" in Greek mean "Inquires" or "Investigations," and Herodotus appears to investigate the causes and facts of the Persian invasion of Greece.No modern reader will actually see the book as a historical narrative, and see it for it is:myth-making at its best, to unite all Greek tribes into a national consciousness (which is another definition of history, after all).There is blatant misrepresentation and exaggeration, racism and xenophobia in the book, and these strands would be brought to be their extremity in works such as Frank Miller's graphic novel "300" and the film adaptation.In Herodotus's rendering, the dichotomy between Greece and Persia is not just between liberty and tyranny, but also between martial manliness and effeminate luxury, between sharp justice and arbitrary barbarism.The Greeks are, after all, just a stronger and smarter, more moral and just race.

What is truly stunning reading this classic is to see how much of the stories in it has become entrenched in Western civilization.The plot and structure of the book can even be found in the popular Blizzard video games "Starcraft" and "Warcraft III."Both video games trace the origins of a mighty evil empire, which forces warring tribes to settle their differences to unite against the great evil.

"The Histories" is comparable to the Chinese literary clasic "Romance of the Three Kingdoms," which also traces the rise and fall of warring empires.There are important differences though."Romance of the Three Kingdoms" is about cunning and diplomacy, management and grand strategy, whereas "The Histories" is about trickery and luck, prophecy and fate.If you like "The Histories" then definitely read "Romance of the Three Kingdoms."



5-0 out of 5 stars The Quintesential Book ofAncient History
I was recently doing research on the Pharoahs ofEgypt and I kept finding references to Herodotus'Fifth Century BC book THE HISTORIES. I felt it important to read this biography, as he is considered "The Father Of History." During the golden age of Greece he was there to travel throughout the Mediterranean world, visiting Egypt, Africa, Persia,the Black Sea and the city states of Greece. Both amusing and sometimes credulous he records myth and fact as he uncovered it.For any student, young or old with an interest in where it all began, I recommend this book. ... Read more


3. The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories
by Robert B. Strassler
Paperback: 1024 Pages (2009-06-02)
list price: US$27.00 -- used & new: US$16.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400031141
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
From the editor of the widely praised The Landmark Thucydides, a new Landmark Edition of The Histories by Herodotus.

Cicero called Herodotus "the father of history," and his only work, The Histories, is considered the first true piece of historical writing in Western literature. With lucid prose, Herodotus's account of the rise of the Persian Empire and its dramatic war with the Greek city sates set a standard for narrative nonfiction that continues to this day. Illustrated, annotated, and filled with maps—with an introduction by Rosalind Thomas, twenty-one appendices written by scholars at the top of their fields, and a new translation by Andrea L. Purvis—The Landmark Herodotus is a stunning edition of the greatest classical work of history ever written. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best Herodotus available
After reading 40 pages of this magnificent book, I was absolutely engrossed.I've always been fascinated by ancient Greece, the Persian empire, and the Greco-Persian wars, and decided to give this version a try.The translation is very readable, and the numerous maps, footnotes, and illustrations are extremely helpful for the modern everyday reader who may not be familiar with that ancient world.It's refreshing to be able to look at maps and pictures of ancient artifacts while reading about them.This version of Herodotus is a great one to get lost in, whether you are reading The Histories for the first time or if you are a seasoned expert.And as usual, excellent price and service from Amazon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing...
20 pages in, and already I'm astounded. I've read some Herodotus in the past, but it was nothing like the Landmark edition.

I've spent time in the ruins of Achaia and Western Turkey, and it's amazing to read Herodotus and just let the visual memories run wild. Early on he deals with Gyges, king of Sardis [he is probably the referent of "Gog of the land of Magog" in Ezekiel]...and I remembered stumbling across a Greek inscription that concerned him while in ancient Sardis. What a rich world...!

The only petty complaint I might offer is that there are 'way too many footnotes...I've learned just to shut them out, since they usually are there to direct the reader to one map or another. Hint: If Herodotus is talking about a locale, trust the editors, the map is probably on the very next page.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent read and very interesting !
Any one who is a serious student or who wants to be educated in the classics of history/humanities should absolutely read this great classic "The Histories" ......its very interesting and a classic read!I recommend this highly !

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
It's easy to read, well presented, and even fun. Herodotus would like it I think. So should you.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Edition of the Histories
I'm nuts about this edition and translation of Herodotus' Histories, with a couple caveats.

***What I most liked about it:

The maps are unimaginably helpful: the first time I read the Histories I used a different edition, and kept getting lost in some of the geography (especially in the Northern regions, like Thrace). The maps, almost always with multiple insets, allowed me a more nuanced understanding of military movements, among other things.This is a great boon.

The translation, of course, is great.I have read much of the Histories in Greek, and when I've had trouble with a construction, I've sometimes look to see how Andrea Purvis handled it.It's a really smooth english translation, which doesn't compromise too many of the charming qualities of the Greek.When there's an awkward Greek construction, Purvis' english translation is smooth and pretty, while still conveying what Herodotus said.

The extensive index is a great tool which I use frequently.


***The (very slight) caveats:

Around Book 8, there are quite a few typographical errors.Nothing impacts the reading too much, of course, but I like to see a book polished and type-edited well!What *does* impact the reading however, are several printing errors.On too many occasions, the footnotes in Book 8 are cut off.Yikes!

I personally didn't find the appendices helpful.They might be written more as introductions for the novice-classicist, and I can appreciate this.Maybe this isn't even a caveat?


***In Summary:

Although there are some minor imperfections in this edition of the Histories, which show some sloppy type-editing at worst, this is the edition I would most recommend to others, and which I prefer to use above other (also very good) translations. ... Read more


4. The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories
by Herodotus
Hardcover: 1024 Pages (2007-11-06)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375421092
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
From the editor of the widely praised The Landmark Thucydides, a new Landmark Edition of The Histories by Herodotus, the greatest classical work of history ever written.

Herodotus was a Greek historian living in Ionia during the fifth century BCE. He traveled extensively through the lands of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and collected stories, and then recounted his experiences with the varied people and cultures he encountered. Cicero called him “the father of history,” and his only work, The Histories, is considered the first true piece of historical writing in Western literature. With lucid prose that harks back to the time of oral tradition, Herodotus set a standard for narrative nonfiction that continues to this day.

In The Histories, Herodotus chronicles the rise of the Persian Empire and its dramatic war with the Greek city-states. Within that story he includes rich veins of anthropology, ethnography, geology, and geography, pioneering these fields of study, and explores such universal themes as the nature of freedom, the role of religion, the human costs of war, and the dangers of absolute power.

Ten years in the making, The Landmark Herodotus gives us a new, dazzling translation by Andrea L. Purvis that makes this remarkable work of literature more accessible than ever before. Illustrated, annotated, and filled with maps, this edition also includes an introduction by Rosalind Thomas and twenty-one appendices written by scholars at the top of their fields, covering such topics as Athenian government, Egypt, Scythia, Persian arms and tactics, the Spartan state, oracles, religion, tyranny, and women.

Like The Landmark Thucydides before it, The Landmark Herodotus is destined to be the most readable and comprehensively useful edition of The Histories available. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars The edition to beat for many years to come
This is a superb edition of the classic by the "Father of History", even (or maybe especially) for the non-specialist.I read the Kindle edition simultaneously with the print version (950+ pages), the first for ease of use, the second for the hundreds of maps, which don't show up well in e-ink.

This edition, one of the Landmark translations of classical literature edited by Robert B. Strassler, begins with 50 pages of introductions and prefaces, a dated outline of the text, and then the 9 books, each heavily footnoted, sourced and laced with maps.The maps alone make the edition worth its hefty price tag, but following the text there are 23 appendices (each footnoted and sourced), a glossary and bibliography, a 100-page annotated index, and a directory to place names mentioned in the text.

Appendices include:
The Athenian Government in Herodotus
The Spartan State in War and Peace
The Account of Egypt: Herodotus Right and Wrong
Herodotean Geography
Herodotus and the Black Sea Region
Rivers and Peoples of Scythia
The Continuity of Steppe Culture
The Ionian Revolt
Classical Greek Religious Festivals
Ancient Greek Units of Currency, Weight, and Distance
Dialect and Ethnic Groups in Herodotus
Aristocratic Families in Herodotus
Herodotus on Persia and the Persian Empire
Hoplite Warfare in Herodotus
The Persian Army in Herodotus
Oracles, Religion, and Politics in Herodotus
Herodotus and the Poets
The Size of Xerxes' Expeditionary Force
Trireme Warfare in Herodotus
Tyranny in Herodotus
On Women and Marriage in Herodotus

This will be "the" translation to read for many years to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars Packed Full of Helps
Herodotus is well known as the "father of history". As the first writer to use the Greek "historie," meaning an inquiry, when speaking of examining the events of the past, his seminal work The Histories has never seen such a comprehensive, modern treatment as it has received in The Landmark Herodotus.

Long a favorite of budding historians wanting to dig into primary source documents of the Greek and Persian war rather than the regurgitations found in history textbooks, Herodotus has at the same time remained somewhat intimidating and inaccessible to those without a scholarly background in the classics. If there's a copy of The Histories sitting on your shelf that you've always meant to read, or wanted to assign to your students, but have given up due to confusion, pick up a copy ofThe Landmark Herodotus.

Andrea L. Purvis' new translation is accessible, easy to understand, and well footnoted and documented when variations and translation choices must be explained. A total of 127 historical maps set Herodotus' inquiries into history, culture, geography, and the natural world, firmly into space.

The extensive footnotes, side note summaries, page headings, and wealth of appendixes help modern readers - lay readers in particular - delve into Herodotus' work with the many helps that keep us immersed in cultural context and background details as needed. This is truly the Herodotus for beginners.

The index is a work of beauty - nearly 100 pages in total. If you ever find yourself thinking, "I know I've read this excerpt from Herodotus somewhere," and would like to read it in context, you'll be ecstatic!

Reprinted in 2009 as a paperback, this 1024-page volume, thickly padded with detail, is better suited as a hardcover. The 2007 original volume will hold up better to the massive weight of this tome.

Whether for your own background reading, or for the use of your high school student, this masterful volume is hands-down the best modern version of The Histories to see how available today. It's truly difficult to see how Strassler could have improved this edition. There is more than enough fascinating detail included to lose yourself in the history of ancient Greece, Persia, and the surrounding nations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worthy!
The new landmark series definitely makes things a lot easier for those who want to enter into classics but feel that the regular books can be quite loaded with notes but vague on the various geographic issues. This is filled with maps on every page and notes here and there to help guide the reader along without needing to flip back and forth between the front and back to see them. Not to mention that it is filled with a wide ranging number of articles that deal with almost every aspect of herodotus' histories.

5-0 out of 5 stars The maps make it
To me it is all about the maps. Reading other editions of Herodotus I would get lost all the time, but the maps in this edition are superb additions to the text and help keep me on track better. The prose is also pretty good with lots of good notes clarifying points of translation that have been contested or may be different from preceding translations. Very enjoyable.

2-0 out of 5 stars the landmark herodotus
the book was not "new", as advertised. It was stamped used, as is usual in student book stores. It was not new. ... Read more


5. The Histories (Oxford World's Classics)
by Herodotus
Paperback: 840 Pages (2008-05-15)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$6.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0199535663
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"The father of history," as Cicero called him, and awriter possessed of remarkable narrative gifts, enormousscope, and considerable charm, Herodotus has always beenbeloved by readers well-versed in the classics.Compelled by his desire to "prevent the traces of humanevents from being erased by time," Herotodus recountsthe incidents preceding and following the Persian Wars.He gives us much more than military history, though,providing the fullest portrait of the classical world of the 5th and 6th centuries.

Translated by Robin Waterfield, a distinguished translator whose version of Plato's Republic has been described as `the best available', this readable new translation is supplemented with expansive notes to help the readerappreciate the book in depth. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Treasure House of History
When students read Herodotus for the first time, they sometimes object that they are not reading real history, only entertaining stories: e.g., the tale of Gyges, a mere bodyguard who, after being forced by King Candaules to peek at his beautiful wife as she is undressing, murders the king, marries his wife and becomes tyrant of Lydia; or wealthy Croesus, King of Lydia, who keeps pestering the Delphic oracle, finally learning that if he attacks Persia, a Great Empire will fall, a riddle that Croesus does not understand until he has been ensconced on his own funeral pyre by Cyrus, King of Persia; or Cleisthenes, Tyrant of Sicyon, who throws a big engagement party for his daughter, Agariste, only to have one of her suitors, Hippocleides, shock the guests by performing gleeful handstands (in his little short skirt) on a table, when he loses out to Megacles of Athens. Such delightful antics cannot possibly constitute history, which ought to be a strict no-nonsense recitation of 'the facts'.

And yet, Herodotus of Halicarnassus both coined the term, 'historia,' and invented the genre. History can therefore be anything that he, the very first historian, pleases. And 'historia,' to Herodotus, meant 'enquiry' or 'investigation.' It is therefore fruitless to lament that Herodotus' account of the Persian Empire and the Greek City-States does not live up to some modern criterion. We are lucky to have this treasure-house of anecdotes. Herodotus, who travelled around the Greek and Persian city states, asked questions and wrote down answers. Thanks to Herodotus, we learn that the Egyptians hunted crocodiles, respected their elders, and ate outdoors [like the Italians]. We also learn why the Spartans--called the Lacedaemonians in this edition--have two kings; we learn about Leonidas and the legendary 300, who made their famous last stand at Thermopylae against Xerxes' forces: "Stranger, tell the people of Lacedaemon/That we who lie here obeyed their commands."These are only a few examples from Herododtus' treasury.

I assigned Robin Waterfield's excellent translation of Herodotus' "Histories"for the first time last year in an undergraduate introduction to Greek History/Civilization class, and my students found it as enjoyable as I did. In addition to an excellent introduction and bibliography, the book contains copious endnotes and appendices as well as maps. The only possible annoyance is in the index, which cites passages only by Herodotus' book and chapter number instead of by pages, a detail that requires some acclimation on the part of students.

I recommend Herodotus' "Histories" for their sheer exuberance. If you accept the adventures of Croesus and the host of other characters on Herodotus' terms, you will have the pleasure of following a master storyteller willingly, as he conducts you on a wondrous journey into an antique land.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a superb translation
The Histories by Herodotus is a great book. However, there are many translations, and most of them are poor. If you choose the wrong translation, you may never experience the true pleasures of getting to know Herodotus.

The translation by Robin Waterfield, published by Oxford, is wonderful. It will really give you a sense of Herodotus and his times. Other editions, especially annotated ones, are worth considering, but I recommend you start with this one.

You can test this your self: look inside this edition using the Amazon preview, and then compare that with the same passage in one of the free online editions. By convention, The Histories is divided into nine books, and the sections of the books are numbered. Click "surprise me" on the Amazon page, and compare that with what you find in an online edition.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Father of History.
Herodotus was born in Halicarnassus and lived from 484 until 429 B.C. These dates are approximate.

The History of Herodotus is divided into nine 'books' (we would call it chapters) each with a name of one of the nine Muzes: book 1 is Cleio, book 2 is Euterpe, book 3 is Thaleia, book 4 is Melpomene, book 5 is Terpsichore, book 6 is Erato, book 7 is Polymnia, book 8 Ourania and book 9 Calliope. Their names were given at random without a link to the content of each book.
Scholars believe that it wasn't Herodotus who used these names but that it was done probably by
an unknown copyist from the Hellenistic period (+- 300-200 B.C.).

Many critics say that there is no leading thread running through the nine books and that their digressions are used haphazardly with little explanation of historical events.
Those critics are not entirely wrong. Herodotus is fond of legends, myths and anecdotes ( in book 2
for instance we read an Egyptian horror story ) and let's face it; the Greeks themselves were fond of these things. Herodotus must have been a very popular writer in his time.
Modern historians though are not likely to use such things with minor importance in their scientific works.

There is a leading thread however but you have to simplify things a little. You could summarize Herodotus' work in three steps. 1. How Persia becomes a military power. 2. The conquest of Egypt by Persia. 3. Two attempts to conquer Greece and why they failed.
The first attempt fails in the battle of Marathon (490 B.C.). The second attempt is more complex but takes a turn in favor of the Greeks during the sea-battle of Salamis where the Persian fleet is almost destroyed. Legend ( or historical fact ? ) has it that Aeschylus - one of the three Tragedy Poets - participated in that battle. ( 480 B.C. ).

Herodotus proofs that literature from Antiquity can be entertaining. ... Read more


6. The History of Herodotus (The Histories of Herodotus), Volumes I and II (complete) (mobi)
by Herodotus
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-03-01)
list price: US$0.99
Asin: B001VACS7Q
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Product Description

This is an electronic edition of the complete book complemented by author biography. This book features the table of contents linked to every volume, book and chapter. The book was designed for optimal navigation on the Kindle, PDA, Smartphone, and other electronic readers. It is formatted to display on all electronic devices including the Kindle, Smartphones and other Mobile Devices with a small display.

************

Translated By G. C. Macaulay

The Histories of Herodotus of Halicarnassus is considered the first work of history in Western literature. Written about 440 BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories tells the story of the Greco-Persian Wars between the Achaemenid Empire and the Greek city-states in the 5th century BC. Herodotus travelled extensively around the ancient world, conducting interviews and collecting stories for his book.

- Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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7. Travels with Herodotus (Vintage International)
by Ryszard Kapuscinski
Paperback: 288 Pages (2008-06-10)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400078784
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
From the renowned journalist comes this intimate account of his years in the field, traveling for the first time beyond the Iron Curtain to India, China, Ethiopia, and other exotic locales.

In the 1950s, Ryszard Kapuscinski finished university in Poland and became a foreign correspondent, hoping to go abroad – perhaps to Czechoslovakia. Instead, he was sent to India – the first stop on a decades-long tour of the world that took Kapuscinski from Iran to El Salvador, from Angola to Armenia. Revisiting his memories of traveling the globe with a copy of Herodotus' Histories in tow, Kapuscinski describes his awakening to the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of new environments, and how the words of the Greek historiographer helped shape his own view of an increasingly globalized world. Written with supreme eloquence and a constant eye to the global undercurrents that have shaped the last half-century, Travels with Herodotus is an exceptional chronicle of one man's journey across continents. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (33)

2-0 out of 5 stars A bit of a letdown
As a person who loves to travel, and who has lived in places where he didn't understand the culture and/or language, I could completely relate to Mr Kapuscinski's experiences portrayed in the first few chapters of this book.The dismal feeling of an inability to function effectively, the struggle to learn how to act local, etc.Beyond the first few chapters, though, my enjoyment of Travels with Herodotus waned rapidly.

Mr K bounces from country to country, sharing smatterings of anecdotes, some interesting, others not so much.He then bounces to a story from The Histories which doesn't appear to be related to these personal experiences at all.It's altogether possible there is linkage between Mr K's travels in the 1950s and Mr H's writings from ancient Greece on some different level, but I was too groggy to catch them.That's unfortunate, but typical of my experience reading this book.

Mr K feels Herodotus was more of a journalist than an historian; he retrospectively draws and relays lessons from The Histories relevant to his own career as a journalist - e.g., learn from first-hand experience, or directly from someone who was there.This is all fine and dandy, but doesn't necessarily equate to a riveting read, and didn't require summaries from The Histories to pad an undersized walk down memory lane (although these provided some of the better reading).

A star for the first part; a star for some fun reading selected portions of The Histories...as an overall work, though, I didn't see the point, and can't recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars We Stand In Darkness, Surrounded by Light

This is the title of the last chapter of this, the last book written by journalist, traveler, poet and philosopher Ryszard Kapuscinski.

It is an excellent and a beautiful book, one that resonates on many levels, all at once.

In 1955, Kapuscinski, an aspiring journalist in the oppressive post Stalinist environment of Cold War Poland, applied to go abroad. What he had in mind was a trip across the border to neighboring Czechoslovakia - anything farther afield seemed all but unthinkable.

Instead, his editor sent him to India, and after that to China and one exotic destination after another. He took along a copy of The Histories, by Herodotus.

Travels with Herodotus chronicles a lifetime of travels as the author juxtaposes his impressions of a world he could never have imagined from the confines of the closed Communist society of the fifties with the ancient explorer's first encounters with countries and cultures on the fringes of classical Greek experience.

This is a deep and very well written book. Credit here must also be given to translator Klara Glowczewska for her artful rendering of the original text in English.

The following snippet conveys something of the author's sensitive powers of observation along with his deft and clever description:

"The paintings of Confucian artists depict court scenes - a seated emperor surrounded by stiff standing bureaucrats, chiefs of palace protocol, pompous generals, meekly bowing servants. In Taoist paintings we see distant pastel landscapes, barely discernable mountain chains, luminous mists, mulberry trees, and in the foreground a slender delicate leaf of a bamboo bush, swaying in the invisible breeze."

Perhaps I was particularly seduced by this book as I read much of it on the African coast overlooking the Gulf of Guinea. But I think not.

It's one of those books that will just captivate you, and will take you away...

4-0 out of 5 stars A casual introduction to Herodotus
I didn't know Kapuscinski before reading this book, so I cannot comment on the man's journalistic reputation.This book is really an amalgam of two books. One part is made of commented passages from The Histories of Herodotus. The other is the actual travelling of Mr Kapuscinski around the world as a journalist. The title is misleading because the places where the author travels are work assignments from Communist Poland, not a free journey that he planned in order to retrace the steps for Herodotus. Except for a brief visit to Persepolis and Egypt, they have no connection whatsoever with the Greek historian. He is first sent to India and Afghanistan, then China, Congo, Ethiopia, Algeria and Senegal. So don't expect it to be a voyage of discovery of the ancient world. It's not.

The writing style, well the English translation at least, is engaging, gripping even. On the other hand, I was displeased with the author's poor knowledge of the places he visited. He doesn't understand the difference between Hindu (the religion), Hindi (a modern language), Indic (an ancient language and script) and Indian (general term) and talks about 'Hindu script' and 'Hindi writing system', or Buddhism being a 'Hindu ideology'. He talks about Chinese hieroglyphs and alphabet instead of pictograms or ideograms or just characters (hanzi, as they are known in Mandarin). He describes Kwangtung province (now spelt 'Guangdong') simply as "a place infested with crocodiles" - a rather distorted and limited view when we know it is, and has long been, the richest Chinese province in every sense of the term (economically, culturally, linguistically, ethnically).

In the last chapters about Senegal, Kapuscinski expresses his aberrant opinion that Africa would be a more developed place today if the Europeans had not taken by force their strongest and most capable men to make them work as slaves in the Americas. Doesn't he know that African tribes enslaved each others and chieftains sold excess slaves to Europeans for profit ? If anything it only made these African chieftains richer. However you look at it I don't see how the lack of European interaction with Africa could have made it a more developed place now. Besides, the slave trade with the Americas only concerned a small stretch of coast in western Africa, a tiny part of the continent. Mr Kapuscinski also believes that the Senegalese descend from the ancient Egyptians.

When commenting on the Greco-Persian wars, he keeps reminding the reader that it is a war between Europe and Asia, rather than just between Greece and Persia. I do not understand this standpoint considering that both the Greeks and the Persians were Indo-Europeans in language and culture, and that there were many important Greek settlements in Asia minor, including Herodotus' home town, Halicarnassus. Greece is not Europe, and Persia certainly does not represent all Asia (go tell the Chinese that they are Persians !)

Apart from such weird commentaries the book is well written and enjoyable. I preferred the part taken from Herodotus. I made me want to purchase The Histories, which I think I would enjoy more because it is four time the size of this book and not tainted with someone else's opinion.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Very Best In Travel Writing
The absolute best travel books for armchair travelers like myself are the true fish out of water journeys.*An African in Greenland* by Michel Kpomassie immediately comes to mind. This is a story of a guy from Togo who decides he simply must visit Greenland after reading about in a book he accidentally obtained, and did it. In the Greenland book we have a narrator who is himself fascinatingly different than the reader (me, for example) writing about a place that is also unimaginably different than the places I know.

*Travels With Herodotus* is similar in some ways, especially when Kapuciski makes his first journey from communist Poland to India; but as the book continues Kapuciski becomes a savvy, seasoned traveler (although he never loses his sense of wonder).

When he starts out on his journeys he is given a volume of Herodotus' *Histories* and throughout *Travels With Herodotus*, as a sort of interesting gimmick, he muses about *Histories* throughout this volume, often juxtaposing ancient history / travel observations with his own contemporary experiences. I thought this technique worked well and made the book doubly interesting.

His observations and writings are always fresh, unique, and well seen. This succinct book is captivating. Most highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Memories of an Old Friend
The Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski was one of the great journalists of the Twentieth Century.His beat was was the newly emerging nations of Africa and Asia.As a Pole during the Cold War, Kapuscinski had access to places that few Western journalists could visit.He was an immensely gifted writer who left us vivid portraits of peoples and nations leaving behind the the colonial world and disorientedly entering into the modern age.

While traveling to the far reaches of the developing world, Kapuscinski's favorite travelling companion was the ancient Greek historian Herodotus.Kapuscinski closely identified with the ancient historian and traveller. Carrying his copy of "The Histories" with him, Kapuscinski spent many years teasing out the meanings and themes found in the book.In many ways, Kapuscinski saw himself as a modern day Herodotus visiting the world's obscure corners and bringing back to his readers what he had learned and experienced.

"Travels with Herodotus" starts conventionally enough as an autobiographical tale of a young journalist leaving Poland in the late 1950's and visiting the newly independent nations of Asia and Africa.But as the book moves forward, the autobiography recedes and a literary appreciation of Herodotus begins to more fully emerge.Kapuscinski's portrait of Herodotus is heart felt and well written. However, as a long time reader of Kapuscinski, I wanted to learn more about him and I was dissapointed to see the character of Kapuscinski fade away.Nevertheless, "Travels with Herodotus" was a pleasure to read.Recommended. ... Read more


8. The Way of Herodotus: Travels with the Man Who Invented History
by Justin Marozzi
Hardcover: 384 Pages (2008-12-08)
list price: US$27.50 -- used & new: US$8.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002UXRZQM
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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During the classical age of Greece, Herodotus wrote the first history text. But what he created was much more than this. Informed by his own travels, his historical work digresses more than it chronicles, with tales of the lands and peoples he visited. As Michael Ondaatje once famously suggested, “What you find in him are the cul-de-sacs within the sweep of history.”

In The Way of Herodotus, intrepid travel historian Justin Marozzi retraces the footsteps of Herodotus through the Mediterranean and Middle East, examining his 2,500-year-old observations about the cultures and places he visited, and finding echoes of his legacy reverberating to this day. It is a lively yet thought-provoking excursion into the world of Herodotus, with the man who invented history ever present, guiding the narrative with his discursive spirit.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected...
When I checked this book out from the local library (thank goodness I did not purchase it), I was expecting a travel book of sorts with a historical twist, which it is.The premise of the book is the author traveling to the all of the lands that Herodotus wrote about in his "Histories."It sounds interesting enough.However, as other reviewers have noted, the author seems more interested in the sexual practices Herodotus wrote about in his travels than anything else.Titillating to be sure, but not all that intriguing.A little goes a long way in the case of such information, and I wish the author had taken note of that.While some of the descriptions of the present day lands were interesting, particularly the first chapter, the book lost its way a little with the Babylon/Modern day Iraq portion.It seemed to become a critique of Bush's decision to go to war, which, albeit controversial, seemed out of place after the first chapter.I think the connections the author tried to make between modern day and Herodotus' own time were a little weak.Too much of the author writing about how understanding and multicultural Herodotus was and how Herodotus would have liked this or that.I wish there had been more a connection between his own travels and Herodotus', rather than just going to the same places.It is more travel book than history, and not a very good one at that.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Way of Marozzi
What an exuberant, interesting book.Nice introduction to Herodotus and a perfect way to hook a new generation.Marozzi does a fine job balancing modern and ancient, writing an historical travelogue about the father of historical travelogues.Good way to make Herodoteans of us all!

5-0 out of 5 stars Herodotus Rediscovered
Justin Marozzi attempts to follow the ancient historian Herodotus in his travels.He takes Herodotus as a travelling companion, or correctly Herodotus takes Marozzi as a travelling companion.Marozzi with typically English self-effacing humor gives a short history of his educational pursuits.This ties all of us to the man himself.One only need make his way into the book shortly to realize that once Marozzi had set his mind to a course of study he learned well.He is a wordsmith.He sent me scurrying numerous times to my dictionary in search of meanings not clear from the context.I appreciate a man who can execute his craft well and Marozzi is a admirably competent at his.The book is worth the read if for nothing else than to see words well used and well written.He is exquisite in literary form.

Marozzi gives us a short history of the Persian wars, an excellent overview to begin with.He whets our appetite for a journey back in time with Herodotus.

Marozzi engages us in the travels of Herodotus in a way that the ancient and the contemporary, the past and the present are almost brought together as one.We see how many things have changed and yet how they have stayed the same.

Our peripatetic historian begins to take shape in this book as a present day Herodotus.He writes very much in the same way as Herodotus in that he engages the local folk to help him with his excursionsEvery would-be traveler wants to have access to these kinds of places known only to the locals but many times do not have the ability to find them or gain access to them.

Herodotus wrote with openness to the world at his disposal.Marozzi does the same. Hereodotus recounts stories of far away places and their various unusual practices.Marozzi does the same.Witness the recounting of Herodotus' story of ants bringing up gold from the ground in India.Marozzi tells the story with corrected additions but never tells us his sources for the corrected story of the Marmot gold diggers.

For those of us Americans who are of the hawkishly conservative mindset, we squirm slightly in our seats and increase our reading pace when Marozzi begins a commentary on the Bush administrations involvement of American forces in the war in Iraq.Yes as Marozzi so willingly quotes Herodotus we all see our cultures as better.

Marozzi is a writer truly in the vein of Herodotus.He engages his subject, Herodotus' Histories, with full on engagement in the actual places Herodotus wrote about.This is truly a creative way to write about history and engage one's audience in the process. Marozzi ends by discussing Herodotus' concepts of religion.It seems he uses Alexis, a new-found friend on the island, as a foil for his own religious misgivings but just like Herodotus we may never know what he is thinking. In the vein of Herodotus he ends with the rare observance of the initiation of a new monk into the monastic life.With typical Herodotean objectification Marozzi tells the story with suspended criticism, simply viewing an aspect of culture much the way Herodotus would.

Shortcomings?Some perhaps.He may spend more time than one thinks necessary at certain junctures.But all of his travels are engaging.This is not a rehash of classical history.Outside of the recounting of the classic battles of the Persian wars, the material he presented was new information for me.Having some knowledge of classical history is helpful in order to enjoy the book.Those who may read the book may find it helpful to have some sort of Atlas and short compendium on classical history at hand along with a dictionary to get the full effect of the book.This should not be taken a as criticism necessarily .Rarely will you find books that can so challenge one to learn and entertain at the same time.I heartily recommend the book to all.It is engaging, well-written and introduces the reader to a little-known writer who has had a profound influence on historians even to this day.

The Soul Doctor

4-0 out of 5 stars Gentle Introduction
Some of the reviewers are a little hard on this book.It's true the author is no William Manchester when it comes to rigor but this is an easy to read book that wanders over quite a few interesting segments of ancient civilizations and The Histories by Herodotus.

The book is more about accessible enjoyment with a little learning thrown in and for many it may spark an interest in going on to more serious texts around the subject.Before delving into books on specific civilizations and periods this book can be enjoyed as a bit of a survey on a key part of the ancient world.

Reading the original copies of The Histories by Herodotus might be too much for the casual reader so this book is a better place to start.

It's more of a pleasant diversion into a life, a book, places and ancient times than anything else.

There is much food for thought though.The level of bickering between places like Greece and Turkey thousands of years ago amplifies a sense of futility in "sorting out" the region by any means.

5-0 out of 5 stars Travel and History - A Nice Blend
Author Justin Marozzi gives readers a fresh look at "The Father of History", Herodotus. In his historicaltravelogue, "The Way of Herodotus: Travel With The man Who Invented History" he captures some of the essenceof a man who was so much more than just a travel reporter. The author gives us a much more insightful look atwho and what Herodotus was. We learn that he was an explorer, a writer, anthropologist and one of the world's first true multi-culturalists.

The author travels in the present modern world but also takes us on a journey to past that Herodotus visited when he traveled the same routes. In some ways, the author is the modern day reflection of the man he writes about. I found the book truly held my interest - although I do not see young people investing much time to read it - and that is truly a shame. ... Read more


9. Herodotus and the Road to History
by Jeanne Bendick
Paperback: 78 Pages (2009-10-01)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$9.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1932350209
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Best-selling author Jeanne Bendick takes us for another informative and amusing journey into places and events of long ago. Herodotus and the Road to History, written in the first person, details the investigative journeys of Herodotus a contemporary of the Old Testament prophet Malachi as he takes ship from Greece and voyages to the limits of his own ancient world. His persistence, amidst disbelief and ridicule, in the self-appointed task of recording his discoveries as histories (the Greek word meaning inquiry ), means that today we can still follow his expeditions into the wonder and mystery of Syria, Persia, Egypt and the barbaric north. Jeanne Bendick's lucid text, humorous illustrations and helpful maps entertain and instruct as they open the way for readers young and old to once again join Herodotus . . . on the road to history.. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not the best, but ok
My kids and I have read other books by Jeanne Bendick, but this is our least favorite. This would have been a good choice as an extended literature selection the first time my kids and I went through Story of the World, volume I, to introduce life in ancient Greece and Herodotus the Traveler. But if you are looking for Herodotus the Storyteller and his accounts of the Persian/Greek struggles, the Ionian revolt, etc., this book is not it.

All in all, suitable as a read aloud for elemenatary kids, but kinda boring for older kids (6th-8th grade).

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine pick for younger readers with an interest in history
History was not a quickly accepted concept. "Herodotus and the Road to History" is a fictionalized account of the travels of Jeanne Bendick, detailing the story of Herodotus, the man who is often referred to as the father of history. Facing criticism in his day, Jeanne Bendick does well in presenting a thorough story of the man and his travel with many charming, simple illustrations. "Herodotus and the Road to History" is a fine pick for younger readers with an interest in history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun and Quick Introduction to Herodotus and Greek History
This is a brief, engaging and heavily illustrated biography of the world's first historian. Herodotus lived in the Greek city of Halicarnassus in the Persian empire during the 5th century BC. His situation and personality put him in an ideal place to tell the fascinating stories of the Persian Wars and to travel extensively and collect stories during his travels.

This book is unique in that it shares the basic history of his own life, told in first person narrative. It gives a glimpse into the world he lived in as well as touching upon major events and characters that he wrote about.

It's the perfect companion to a children's edition of the stories of Herodotus. Our family read it after finishing *Stories from Herodotus* by Glanville Downey (which is sadly out of print, but may be available used or from your local library), which made it even more relevant and interesting (lots of "aha" moments!).

The story is suitable for independent reading ages 10 and up, or for a read aloud to younger children. It only took us about an hour to read it out loud and everyone enjoyed it!
... Read more


10. The History: Herodotus (Great Minds Series)
by Herodotus, Henry Cary
Paperback: 613 Pages (1992-11)
list price: US$17.98 -- used & new: US$8.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0879757779
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The word "history" derives from the Greek word for "inquiry". Combining his encyclopaedic interests and curiosity about the customs and workings of humankind, the "Father of History" gives us an unforgettable account of the great clash between Greece and the Persian Empire. In his matchless study of persons, places, and events, Herodotus recounts the rise of Lydia, and the ascendancy of the kingdom of Persia under kings Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius, and Xerxes; the exotic customs of Egypt; and the stirring events at Thermopylae and Salamis.Amazon.com Review
Herodotus of Halicarnassus was born about 484 B.C. and died some 60 years later. He traveled over much of the known ancient world, making trips to places such as southern Italy, lower Egypt, and the Caucasus. His great History, the first major prose work in world literature, is an account of his world at the time of the Persian Wars. The book, here ably translated by University of Chicago scholar David Grene, earned Herodotus the epithet "The Father of History" in ancient times. He distinguishes between the things seen with his own eyes and those of which he had only heard. But he was often too credulous of things told to him by his peers along the way, for which reason his younger contemporary Thucydides called him "The Father of Lies." Renowned in his own time for his humanity and wide-ranging curiosity, Herodotus shows an insatiable appetite for both useful information and a good yarn, and The History is a starting point for any student of the past. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

2-0 out of 5 stars Greene's Histories are Sadly Disappointing.
Approaching David Grene's translation of the Histories I had extraordinarily high expectations. Grene's translations of the Attic dramatists for the University of Chicago series were superb.Sadly those expectations I had based upon the extent to which Grene seemed to have fully channeled the spirits of the authors he translated were not fulfilled in reading his translation of the Histories.Grene consistently misinterprets Herodotus in ways that distort Herodotus' historiographic approach, and generally fails to capture the chatty, colloquial, and inquisitive personality that anyone who spends time with Herodotus will develop a tremendous love and admiration for.Furthermore, Herodotus' uses of specific words which either create a double entendre, or are purposely designed to evoke or allude to earlier authors, especially in book seven with the description of the battle of Thermopylae where Herodotus becomes especially Homeric, are simply translated and Grene entirely ignores the artistry of the father of history.Admittedly, for an individual who has never read Herodotus before such points are perhaps less than compelling reasons to reject the translation, and I certainly laud anyone who takes enough interest in Herodotus to read any translation of him from proem to the crucifixion of Artayktes , but for the first time reader the charm and pleasure of reading Herodotus are sadly lost in Grene's translation.Depending on the level of the reader I would suggest either the Penguin Classics edition translated by Aubrey De Selincourt, or "The Landmark Herodotus" translated by Andrea Purvis.Of the two, De Selincourt's rendering of the histories is superior on the grounds that to read his translation is to be in the company of Herodotus.De Selincourt captures Herodotus' zest for the world like no other, and makes every page a pleasure in his ability to tell the stories Herodotus tells perfectly in plain English. The chatty, rambling, and entertaining storyteller is perfectly captured by De Selincourt.The biggest shortcoming of the Penguin edition of The Histories is that it fails the first time reader by providing too little supplemental information on Herodotus and his times, and the endnotes are irritating to keep flipping back to, but one of the greatest strengths of the added content is that it has been organized by John Marincola, who is easily on the foremost authorities on ancient historiography and Herodotean studies in general. The great benefit of Marincola's direction is that the suggested reading lists he has compiled are excellent for the interested reader, but again considering the guidance of someone as esteemed as Marincola the scarcity of additional content seems even more troublesome. Purvis' translation for the Landmark rendering is a close second.In it she manages to capture much of the pleasure of reading Herodotus, but she does so in a way that her translation is very close to Greek, and can be a bit clunky at times, but for the most part her translation fairly easy and enjoyable to read. However, t he true beauty of "The Landmark Herodotus" is in the added content.For anyone unfamiliar with the geography, culture, or history of the fifth century B.C. "The Landmark Herodotus" certainly delivers.Thus, with respect to Grene's translation simply put hamartanei, but fortunately there is no shortage of transitions of Herodotus.

5-0 out of 5 stars the first historian, but also the first travel writerand ethnographer perhaps
This is the only translation I have read, so I cannot compare it to others.

Another reviewer complains about frequent long and boring digressions from the history of the Persian Wars, but for me what makes this book wonderful has at least as much to do with the digressions.Whether Herodotus or Thucydites was the first true historian is not my concern.What I will say is that this is a fascinating first-person account of the world known to 5th Century BCE Mediterraneans, written by an extremely insightful and open-minded individual who clearly was widely traveled and took the time to collect information from multiple sources.I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that probably a lot of what we know about some of the peoples he mentions comes from this work.These digressions offer a fascinating glimpse into the world of the Greeks and their neighbors.Herodotus goes into great detail about the history, culture, beliefs and habits of the various peoples.

The Histories was divided, at a much later date, into 9 books.Herodotus spends almost and entire book (70 pages) focusing on Egypt, dealing with everything from their history/mythology (never clearly distinguished) and relations with neighbors, to their religion, to their daily habits of food, clothing, and sex.This to me is a fascinating look into an ancient long-gone civilization that clearly had a huge impact on the world in so many ways. He likewise goes into a lot of details on Persian and Median history and culture.He spends a fair amount of time discussing the Balkans, the Scythians and northern Africa (called Libya by the ancient Greeks).While he certainly makes a significant effort to ascertain the truth, he presents various options, declares his preference, and then leaves it to the reader to decide.

Thucydites is arguably more modern, and perhaps a truer historian, because he tries to get to causes and effects, without considering preternatural influences like divine intervention or fate.This may, in a strict sense, be a weakness in Herodotus' Histories, if you judge it strictly on it's fact-based historical merit.To me, however, these "flaws" are preciselya major part of what makes this such a fascinating read.When Herodotus attributes, or relates other people's attribution of other-worldly influences on events, that is a window into 5th Century BCE minds, which you would never get from a dry accounting of dates and facts.I would say that these "digressions" and "flaws" are what give the work life.

One interesting episode is his comments on the Phoenicians' claim to have circumnavigated Africa.He relates their claim that as they were sailing around the southern regions, the sun was on the opposite side of the sky than usual.Amusingly to us, Herodotus discounts that detail as improbable, when of course, that is pretty strong proof that they did in fact do it.

So to sum it up, it's a long work, but I found it quite interesting and entertaining reading.Herodotus does have an ironic sense of humor about him.Read this as a history book, as a travel book, and as an enlightening look into the minds and the lives of people 2500 years ago.

5-0 out of 5 stars David Grene is the Herodonator
Reading Herodotus simply must be done by any intelligent person smart enough to read the Western Canon - and if you don't know what the Great Books are, stop reading this and go to my Listmania page and buy the 100 books you find there. But to return to the Father of History: Herodotus reads like a novel but is the first work of history in the Western tradition. It is essentially a narrative of the Persian Wars (think Thermopolae and Marathon), but Herodotus zooms off on tangents over and over again - it's delightful. Further, he is probably the most objective historian a man will ever read, including reports he believes are false. He is not afraid to interject and tell us when a custom or a law is disgraceful, and in short, he vivifies history for anyone who hated in in high school. Herodotus and historians who write like him (Livy, Tacitus, Thucydides) write history the way it should be written. But to continue: you need to know things about the translation, aesthetics, durability, size, and price.

David Grene has produced an outstanding translation. A member of the scholarly Straussian school, he is obsessed with the precise translations of words and phrases in a goal to produce an exact rendition in English of Herodotus' Greek. This edition of the Histories is easily comparable and probably superior to the Aubrey de Selingcourt and the Landmark on the merit of the translation alone. It is not often one encounters clear accuracy.

The aesthetics are likewise excellent. The font is well-sized, though the margins are small (I do not write in books so this bothers me not at all). Everything about it is beautiful.

University of Chicago Press binds their books well. While not as durable as the Green Lion editions (nothing will ever beat them), this copy will stand up to plenty of wear.

The size and price make this edition unbeatable. Though many hundreds of pages long, it is small enough to be held in any position for great lengths of time (i.e. easily backpack material) and the price is unbeatable. If you buy it, I feel sure you will agree that indeed David Grene is the Herodonator.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable History
Who am I to write a review of Herodotus' The Histories? I am not a classicist, a historian, or a scholar. I wouldn't know the difference between translations, which one is "most true" to the original, which one provides the most accurate analysis of the texts and its accuracies and inaccuracies.So, I have decided that the only way I could review this book is to express how readable it is for a non-scholar who wants to read one of the most ancient of histories, of a time and place far removed from our own, about alien cultures and beliefs, and a complicated war between the ancient Greeks and Persians.

The only reason I read this version is that when I mentioned to my brother once that I had never really read any of the Greek historians, he said I had to read this one and then loaned me his copy. It took me a couple of years, but I finally got around to it. And I found that what he told me is true. The Histories is extremely readable and interesting. Herodotus spent a lot of time giving a background of the conflict, and mixes the historical with what we would call the mystical or fantastic. A lot of time is spent describing the cultures of the Egyptians, the Persians, and the various Greek city-states. If I forgot the significance of a name, I could just look him (rarely a her) in the index, where a short description could be found. If I became confused about where the Thracians were from, I could look at several helpful maps in the back.

There were several times that I became overwhelmed by the details (I guess I didn't appreciate knowing what colors and costumes each people wore during battles). I also had difficulty following from one battle to another, but I'm not sure if that was the fault of the text.

I therefore recommend this for the casual, armchair historian who just wants to learn more about the ancient Greeks while reading a good story. I suspect the book would also work for the more serious scholar who wants to study the text.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great translation--how do you pronounce the translator's name?
Having had a couple years of Greek in college (just enough to be dangerous) I have to say Grene's translation looks to me the most literal and readable at the same time. The old Rawlinson translation is stylish but not as close to the Greek as Grene. de Selincourt's Penguin classics effort loses style points compared to Rawlinson, and yet manages to perhaps be even a bit further from the Greek. Waterfield's Oxford classics just reads as flat and featureless as the Wall Street Journal's finance pages, and yet isn't very close to the Greek either! Grene alone seems to open a contemporary English speaker's ears to hear how Herodotus would sound if you were actually a Greek speaker of the 5th century BC (and isn't that exactly what we want our translators to do for us?). I like his point that with the Homeric overtones, Herodotus should sound just a bit "odd" a little archaic, yet lively. I think Grene hit the mark right on the head, and of course Herodotus himself is a gas. Totally entertaining, and highly recommended.

On a side note, does anyone know how to pronounce Mr. Grene's name? I realize he's Irish, but it's an unusal name and I've never heard it pronounced... ... Read more


11. A Commentary on Herodotus
by J. (Joseph) Wells, W. W. (Walter Wybergh) How
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-10-04)
list price: US$1.99
Asin: B002RKSHIS
Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars
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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more

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1-0 out of 5 stars This is not the text itself
Please be aware that this Kindle "book" does not contain the text of the Commentary on Herodotus. It is merely a "placeholder" file that was originally created by Project Gutenberg to refer people to the actual text. The complete text, in .PDF or .DOC format, can be downloaded for free at Project Gutenberg's website. ... Read more


12. The Histories (Everyman's Library)
by Herodotus
Hardcover: 816 Pages (1997-03-25)
list price: US$26.00 -- used & new: US$16.27
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375400613
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Herodotus is not only the father of the art and the science of historical writing but also one of the Western tradition's most compelling storytellers. In tales such as that of Gyges—who murders Candaules, the king of Lydia, and unsurps his throne and his marriage bed, thereby bringing on, generations later, war with the Persians—he laid bare the intricate human entanglements at the core of great historical events. In his love for the stranger, more marvelous facts of the world, he infused his magnificent history with a continuous awareness of the mythic and the wonderful. For more than a hundred generations, his supple, lucid prose has drawn readers into his panoramic vision of the war between the Greek city-states and the great empire to the east. And in the generosity of his spirit, in the instinctive empiricism that took him searching over much of the known world for information, in the care he took with sources and historical evidence, in his freedom from intolerance and prejudice, he virtually defined the rational, humane spirit that is the enduring legacy of Greek civilization.Amazon.com Review
Since the release of the film version of Michael Ondaatje'sThe EnglishPatient, there has been renewed interest in theHistories of Herodotus--the book the dying patient treasures somuch.

The writings of Herodotus are the ground zero of Westernhistory.He lived during the fifth century B.C.E, and hisHistories chronicle the events of the Persian Wars, which werewithin living memory when he wrote. He was the first writer to examinereal, rather than mythical history, and although his work lacks therigor of later histories, it has a breathtaking scope.Herodotus is awonderful storyteller, and in recalling the wars with Persianinvaders, he ranges across the ancient world, mixing politics withnatural history and anthropology. These are traveler's tales, and agreat deal of their appeal to a modern audience lies in the wayHerodotus describes the cultures that influence his story. Thesocieties of Scythians, Arabs, and Egyptians are depicted in detail,from their political structures to their dining habits. Herodotuscreated a sense of history for his people, and he gives us a pictureof a distant past that reminds us of the vast continuum ofcivilization. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars A Great Book in a Tough Translation: There Are Better!
I am surprised to see people raving about this edition of Herodotus while conceding that the translation is a bit "formal" and that it would have helped to have "a map."

Indeed!

There are better translations - certainly more readable ones.And the three editions I own all have maps. Preeminent among available editions for the non-specialist is the Landmark Herodotus, first issued in November 2007, edited by Robert Strassler (editor of the Landmark Thucydides, and now the Landmark Xenophon's Hellenika), which is just crammed with lots of very fine maps (127, no less), helpfully placed in the text just where you need them and referenced in notes so you can easily find the places being mentioned as you go. There are also footnotes, marginal glosses, headings, a chronological summary of events, black and white pictures and photographs. A set of appendices by leading specialists provides insight from the best of current scholarship into many issues and areas about which readers may wish to know more, including religion, triremes, weights and measures, important lineages, and the like. The translation may lack the delights of a work with real literary grace but it is very easy to read and quite competent. In fairness, the literary quality seems to improve and "rise to the occasion" in the more dramatic, final 3-4 books. This edition is really indispensable. The maps alone more than justify the extra cost because you have every opportunity now to see where the places were and where things happened. It makes an immense difference. Considering all the other helpful and up-to-date materials that are included, this is an outstanding, handsome volume.

For those who, like me, prefer to read Greek with more than one translation, the David Grene and Aubrey de Selincourt versions are quite good. Both are highly readable, racy and literate. They also feature notes and a few maps, though these features are less accessible than in the Landmark. Robin Waterfield also does a good job, though I find his English prose a bit choppy. You can get these translations in paperback.

I have struggled with Rawlinson's translation: it is a tough read. If you really mean to haul your way through the entire Herodotus, and you really should because it is great stuff, do yourself a favor and read a more contemporary translation. As you are slogging along in Egypt, Scythia or Salamis, watching digressions and divagations piling up along the way, you will be glad you did.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
A great book! For any history buff out there, this is a must read! Herodotus clearly is the, "Father of History."

1-0 out of 5 stars Herodotus: The Father of History
A must have for any history buff. Not only is this book facinating but it teaches important lessons about human nature.Through Solon and Croesus' conversations one can learn what it truly means to be "happy". Or, through the actions of the 300 Spartans one can learn what bravery realy is.This is a very important work and it is my opinion that everyone should read it at some point in their life.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Time Machine
The nine books of History by Herodotus try to be a history of the Persian Empire and its wars with the Greeks, but by telling both peoples' story, the author ends up by narrating the history of the whole world known to him. Although Herodotus is the first known "serious" historian, he is not the first "scientific" one (that would be Thucydides), due to the fact that Herodotus still believes in gods and their direct intervention in human affairs. Nevertheless, in an interesting sort of transition to "modern" history, he has doubts about the stories and legends he picks up, and then he tries to give rationalized explanations of the events he relates. Even so, with inexactitudes and mixing fact with fiction, he renders a most vivid portrait of the Ancient World, so like ours in substance and so different in form. Something to remark is how much we have inherited and preserved from the Greeks, our most influential cultural ancestors.

In Book I, H. talks about the mythical precedents of clashes between Greek peoples and Asian "barbarians". Then he tells the story of the richest man in the world, Croesus, the king of Lydia, the first man to attack and conquer the Ionians, Greek peoples inhabiting the Eastern coast of the Aegean sea. Croesus then consults an oracle asking if he should attack the powerful Persians, to which the oracle answers: "do it and you will destroy a great empire", as he does: he destroys his own empire. Thus begins the expansionist policy of the Persians. H. then goes on to tell the ancient history of the Medes, the predecessors of the Persians, and how king Cyrus takes power. Cyrus proceeds to attack practically all his neighbors, increasing his empire before dying.

In Book II, Cambises inherits the Persian throne and decides to invade Egypt, which is the subject of the whole book. Herodotus, always and thankfully the king of digression, tells us the whole story of myths, geography, habits and "recent" history of Egypt, in one of the most fascinating parts of his work. Book III tells the story of Cambises's rule, the rebellion of the Magicians, the plot of the Seven and the ascension of Darius, whose kingdom is described in the last part. Book IV relates Darius's (failed) campaign against the Scythes, peoples from the Nothern coast of the Black Sea, truly exotic, primitive and savage guys. He elaborates on the habits and strange life they live. Book V includes the Thracian and Macedonian invasions, as well as the Ionian revolt. Book VI brings us to the First Median War's first part, the expedition of Mardonius which finishes in the massive shipwreck of the Persian fleet in Mount Athos. Then comes a digression (a fascinating one) on the history of Sparta, and then the second expedition, which ends up in disaster in the battle of Marathon. In Book VII we see the start of the Second Median War. It includes preparations and the beginning of the invasion, as well as the naval battles of Magnesia and the battle of Thermopylae. Book VIII tells the end of the operations of year 480-479 B.C.: the naval battle of Arthemisius, the Persian advance through Central Greece, the evacuation and sack of Athens, the battle of Salamis (a crucial turning point of Western Culture's history), Persian King Xerxes's flight and the winter recess at Thessalia. Finally, in Book IX Herodotus talks about the military operations of the following year, the second take of Athens, the battle of Plathea, the Greek decisive victory, the Persians' escape, and the final digression over the wisdom of Cyrus.

Few books are so rich in information, stories, legends, and analysis as this one. Herodotus comes alive as a superb, good-willed historian, a hard worker. For all its depth and amplitude, his style is always quick and easy to read. He includes many a good story and has a sense of humor. It's fun to hear his admonitions and preventions like you were a man of his time, a contemporary reader. He was born in Halycarnassus, where today is South Western Turkey. Born to a rich family, they are forced to escape, for political reasons, to the island of Samos. There he decides to travel around for ten years, time during which he collected the material for his masterpiece. Almost always, he tries to give more than one account of facts, leaving the reader to decide whcih one to believe. He interviews everyone he can, compares official records and documents, analyzes the situation, and when he tells his own opinion, he is straightforward about it. Fun, interesting, educational, this book is truly a time mechine.

5-0 out of 5 stars The father of History is also a good historian
The Histories is sheer ecstasy and emotion, and the reader is kept attentive trough the many fascinating histories narrated by Herodotus, always keen on given the reader the most accurate version to the many stories he was told regarding some important issue. By this many accounts he begins to end the tradition of oral transmission in the Greek culture, a powerful tradition which was responsible for the preservation to posterity of works of such caliber as the Odyssey and the Iliad, from Ulysses. In Herodotus view, the written report of the many different points of view would adduce credence to the histories.

The main focus of The Histories is on the battles of the Peloponnesus war, and the chapters revolve around the feats of the Persians and Greeks for the supremacy of Europe and Asia Minor. His is a 360 degrees analysis of customs, culture and habits of war and peace of the most variegated people, being him eyewitness to many events reports. Above all, and part of the merit must be given to the excellent translation to English, Herodotus is an expert with words and narrates many pretty interesting tales in a way reminiscent of Arabian nights: the dialogues between Solon the legislator and Croesus, the richest man in the world, the customs of some people who ate their deceased kin, but not if they died sick, the battle between the cavalry of Croesus and the camel riders of Cyrus, the detailed descriptions of the customs of Egypt and the supposition by Herodotus that the Greeks inherited much of their pantheon from them, the origin of the myth of Cyrus having a bitch as a suckling mother (paralleling the myth of the foundation of Rome), and many etceteras.

I was quite surprised with the overall quality of the book and, mostly, by the many excellent ideas Herodotus gives for each and every act of the likes as Cyrus, Darius, Croesus and many more. His geographical descriptions of each and every territory he interested on, adds luster to his narrative and are not all boring, quite to the contrary, serving always as a background to some historical events he analyses. His demystifying of Greek ideal of being the center of the earth, his projection of the fulfillment of the Red Sea by the Nile water flow in the next 20.000 years gives a vague idea of the man that lies behind the book and who has a lot to teach, even if he does not say so, to future generations, also to our.

I think that every reader interested in the ideas of great thinkers of the Humanity, should take a look upon Herodotus and his Histories. I am sure he/she will not be disappointed, being the Histories, in my humble opinion, one of the 100 best books to be read.


... Read more


13. The Histories (Norton Critical Editions)
by Herodotus
Paperback: 464 Pages (1991-12-17)
-- used & new: US$9.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393959465
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This Norton Critical Edition offers an introduction to Herodotus for students approaching the history of Western Civilization or classical Greece for the first time. It features a new translation and selection of Herodotus’s The Histories by Walter Blanco, supplemented by critical works chosen by Jennifer Roberts.Walter Blanco's translation manages both to remain true to the spirit and letter of the original Greek and to be readily understandable to American students.

The selections from The Histories show Herodotus as ethnographer and as narrative historian, including his rich descriptions of Egyptian civilization and its contributions to Greek culture and his dramatic account of the Persian wars

"Backgrounds and Commentaries" provide students with a context for understanding Herodotus’s place at the genesis of the historical narrative tradition. Great classical accounts by Aeschylus, Thucydides, Aristotle, and Plutarch serve as comparative pieces in early historical narrative while critical commentaries by modern scholars—including Hume, Mill, Macaulay, Collingwood, Momigliano, Ferrill, and others—engage students in the debate over Herodotus’s historical authority.

A master Map, Chronology of Events, Glossary of names, places, and terms, and explanatory footnotes facilitate the student’s understanding of this work. A Bibliography directs readers to resources for further study. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars Shipped different version without authorization!
I ordered a book for a class and the seller substitued (WITHOUT MY CONSENT) another version. I needed Norton Critical Editions and I was sent the Penquin edition. Not only did I not get what I ordered I have to waste my time and money ie gas to take this useless item back to the Post Office. Sure the seller has informed me that I just have to put return to sender and I will be refunded but the point is I should not have to take the time to deal with this as I have enough to do. Will now order from someone who will send the correct book and will take care to avoid this seller in the future!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful guide to Greek history
I always thought delving into Herodotus would be like pulling teeth.But after reading other reviews of the Norton Edition, I opted to purchase a copy.What a rich source of information!From the origin of the term "sissies," to triremes, to Xerxes ordering the flogging, fettering, branding and cursing of the Hellespont, this has been a most enjoyable reading adventure.I plan to re-read it many times.Kudos to translators Walter Blanco and Jennifer Tolbert Roberts.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for history buffs.
If either "The English Patient" or "300" peaked your interest in Herodotus and Greek history, you couldn't do much better than this version, with a great deal to say about the first historian, or the first gossip columnist.If you didn't find time to read Herodotus as an undergraduate, it's never too late, since he is as readable as ever.A good read for a non-Historian.

4-0 out of 5 stars The First Historian.
Herodotus was the first historian as we now understand the term.That is, he was the first to examine and compare sources of information about past events and to write them down.His reputation has waxed and waned over the centuries, and at the present time he is less well thought of than Thucydides.Yet CollingwoodThe Idea of History: With Lectures 1926-1928 favors Herodotus over Thucydides because Herodotus simply tries to tell us as best he can what actually happened, while Thucydides has a moral tale to tell, and may have (we can't be sure) tailored his narrative to fit his moral.

Be that as it may, Herodotus should be read by every educated person, since Western culture and civilization began in his time, and the events he describes affect us to this day.

Since most of us do not read ancient Greek, the question then arises as to which translation to read.Walter Blanco's translation in this Norton Critical Edition is quite good, but is by no means perfect.He tends to use casual language modern Americans are comfortable with, but this probably isn't the tone in which Herodotus wrote his books.There is evidence that he declaimed them orally to audiences in rather formal performances, more like modern dramatic readings than reading silently to oneself.

Blanco's version is definitely an improvement over the 19th century standard by RawlinsonThe Persian Wars (Modern Library College Editions), but David Grene's more formal language in The History seems more appropriate to me.There is also a very interesting online version by Shlomo Felberbaum, available at www.losttrails.com.

Here is a famous incident from Book VIII in each version:

Rawlinson:"And Themistocles succeeded in detaining the fleet in the way which I will now relate.He made over to Eurybiades five talents out of the thirty paid him, which he gave as if they came from himself; ..."

Grene:"This is how Themistocles made the Greeks stop there.He gave a share - five talents - of the money to Eurybiades, as though the money came from himself."

Blanco:"This is how Themistocles induced the Greeks to stay.He took three hundred pounds of this silver and gave it to Eurybiades as it if were actually coming from himself."

Felberbaum:"Then Themistocles made the Greeks hold up this way: to Eurybiades of that money he gave as a share five talents as if from his own forsooth he were making the gift."

A significant limitation of the Norton Edition is that it is not a complete translation.Many sections are left out, for example most of Book IX, which gives some of the links with the events later taken up by Thucydides.If you want to read all of Herodotus you won't get it in this translation, which is why I gave it four stars rather than five.

On the plus side, the background and commentary selections are very informative and helpful, and are alone well worth the price of the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding New Translation
This is a supurb presentation of the masterpiece of ancient history. The comentaries and backgrounds are especially valuable in developing an appreciation for the richness of our cultural heritage.This should enhance the accessibility of Herodotus to a wide audience. There are no better sources available. ... Read more


14. Herodotus: The Histories (Penguin Classics)
by Herodotus
Paperback: 688 Pages (1996-09-01)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$69.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140446389
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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During the fifth century BC, a small and quarrelsome band of Greek city-states united to repel a mighty Persian army. While the story of this heroic drama forms the main theme of Herodotus' narrative, the author's curiosity fleshes out the text with digressions, folk tales and stories. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Readable
My two students, thirteen and twelve, are reading through this translation.I am too.It is a very readable, understandable translation.

Sélincourt's translation is very clear, "Herodotus of Halicarnassus here displays his inquiry, so that human achievements may not become forgotten in time, and great and marvellous deeds- some displayed by Greeks, some be barbarians- may not be without their glory; especially to show why the two peoples fought with each other."

Herodotus gives us a fascinating look at the time around 650 B.C. -479 B.C.The details are extensive and mind boggling so thankfully at the back of this edition is a structural outline to help the reader follow the thread of Herodotus' narrative.He begins with the quarrel between the Greeks and barbarians.He tells of his opinion concerning Helen of Troy.Was she a willing captive?Was she really present during the Trojan Was in Troy?

Having already read Iliad and the Odyssey, Herodotus' explanation of 'xenia' and the great sin Paris committed in making off with the wife of his host as so absolutely heinous in that culture rang true.

The heartless barbarism of most of the kings is sickeningly fascinating.

I would recommend Elizabeth Vandiver's lectures from the teaching company on Herodotus and also the text book Omnibus I by Douglas Wilson and G. Tyler Fischer as great sources for teaching this great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Father of History.

Herodotus was born in Halicarnassus and lived from 484 until 429 B.C. These dates are approximate.

The History of Herodotus is divided into nine 'books' (we would call it chapters) each with a name of one of the nine Muzes: book 1 is Cleio, book 2 is Euterpe, book 3 is Thaleia, book 4 is Melpomene, book 5 is Terpsichore, book 6 is Erato, book 7 is Polymnia, book 8 Ourania and book 9 Calliope. Their names were given at random without a link to the content of each book.
Scholars believe that it wasn't Herodotus who used these names but that it was done probably by
an unknown copyist from the Hellenistic period (+- 300-200 B.C.).

Many critics say that there is no leading thread running through the nine books and that their digressions are used haphazardly with little explanation of historical events.
Those critics are not entirely wrong. Herodotus is fond of legends, myths and anecdotes ( in book 2
for instance we read an Egyptian horror story ) and let's face it; the Greeks themselves were fond of these things. Herodotus must have been a very popular writer in his time.
Modern historians though are not likely to use such things with minor importance in their scientific works.

There is a leading thread however but you have to simplify things a little. You could summarize Herodotus' work in three steps. 1. How Persia becomes a military power. 2. The conquest of Egypt by Persia. 3. Two attempts to conquer Greece and why they failed.
The first attempt fails in the battle of Marathon (490 B.C.). The second attempt is more complex but takes a turn in favor of the Greeks during the sea-battle of Salamis where the Persian fleet is almost destroyed. Legend ( or historical fact ? ) has it that Aeschylus - one of the three Tragedy Poets - participated in that battle. ( 480 B.C. ).

Herodotus proofs that literature from Antiquity can be entertaining.
Wh

4-0 out of 5 stars Intensely Valuable and Eminently Interesting
Although they constitute less than perfect history from a modern scholarly standpoint, the Histories of Herodotus are still noteworthy, not to mention eminently readable, today due to their emphasis on multiculturalism. The broad and inclusive nature of Herodotus' writings are particularly notable as multicultural documents because they branch out rather more widely than most writings of the ancient Greeks, a notoriously chauvinistic people who often harbored a parochial outlook.

Herodotus describes far too many people and things to touch on here. I will merely sketch a representative few and conclude with some general remarks. Among the interesting people Herodotus describes are the Persians. He remarks upon what he sees as the most interesting and notable features of their culture, such as the fact that they do not construct any images to serve as altars to their gods:as he says, "anyone who does such a thing is considered a fool." Also, like a good historian, he attempts to deduce the reason behind this practice:it presumably occurs because "the Persian religion is not anthropomorphic like the Greek."He also describes their method of sacrificing to the gods by comparing and contrasting it with the Greek method. The Persian reverence for birthdays is next noted -"Of all days in the year a Persian most distinguishes his birthday" - followed by some comments on their mode of eating; their method of eating was such that, they did not doubt, "Greeks leave the table hungry." The Persians are "very fond of wine" and never make a decision without going over it both while drunk and while sober. Persian society is very strictly divided along class lines, and they consider themselves "in every way superior to everyone else in the world." Despite this, it also harbors a very open attitude toward foreign customs; indeed, Herodotus claims, "No race is so ready to adopt foreign ways as the Persian." Persian men have multiple wives and numerous concubines. Of all things in the world, they abhor lying most "and, next to that, owing money."

Herodotus then goes on to describe some of the more interesting and notable customs of the Babylonians. They have a distinctive mode of dress, which includes ornamented, individually tailored walking sticks, for "it is not the custom to have a stick without some such ornament."Prostitution is rampant in Babylonia; indeed, it involves "nearly the prostitution of all girls of the lower classes." The Babylonians have an unusual custom of treating the sick:"They have no doctors, but bring their invalids out into the street, where anyone who comes along offers the sufferer advice on his complaint." Passing these unfortunates by without speaking is not allowed. Finally, they have burial practices that resemble those of Egypt and sexual rituals that resemble those of Arabia.

The Egyptians are another interesting Herodotus describes; he depicts them, through contrast, as inherently different from the Greeks. Indeed, he declares that they "seem to have reversed the ordinary practices of mankind." He offers the fact of women engaging in trade outside the home, while men stay behind and weave, as an example of this. Also, Egyptian men bear their burdens on their heads, whereas women shoulder their loads. They even weave in a manner opposite from "the normal way." Indeed, they differ from the Greeks - and, by extension in Herodotus' mind, from all other civilized people - in many other ways, including the fact that they write right to left "and obstinately maintain that theirs is the dexterous method, ours being left-handed and awkward." Women are repressed in Egyptian society both in matters of religion - "No woman holds priestly office" - and familial obedience:"Sons are under no compulsion to support their parents if they do not wish to do so, but daughters must, whether they wish to or not." They are obsessed with cleanliness and practice circumcision only "for cleanliness' sake." They also have strict dietary rules.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Herodotus' writings on the Egyptians, at least from a modern-day perspective, is his chronicle of the history surrounding the pyramids. As he tells it, these monumental works of art were commissioned by tyrannical and oppressive rulers, such as Cheops, who "brought the country into all sorts of misery." Furthermore, they were built by slave labor:his subjects were forced "without exception to labour as slaves for his own advantage." Indeed, Herodotus presents Cheops as a man completely determined to see a pyramid built in his honor, no matter what the cost. This self-centered determination led to actions such as the following harrowing event:"no crime was too great for Cheops:when he was short of money, he sent his own daughter to a brothel with instructions to charge a certain sum." Finally, Chephren, the successor to Cheops and the commissioner of the second great pyramid, is hardly given softer treatment:according to Herodotus, he was "no better than his predecessor." Like Cheops, he was determined to have a pyramid built, whatever the costs, and their two reigns together constituted a grim period in which Egypt was "reduced in every way to the greatest misery."

One of the later peoples Herodotus describes are the Scythians. In his account, he focuses primarily on their burial rituals, which he describes in considerable detail. The length and complexity of these rituals is quite extensive - and, by modern-day standards, extremely gruesome. A representative example of this brutality is shown in the following quotation:"various members of the king's household are buried beside him:one of his concubines, his butler, his cook, his groom, his steward, and his chamberlain--all of them strangled."Herodotus ends his discussion of the Scythians with a description of their drug-infused post-burial rituals; these include the use of prodigious amounts of hemp, which make the Scythians "howl with pleasure."

Despite a general air of objectivity, the Histories are thickly coated in their author's opinions; indeed, Herodotus allows himself to indulge in alternately praising and blaming those whom he chronicles far more often than modern historians ever would. In regard to the Persians, for instance, Herodotus praises their custom of separating boys from their fathers, in order to avoid grieving over a possible early death, for their first five years of life:"In my view this is a sound practice." He also respected what he saw as the justness of some of their laws:"I admire also the custom which forbids even the king to put a man to death for a single offence." In fact, Herodotus does not condemn a single Persian custom outright; his comments on their methods of burying and sacrificing, however, come off as ambivalent at best.

Herodotus is similarly opinionated when he writes about the Babylonians. In a judgment that undoubtedly comes as a shock to modern sensibilities, he lauds their practice of marrying off women via auction; he refers to it as both "ingenious" and "admirable." He also bemoans the fact that the practice was eventually discontinued. Despite this praise, though, he also censures the Babylonians by denouncing their tradition of requiring women to offer themselves to strangers at the temple of the goddess of love:he calls this act "the one custom amongst these people which is wholly shameful."

Herodotus is less opinionated when writing about the Egyptians; indeed, he does not overtly praise them in any way. He also does not censure them outright, except to say that they are "religious to excess, beyond any nation in the world." Aside from this, his constant depictions of them as different, although not necessarily backward, carry with them a subtle implication of criticism, although this never quite bubbles up to the surface. Herodotus is even more reticent, at least as far as offering opinions goes, when it comes to the Scythians. In his descriptions of them, he offers no clear praise or blame; in fact, he comes no closer than noting that their drug-fueled vapor baths give off a vapor that is "unsurpassed by any vapour-bath one could find in Greece."

Owing to the great differences in time and culture, it is extremely difficult for a modern-day reader to objectively judge Herodotus' opinions. To be sure, his loud praises of auctioning off Babylonian women and his matter-of-fact portrayals of the brutal Scythian burial rituals grate harshly on the modern ear. Despite this, though, one must keep in mind that Herodotus, like everyone else, was a product of his time and place and cannot be objectively condemned for holding these views, shocking as they may be to those alive today. Conversely, his striving for objectivity, although not always completely successful, is as admirable in him as it is in any historian - perhaps even more so, since it came so early in history.

As mentioned, though, his attempts at objectivity must be qualified - not only because he is unusually opinionated, when compared to modern historians, but also because some of his stories are difficult to believe. Of course, from a modern viewpoint, some of the stories that Herodotus tells, such as his descriptions of the aforementioned marriage and burial rituals, seem hopelessly outmoded and even barbaric - yet one knows that such practices went on in the ancient world, and these stories, incredible as they may seem, are probably genuine history. Other stories, though, come off as exaggerated, if not completely invented. For example, Herodotus' assertion that Egyptian "women urinate standing up, men sitting down" strikes one as seemingly contrary to human physiology, if not completely impossible. Despite falling within the realm of the possible, certain other stories, such as the Persians making sure to go over every decision while drunk, also tend to raise doubts about their authenticity in one's mind.

Finally, contrasting Herodotus' account of the pyramids with modern scholarly views is an enlightening experience that serves to shed further light on his status and credibility as a historian. His depictions of them differ from the prevailing views today in several important ways. For example, as previously mentioned, he writes that the great monuments were made almost entirely through slave labor, a suggestion that is generally rejected today. He also goes to great lengths to stress the tyrannical and oppressive natures of Cheops and Chephren, whereas modern historians tend to downplay, if not completely ignore this aspect of the issue. He further writes that the Egyptians employed cranes to assist them in building the monuments, while it is known today that ramps were actually used. Also, his measurements of the pyramids differ slightly from those taken today, but this may simply be due to the effects of erosion and other factors over time. Finally, he refers to an inscription made on one of the pyramids - "An inscription is cut upon it in Egyptian characters" - which is not to be found there today; it is impossible to determine, of course, if Herodotus added this detail to his narrative, or if the inscription once existed but has somehow disappeared. The extent to which Herodotus' depictions of the pyramids conform to modern scholarly views serves to underscore both his strengths and his weaknesses as a historian.


5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Read From Ancient Greece
Herodotus' account is vivid, pertinent, exciting, insightful, and often hilarious as he recounts the people, places, customs, and occurrences in early Greece leading up to the Persian invasion.

His account of the customs and manners of foreign lands, the behavior of kings, and the politics of battle will keep you engrossed.

Perhaps the most significant portion of this book deals with Xerxes and his invasion of Greece.This story contains the famous Battle of Thermopylae in which the 300 Spartans hold the Persians at bay.

I have compared this translation with about six other translations and found it to be as accurate as any and more readable than most.I highly recommend it, it is by far my favorite piece of early Greek literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars great volume
This is the perfect jumping off point if one is first coming to Herdotus...but if you want the full deal...go buy The Landmark Herodotus...will give you the maps and the info you need to fill in the imagination...trust me here...
BK ... Read more


15. The Persian Wars, Volume II: Books 3-4 (Loeb Classical Library)
by Herodotus
Hardcover: 448 Pages (1921-01-01)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$19.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0674991311
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Herodotus the great Greek historian was born about 484 BCE, at Halicarnassus in Caria, Asia Minor, when it was subject to the Persians. He travelled widely in most of Asia Minor, Egypt (as far as Assuan), North Africa, Syria, the country north of the Black Sea, and many parts of the Aegean Sea and the mainland of Greece. He lived, it seems, for some time in Athens, and in 443 went with other colonists to the new city Thurii (in South Italy), where he died about 430. He was 'the prose correlative of the bard, a narrator of the deeds of real men, and a describer of foreign places' (Murray).

Herodotus's famous history of warfare between the Greeks and the Persians has an epic dignity which enhances his delightful style. It includes the rise of the Persian power and an account of the Persian empire; a description and history of Egypt; and a long digression on the geography and customs of Scythia. Even in the later books on the attacks of the Persians against Greece there are digressions. All is most entertaining and produces a grand unity. After personal inquiry and study of hearsay and other evidence, Herodotus gives us a not uncritical estimate of the best that he could find.

The Loeb Classical Library edition of Herodotus is in four volumes.

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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars It must be Greek to me
Reading the Greek texts in the original is quite rewarding, especially since classical Greek is a tough nut to crack. Although I studied Greek for several years in schools and still brush it up as I go along, I often need help to understand some passages, especially syntactic forms that include untranslatable particles where dictionaries are of little or no help.Thus, I consider the Loeb Classical Library series second to none. I must admit that sometimes the Loeb translated text is an interpretation rather than actual translation and this makes understanding the Greek text challenging.For instance, the popular Greek double negative may be translated as a positive, a true interpretation but not a linguistic translation that would help the students of Greek clearly understand the original.

I must also mention the fact that in early Loeb editions, some going back 80 plus years which are available as used books at lower prices than new reprints, some passages of the English translation not only seem somewhat stilted to the modern reader, the result of using period English, but sometimes even necessitate consulting an English dictionary. However, most recent Loeb reprints have adapted the translation to modern forms.

In sum, the Loeb editions are invaluable in the sense of supplying the Greek (or Latin) original alongside a translation and thus indispensable to lovers of the ancient languages. When reading Loeb's Xenophons's Hellenica (and other Loeb histories, for instance) it helps so much to have the year the event being described printed in the margin.Rich indices and fold-out maps also enhance understanding and enjoyment. Finally, the retail price of these thick, cloth-bound, gold-stamped volumes ($21.50) is closer to that of run-of-the-mill trade paperbacks and much lower than that of trade hardcovers.

4-0 out of 5 stars achtung!
A question for this volume's previous reviewer: if the quality of the translation matters so much, why even buy H's Histories in Greek?In fact, if you, prospective buyer, want a great translation, forget about Loeb.Recreating in English (as Loeb does) Greek syntax, grammar and sentence structure often results in awkward, harsh prose.H's Histories did not sound awkward or at all unnatural to the ears of ancient readers, so Loeb's strictly-by-the-book accuracy, while a boon for the translator, actually renders an inaccurate picture of the text for the casual reader.Contrary to what the previous reviewer has said, then, Aubrey De Selincourt's translation (Penguin press) is actually very faithful and accurate in every way that matters, managing to be smooth and eminently readable while minimally dishonest to the original text.

That said, I encourage you, prospective reader, to consider whether you want a translation of the Greek or the Greek itself. If a translation, buy Penguin's.If the Greek, Loeb is fine: using its translation to see how an expert deals with certain constructions and translation issues can be of great assistance.Personally, I prefer Oxford's editions, though for mostly aesthetic reasons; theirs use better paper, better bindings, are better looking, and their Greek typeface is less crowded--and thus easier to read--than Loeb's. Amazon's look inside option will give you a sample of each volume, in case you'd like to compare them for yourself (you'll need to do an advanced book search: author, herodotus; title, historiae [you'll need to search for 'volume I' and 'volume II' separately]; publisher, oxford university press).Oxford classical texts, however, don't come with a translation--a problem easily rectified if you're willing to spend an extra $7 on Penguin's H. (Actually, I prefer not to have a translation availible when I read Greek, since a very thin and easy-to-cross line separates checking one's translations against that of an expert, and using that expert's work as a crutch.)

The two editions cost about as much as one another, so your only choice is between the better-designed but less beginner-friendly Herodotus text from Oxford (two volumes), and the beginner-friendly but smaller and less 'kalos' text from Loeb (four volumes).

5-0 out of 5 stars No series captures Herodotus like Loeb (forget Penguin!).
Designed with both the amateur and the professional classicist in mind theLoeb series captures Herodotus (and all the other authors I have read)better than any other series.Unlike other publishers (for examplePenguin) the Loeb seems truer to the original Greek, although my skill atreading ancient Greek is by no means exceptional; however, I can honestlytell a difference between the Loeb and the economy-translations.The Loebsmay cost a bit more than these other translations, but the price is worthit: they are extremely well made.There are, of course, other goodtranslations of Herodotus, such as the <> but this text only contains portions of Herodotus' work. I recommend the Loeb version to anyone seeking not just an excellenttranslation but a piece to add to their library as well. ... Read more


16. Herodotus and Sima Qian: The First Great Historians of Greece and China: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford Series in History and Culture)
by Thomas R. Martin
Paperback: 208 Pages (2009-09-08)
-- used & new: US$10.00
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Asin: 0312416490
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In this accessible volume, Thomas R. Martin compares the writings of Herodotus in ancient Greece with those of Sima Qian in ancient China to demonstrate the hallmarks of early history writing. While these authors lived in different centuries and were not aware of each other’s works, Martin shows the similar struggles that each grappled with in preparing their historical accounts and how their efforts helped invent modern notions of history writing and the job of the historian. The introduction’s cross-cultural analysis includes a biography of each author, illustrating the setting and times in which he worked, as well as a discussion of how each man introduced interpretation and moral judgment into his writing. The accompanying documents include excerpts from Herodotus’ The Histories and Sima Qian’s Shiji, which illustrate their approach to history writing and their understanding of their own cultures. Also featured are maps and illustrations, a chronology, questions to consider, and a selected bibliography.
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17. The Histories (Barnes & Noble Classics)
by Herodotus
Paperback: 624 Pages (2005-08-01)
list price: US$6.95 -- used & new: US$3.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1593081022
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The Histories, by Herodotus, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

 

The world's first great narrative history, Herodotus's The Histories vividly describes how the Greeks—few in number, poor, and disunited—managed to repulse a massive invasion by the powerful Persian army in the 5th century b.c. This amazing upset victory changed the course of western civilization, as the cities that led the resistance—Athens and Sparta—became the two major powers on the Greek mainland. The remarkable period that followed introduced revolutionary ideas about democracy, education, philosophy, drama, and—thanks to Herodotus—the writing of history.

A wonderful storyteller, Herodotus filled the Histories with amusing anecdotes and dialogue, human details about the lives of important political figures, and a kaleidoscope of viewpoints from people of many lands. Magnificent in compass and enormously entertaining, the Histories is not only the leading source of original information for Greek history during the all-important period between 550 and 479 b.c., but also an artistic masterpiece that created a new genre of literature.

 
Features maps of several noted battles, index of proper names, and a general index.
 

Donald Lateiner teaches Greek, Latin, Ancient History and Comparative Folklore in the Humanities-Classics department at Ohio Wesleyan University. His scholarship focuses on Homer and Herodotus. He has published a book on each. He also researches nonverbal behaviors in ancient literature.

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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Father of History has something for everyone
Herodotus's The Histories is an immense trove of knowledge. He is often given the handle Father of History as his pioneering work help set the stage for the field of historians. The Histories tell the story of the Greek and Persian Wars. This is the first and only surviving history by a ancient writer about the Greco-Persian Wars. We wouldn't have details about the Spartan last stand at Thermopylai or the Greek victories at Marathon, Salamis, and Plataia without Herodotus. But, the scope of The Histories does not stop there. It gives the story of many peoples and events that connect the dots to give a complete background of the conflict. The Histories covers the following:

* Croesus the last king of Lydia and their defeat to the Persians including the reasons for the conflict
* History of the Medes and how they came under Persian power
* Persia's development into an empire under Cyrus
* The History, Geography, Customs of Egypt
* Some insights into the Trojan War
* The Persian conquest of Egypt
* The Persian failed attempt to conquer the Scythians
* The History, Geography, Customs of Scythia
* The events leading up to the revolt of the Ionians
* The quashing of the Ionian Rebellion
* The Persian defeat at Marathon
* The second Persian invasion and defeat in Greece

Herodotus's style may put off some readers. As he is describing one storyline, he drifts into related topics to provide background. So it takes patience or a love the subject to truly enjoy Herodotus. What I found most interesting is how he presents the various sides of a story. He will describe the differences in what various parties say is the truth and then provide his opinion on which is correct.

I liked the introduction by Donald Lateiner. It provided good insight into who Herodotus was, the style of his writing, and how he was perceived by his peers. Lateiner also provides some notes to assist the reader during the text and provides dates to establish the timeline; however, I think he could of done more here to provide clarification on what was just myth and what Herodotus got right. The is an extensive section covering recommendations for further reading with brief descriptions. There are some maps including one for each of the major Greco-Persian battles, but it still felt lacking. While this is a good version of the book, my 5 star rating is for Herodotus not so much this version of it.

5-0 out of 5 stars From Great Authors are Great Books apt to come forth!
This is the first time that I ever studied Herodotus. Nevertheless, Donald Lateiner's excellent introduction allowed even a novice like me to gain an understanding of the marvelous world which Herodotus describes, of the historian himself and of his methods, and of the lasting influence of 'The Histories.' The translation by G.C. Macauly is very lyrical and a true joy to read (I cannot, unfortunately, compare it to other translations). Donald Lateiner provides a list of the other major translations of 'The Histories' for those who are interested. As for 'The Histories' themselves, what can I possibly say: they are the most comprehensive view of ancient Europe and the Middle East ever penned. Here are wonders to amaze the soul, forgotten realms and far away lands, tales of the common people as well as the greatest kings, and philosophies to enlighten and transcend the mind. History at its finest. Herodotus not only wrote the first prose narrative, but also one of the best!!! I wish I could give it an infinite number of stars- a mere five is simply not enough! ... Read more


18. The Histories (Oxford World's Classics)
by Herodotus
Paperback: 840 Pages (1998-09-15)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$7.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0192824252
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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"The father of history," as Cicero called him, and a writer possessed of remarkable narrative gifts, enormous scope, and considerable charm, Herodotus has always been beloved by readers well-versed in the classics. Compelled by his desire to "prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time," Herotodus recounts the incidents preceding and following the Persian Wars. He gives us much more than military history, though, providing the fullest portrait of the classical world of the 5th and 6th centuries. This readable new translation is supplemented with expansive notes to help the reader appreciate the book in depth. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

2-0 out of 5 stars 10,000 Rabbit Trails
This is a very fine translation of one of the most important books from the ancient world. Be forewarned, this is not easy reading for the ordinary or casual reader of history. The university level teacher or classical scholar will savor every page. Herodotus does not give you a simple narrative. He starts you out and then runs you down ten thousand rabbit trails so you may forget where you started and where you were trying to go. He introduces names and places in a staggering volume in just a few pages. He will introduce a person and then tell you all about his great grandfather,grandfather,father,mother,siblings, every person he killed and every woman he ever slept with. He goes to great length to tell you how the Greeks chose their commanding general at the Battle of Marathon but he gives you sparse detail about how they actually won that famous conflict. The breadth of people and events Herodotus covers is huge but the pathway is not linear.

5-0 out of 5 stars Huzzah for Herodotus! The Ultimate Enquiry Mind
What amazed me about this book was Herodotus'curiosity and lack of ethnocentrisism. Herdotus wasn't simply interested in chronicling major events, but delving deeper to understand why the events occured in the first place.Furthermore, he does something that many scholars and policy makers today should do more of; that is, he trys to understand other cultures in order to make more sence of their actions. In this endeavor, he should not only be called the "Father of History", but also the Father of Anthropology.But, perhaps he understood way back then that history and anthropology, as well as geography are all complimentary.

While Herodotus - being a Greek himself - undoubtedly sees the Greeks as heroes in their struggle against the Persian invasion, he shows them to be extremely jealous, greedy, arrogant and even treacherous.This is something that many of the ancient world - including the Greek world - would rarely do to their own kind.Therefore, Herodotus is also one of the first examples of someone critquing their own culture.

Herodotus makes it clear that the causes of conflict were complex - often stemming from selfishness, such as the Greek Histiaeus wanting to start an Ionian revolt just so he could leave the Persian court - and the "heroes" were no knights in shining armour.The best example is Themistocles, who was instrumental in saving Athens due to his insistence in forcing a sea battle in the Salamis straights. Rather than dying with the reputation as a heroe, he ended his life in excile collaborating with the Persians against Greece.It would be as if after leading the Americans to victory in the American Revelution and being President, George Washington was exciled to England and became and an advisor to the British king on how to retake America.

While it may not have been his intention, one irony that becomes apparent regarding the Spartans and Athenians is that democratic Athens has an imperialist impulse from the outset of their victory at Salamis, while the oligarchic - some may even say proto-facist - state of Sparta is very reluctant to take any offensive measures and are rather content to stay in their peninsula. They were complaining about simply sending troops into central Greece to stop the Persians.

Unfortunately, many "progressive" historians cut out the inconvenient truths of this history and make it into more of a black and white affair.For me, it was Herodotus' inquisitive mind, search for the truth - by revealing contridictory accounts - and, relative to ancient authors, very unbiased account that makes this work a must read for anyone interested in western civilization, ancient history, and world history in general.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun book
This is great, fun book to read. This is a book you can read for enjoyment. I was reluctant to read it because I assumed it would be difficult because it was written around 425 BC. I assumed because it was ancient it would be difficult to read. That was wrong. It's a very entertaining read. It's also extremely interesting. Herodotus was a very smart and learned man for his time and it is interesting to read what he thinks. And the commentaries at the back of the book are also well done. Often the commentaries will note that Herodotus is just wrong in what he says, but sometimes he's right. I find myself switching between Herodotus and the commentaries. If you're at all interested in ancient history, you will not regret buying and reading this.

4-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent text, great translation, helpful notes, misguided organization
Herodotus's Histories are a treasure trove of wisdom, anecdotes and sheer joy. In the words of Robert D. Kaplan, "Thucydides may have been the more trustworthy historian, but Herodotus would have been more fun to share a wineskin with--and is a better guide to the god-filled geopolitics of the current era." (Kaplan's remarkable article on Herodotus, titled "A Historian for our Time", is available at [...]

I fully agree with other reviewers about the beauty of this translation, which results in a fluent and pleasant text. I am also overwhelmed at the abundance of notes and commentaries about perhaps most paragraphs in the book.

The problem is, while the translation increases our reading pleasure, the organization of this edition does not help the reader: the use of endnotes rather than footnotes means that readers have to keep moving to and fro between the text and the end of the book. Worse still, there is no footnote numbering, so readers must turn at virtually every paragraph to the end of the book, so as not to miss possible clarification. Eventually, I decided to check before reading each of the nine chapters ("Books") and mark the endnoted paragraphs myself.

Perhaps Oxford's intention was, as another reviewer put it, to ensure that notes were "unobtrusive" and the reader would have the clean text before his eyes. I beg to differ: few modern readers could do without the additional explanations provided in the notes. And, if they felt they could, or so wished, they would have a wealth of translations to choose from, much poorer in notes than this one.

I think no other edition of the "Histories" has so many maps. These are necessary and helpful. But they could have been clearer. In some of them, it is hard to tell land from sea, for example.

I do look forward to a "Landmark Herodotus" similar to the magnificent "Landmark Thucydides", with notes AND maps exactly where they are needed, so the reader never has to leave the page he is reading. This may sound shallow, but it greatly facilitates concentration. And this, after all, is supposed to be one of the main benefits of a fluent and pleasant text in the first place.

5-0 out of 5 stars Joy to read!
Growing up in Turkey, every student had to study world history including the events covered in this book. However, our history lessons consisted of memorizing dates and names of what was in the state approved text books. The contrast of that approach, to learning history by reading the original works is huge. What a joy it is to read Herodotus' book! The book is about the Persian Empire which was huge extending from India and Central Asia to the Danube in Europe. I loved the diversions from the main events and all the stories and myths.Besides the well known Persian/Greek wars there were so many other lesser known but just as exciting events. One of them was Darius's expedition into Southern Russia to attack the nomadic Scythians. I didn't realize that Darius attacked them from the West crossing the Danube.The building of the bridge over Danube and the hardships in crossing rivers in old times was eye opening.I also loved the maps and read all the 200 pages! of historical notes and a section on ancient weights, units, and money.

If you enjoyed this book you might also enjoy the "Peloponnesian War" by Donald Kagan. Although written by a contemporary historian, it reads as if you are watching the events in person. Fantastic reading for history lovers.
... Read more


19. The Histories (Oxford World's Classics)
by Herodotus
Hardcover: 848 Pages (1998-05-07)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$20.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0192126091
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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"The father of history," as Cicero called him, and a writer possessed of remarkable narrative gifts, enormous scope, and considerable charm, Herodotus has always been beloved by readers well-versed in the classics. Recently, the critical and popular acclaim for The English Patient, whose hero makes The Histories his constant companion, has attracted a new, and wider, audience.

Compelled by his desire to "prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time," Herotodus recounts the incidents leading up to the Persian Wars and the Greeks' stunning victory over the more powerful invading Persian forces. But Herotodus gives us much more than military history. By employing multiple points of view and incorporating the diverse stories he collected during his extensive travels, Herotodus provides the fullest portraitof the classical world of the 5th and 6th centuries. And because he writes in a style highly susceptible to digression, his book includes all manner of marvelous observations--from ants the size of dogs in India, to people who live in caves and chirp like bats in Libya, to flying snakes in Egypt. Most importantly, throughout The Histories Herotodus shows us the ruin that comes to those who overreach their natural boundaries, who fail to heed sensible warnings or act without understanding the web of reciprocity that connects all things.

This superbly readable new translation, along with an illuminating introduction, provides readers all they need to appreciate Herodotus' enduring appeal. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars The best edition of this classic
I would give 5 stars, except for some design and layout issues: the notes are at the rear of the book, very inconvenient, and the margins are a bit narrow for such a thick book. And I miss the traditional OUP blue cloth binding. The translation itself was modern, conversational, I'm glad I picked this edition to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Original history...........
In The Histories, Herodotus gives us the Greco-Persian wars and the epic events which led up to them.Beginning with Croeseus' loss of Lydia to Cyrus, Herodotus deftly relates the creation and expansion of the Persian empire and ends with the Persian military defeat at Mycale.Herodotus' writings will challenge the reader as during his narratives he often abruptly changes tack and sets of on a seemingly unrelated aside.However, he does eventually return to his original subject and the reader soon learns to enjoy this ad hoc style.In the end, these departures combine to provide a thoroughly comprehensive whole.

The Histories are best when Herodotus narrates events, however his descriptives of people and places can, at times, render the reader a touch glassy-eyed.This is most apparent when Herodotus, early on, devotes an entire book to Egypt and it's people.Libya, too, receives the same treatment later on and, for those in tune with his typically fast-paced narrative, it can present a bit of a bog.The battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plaetea are all wonderfully recounted and, overall, The Histories is a marvelous work and should be required reading for all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Do Yourself a Favor
I agree with some of the above reviews, disagree with others. The ones I read were interesting and brought back pleasant memories of time I spent reading this book. Something I can add is the following emphatic: Do Not Die Without Reading This Book.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'd levelmy best corn field to find a copy!
Right on, David Wilson, I couldn't agree more!Although the reader who expects straight history would be better off with Thucydides, those interested in the culture, folklore, and ambience of classical Greece woulddo well to read this immensely engaging and accessible work. Far more thansimply good story-telling, "The Histories" abounds with recurringthemes and ideas that qualify its author as a great literary mind, not amere historical curiosity.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT!!!
I thought this was a fantastic book.It shows not only insights into thelives of people from 2500 years ago, but shows how little our motivationshave changed.Every digression by Herodotus is not only pardonable, butentertaining.

This translation is very readable compared to those otherswhich I only started and put down.I have no ability to assess theaccuracy of the translation, however. ... Read more


20. The Cambridge Companion to Herodotus (Cambridge Companions to Literature)
Paperback: 400 Pages (2006-06-19)
list price: US$35.99 -- used & new: US$26.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521536839
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Popularly known as the 'Father of History', Herodotus is the first major prose writer in the history of Western literature whose work has survived in full. At a time when the ancient Greeks' knowledge of the past relied on orally transmitted memories, he was a pioneering historical practitioner who explored the interplay of myth and history and the role of narrative in history. Contributors to this volume analyze Herodotus' Histories and their influence. Taking a thematic approach, they explore the Histories and their context, techniques and themes, representation of the Greeks' relationships with foreigners and reception. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Armchair Companion
"Arnaldo Momigliano remarked of Herodotus nearly forty years ago that 'the secrets of his workshop are not yet all out', and this is still the case;paradoxically, new approaches to the ancient world and to the writing of history in general have shown more clearly how little we understand the genesis of this great work and Herodotus' own accomplishment."
-- The Cambridge Companion to Herodotus (Cambridge Companions to Literature series)

I am in the process of reading THE HISTORIES by Herodotus and I just wanted to post what an invaluable resource this book is. I will not list the table of contents and the vast number of classical scholars that have contributed to this book (you only have to take a peek at the Table of Contents above to gain that useful information); but I would like to note that Carolyn Dewald and John Marincola who edited this book did a fantastic job; not solely as editors, but also as contributors.

There are few editors who can do such a credible job of evaluating the literary aspects of a work as great as this undertaking was.Some believe Herodotus to be the father of history -- while others cannot understand or fathom some of his other portrayals of the non-Greek lands and yet others like to criticize his stories which were steeped in oral tradition.

But Dewald and Marincola get beyond all of the above and have focused in this book on the literary aspects of Herodotus and point out the greatness of his writing.That despite some of the factual debates that rage on,that his words still do make him the first historian of Western tradition and that their focus was on this literary masterpiece viewing him as an artist who was "also" the creator of this first inquiry into cause and effect.

Some of the chapters examine Herodotus as a "literary craftsman".These essays show how Herodotus was able to bridge for his readers the wonder of the literary past of his own Greek culture with the wonderful achievement and historical work which we have with us today.This ancient was able to give us a glimpse into what life was like and what was valued over 2500 years ago!

In reading Herodotus, I have found this resource a valuable one and frankly there are not many resources which span multiple topic areas as does this compilation.Many of the others seem to focus on historical references or their specific hypotheses.This book synthesizes the various views of Herodotus as a literary work and assists the reader who may be meeting Herodotus in his travels for the very first time as I am. For those of you who are traveling with Herodotus like I am doing today and are reading his formidable work for the first time, Dewald's and Marincola's edition will become your staunch and faithful armchair companion.

Bentley/2008

5-0 out of 5 stars Herodotus's Workshop
Herodotus, called at times the "father of history" and the "father of lies," was the most important early non-fiction writer in Greece.This is an excellent collection of essays on Herodotus.

The emphasis is more on the literary than the historical context, so the reader might want to supplement this work with other writings, such as Nino Luraghi's excellent THE HISTORIAN'S CRAFT IN THE AGE OF HERODOTUS. ... Read more


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