Top positive review
73 people found this helpful
on 14 March 2003
Eusebius of Caesarea is not the easiest classical author, but G. A. Williamson's translation has done an excellent job of placing the text in a format, both readable accessible to the modern reader.
Eusebius is an essential source for anyone studying classical Roman history, or early Christianiy, because he is one the few writers who is preserved to us, almost in his entirety. The actual history that he gives us is invaluable - some accounts of events attested no where else, as well alternative accounts of events that are well known from history.
It should be said, Eusebius is problematic - he is tendentious is his style of writing, and occasionally distorts what actually happened. If you read Eusebius, read it with a good commentary.
As far as this particular edition goes, its very good but not perfect. The style chosen in the text works well, with quotations used by Eusebius in smaller font (and there are a lot of these!), and his own text larger, which allows the reader to distinguish between his sources.
Additionally, A. Louth has included in his revisions a useful Who's Who for the reader, so if you are searching Eusebius for a particular passage on one personality, you should be able to find it relatively easily. Some brief appendices explain some awkward points of history too, e.g. the ancient calendar.
Unfortunately, there is no index which is quite disappointing. Eusebius contains information on so many places, events and people, that an index would have been very useful indeed. The Who's who eases this situation somewhat, but having to search through his accounts for specific mentions of events can be time consuming.
As with any Penguin classical text the translation is somewhat freer than would be ideal, but it is aimed at readability over accuracy, and where it does go beyond the text, it is never too extreme.
Overall, this is an excellent translation, and a thoughtful and useful edition that should be advantageous to anyone studying Eusebius without Greek or Latin.