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The Histories (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 17 Apr 2008
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Herodotus is not only known as the 'father of history', as Cicero called him, but also the father of ethnography; as well as charting the historical background to the Persian Wars, his curiosity also prompts frequent digression on the cultures of the peoples he introduces. While much of the information he gives has proved to be astonishingly accurate, he also entertains us with delightful tales of one-eyed men and gold-digging ants. This readable new translation is supplemented with expansive notes that provide readers the background that they need to appreciate the book in depth. * Introduction * Textual Note *Bibliography * Chronology * Appendices * Glossary * Maps * Explanatory Notes * Textual Notes * Index of Proper Names
About the Author
Carolyn Dewald is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Southern California. Robin Waterfield is a distinguished translator whose version of Plato's Republic has been described as `the best available'.
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All set in a world where Kings held the unquestioned right to do whatever they wanted, to whoever they wanted and where the life and death decisions of nations could be based on dreams, whims, insanity, consulting incomprehensible oracles, or gods (a god could even be a cow).
All translated into very readable English, but there are lots and lots and lots of names to remember as you read.
The only thing is that you cannot read too much of it in one go. You have to portion it: 20 pages now, 20 pages in the evening and so on. Reading it in a few days would give you a headache as it is filled with details and data (and you will not remember most of what you read - same as with a loooong and very dry and boring history lesson). So it is a book to be slowly "digested"/enjoyed.
The Histories is somehow a cross between a travel guide and a true history of the Persian invasions of Greece. In many ways the anecdotes on culture and customs are the substance of the book, but the final battles against the Persian under Xerxes still feature in our culture today - Thermopylae, immortalised by the stand of the Spartan 300 being the best example.
I read the first book before finding the Appendix with notes on the units of measure used by Herodotus - worth reading!
I've already read part of this book - it's a fantastic piece of writing. And it comes with a detailed and in-depth introduction, which is a must-read for anybody hoping to get their heads around this book - it is complex (as one would expect of a Greek writing in the 400's BC!) but once you read the intro it's perfectly easy to get your head around... well, most of it. A fantastic account of the Greek and Persian Wars, a definite must for those who want to understand this period of Ancient History.
This book also acts as a sort of prequel to Thucydides' 'History of the Peloponnesian War'. Another must-read book for those wanting to know more about the Ancient Greeks. You'll find yourself quite surprised by how they turn out to be!
Can't fault it!
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