The Histories

( 29 )

Overview

'No one is fool enough to choose war instead of peace – in peace sons bury fathers, but in war fathers bury sons

One of the masterpieces of classical literature, the Histories describes how a small and quarrelsome band of Greek city states united to repel the might of the Persian empire. But while this epic struggle forms the core of his work, Herodotus’ natural curiosity frequently gives rise to colourful digressions – a description of the natural wonders of Egypt; an account ...

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The Histories (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

'No one is fool enough to choose war instead of peace – in peace sons bury fathers, but in war fathers bury sons

One of the masterpieces of classical literature, the Histories describes how a small and quarrelsome band of Greek city states united to repel the might of the Persian empire. But while this epic struggle forms the core of his work, Herodotus’ natural curiosity frequently gives rise to colourful digressions – a description of the natural wonders of Egypt; an account of European lake-dwellers; and far-fetched accounts of dog-headed men and gold-digging ants. With its kaleidoscopic blend of fact and legend, the Histories offers a compelling Greek view of the world of the fifth century BC.

This celebrated translation of The Histories has been extensively revised and includes an updated bibliography, chronology, glossary and additional notes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This edition reproduces the fluent pace and readability of Herodotus' world-encompassing work. Mensch has produced a close translation of Herodotus' Greek that is also an engrossing read in English. As an old-time Herodotean, I found myself drawn into Herodotus' universe of history and story all over again. Combined with Romm's elegant introduction, which conveys the lure of Herodotus' work, the lucid maps and tables, and the pertinent, uncluttered notes, this is an edition to read for pleasure and for education. I recommend it to future students of Herodotus and their instructors, and to any reader who wants to discover and rediscover Herodotus in a vibrant new translation. -—Emily Greenwood, Yale University

Unadorned, readable, reliable. . . . If you want your Herodotus straight, but with no forfeiture of readability, I suggest Mensch. -—Simon Hornblower, in The Wall Street Journal

Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-04-08
A delightful new translation of what is widely considered the first work of history and nonfiction.Herodotus has a wonderful, gossipy style that makes reading these histories more fun than studying the rise of the Persian Empire and its clash with Greece—however, that's exactly what readers will do in this engaging history, which is full of interesting digressions and asides. Holland (In the Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire, 2012, etc.), whose lifelong devotion to Herodotus, Thucydides and other classical writers is unquestionable, provides an engaging modern translation. As Holland writes, Herodotus' "great work is many things—the first example of nonfiction, the text that underlies the entire discipline of history, the most important source of information we have for a vital episode in human affairs—but it is above all a treasure-trove of wonders." Those just being introduced to the Father of History will agree with the translator's note that this is "the greatest shaggy-dog story ever written." Herodotus set out to explore the causes of the Greco-Persian Wars and to explore the inability of East and West to live together. This is as much a world geography and ethnic history as anything else, and Herodotus enumerates social, religious and cultural habits of the vast (known) world, right down to the three mummification options available to Egyptians. This ancient Greek historian could easily be called the father of humor, as well; he irreverently describes events, players and their countless harebrained schemes. Especially enjoyable are his descriptions of the Persians making significant decisions under the influence and then waiting to vote again when sober. The gifts Herodotus gave history are the importance of identifying multiple sources and examining differing views.A feast for students of ancient history and budding historians of any period.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786115914
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/1999
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 2.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Few facts are known about the life of Herodotus. He was born around 490 BC in Halicarnassus, on the southwest coast of Asia Minor.
 
Tom Holland is the acclaimed author of The Forge of Christendom, Rubicon, and Persian Fire and has adapted Herodotus, Homer, Thucydides, and Virgil for BBC Radio.
 
Paul Cartledge is A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge.
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Table of Contents


The Histories Preface
Introduction
1. Herodotus' Life and Work
2. The Subject-Matter of The Histories
3. Herodotus' sources and Metho Histories
4. Structure and Themes in The Histories
5. Herodotus' Later Reputation

Further Reading
A Note on the Text
Maps

Herodotus The Histories
Book One
Book Two
Book Three
Book Four
Book Five
Book Six
Book Seven
Book Eight
Book Nine

Glossary
Structural Outline
Chronology
Abbreviations
Notes
Index

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The 'The Father of History.

    ( This is what we are used to call him. Of course Herodotus is not the Father because History existed already long before he was born. The Father of Written History would be more accurate).
    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. ).

    I give Herodotus 4 stars because - though he's an interesting read - Thycidides uses a more scientific and 'modern' approach in his description of the Peloponnesian War.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An informative look into the ancient world that at times reads like a thrilling historical novel.

    Herodotus provides insights to man's way of thinking almost two and a half millenia ago. Surprisingly, aside from the knowledge that we have progressively acquired through the ages, you will find that we have generally remained the same as to our needs and desires. There are thorough descriptions of several ancient cultures, including an in depth discussion of Egyptian history and current (at the time) culture. There are also insights into Greek, Persian and Scythian peoples of that time. Although it becomes clear that Herodotus gets a bit sensational and fantastic and that the details of this history are not to be trusted on their own merits, the book on a whole seems to give a good picture of what went on back then.<BR/><BR/>Herodotus is an excellent story teller. At times the book reads as a gripping adventure, especially when he gets to describing the rise of Cyrus the Great, the Greco-Persian War in general and the Battle of Thermopylae in particular.<BR/><BR/>I thoroughly recommend this book to history lovers. Even those who usually don't read histories may find their interest piqued by Herodotus.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2005

    From Great Authors are Great Books apt to come!

    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!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2005

    A Real Value

    The value of this inexpensive volume lies in the sheer pleasure of reading Herodotus, the Greek writer who ¿invented¿ history as it should be written. Every page testifies to a mind at work on facts (or myths or legends) that are shaped into a narrative to be valued as a whole as well for its parts. For the non-specialist, especially one on a budget, this volume offers a readable translation (which the editor revamped from G.C. Macaulay¿s late 19th century translation) plus Lateiner¿s succinct but informative 17-page introduction. A bibliography directs the curious to additional resources. And a 60-page index provides entry to readers seeking specific information. This is not the Herodotus a specialist would seek. But it is as good a Herodotus as the general reader or college student could want, and at a decent price.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 6, 2014

    Awesome....!Beautiful....!Wonderful....!I really enjoy it.....!

    Awesome....!Beautiful....!Wonderful....!I really enjoy it.....!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 28, 2014

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2005

    The 'Father' of History.

    ( This is what we are used to call him. Of course Herodotus is not the Father because History existed already long before he was born. The Father of Written History would be more accurate). Herodotus was born in Halicarnassus and lived from +- 484 until +- 429 B.C. These dates are approximatif. The History of Herodotus is divided into nine 'books' (we would speak of 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 haphazard 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 summerize 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. ). I give Herodotus 4 stars because - though he's an interesting read - Thycidides uses a more scientific and 'modern' approach in his description of the Peloponnesian War.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted February 9, 2012

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    Posted November 16, 2008

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