Histories

Histories

4.0 28
by Herodotus
     
 

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Herodotus (c480-c425) is 'The Father of History' and his Histories are the first piece of Western historical writing. They are also the most entertaining.

Why did Pheidippides run the 26 miles and 385 yards (or 42.195 kilometres) from Marathon to Athens? And what did he do when he got there? Was the Battle of Salamis fought between sausage-sellers? Which is the

Overview

Herodotus (c480-c425) is 'The Father of History' and his Histories are the first piece of Western historical writing. They are also the most entertaining.

Why did Pheidippides run the 26 miles and 385 yards (or 42.195 kilometres) from Marathon to Athens? And what did he do when he got there? Was the Battle of Salamis fought between sausage-sellers? Which is the oldest language in the world? Why did Leonidas and his 300 Spartans spend the morning before the battle of Thermopylae combing their hair? Why did every Babylonian woman have to sit in the Temple of Aphrodite until a man threw a coin into her lap, and how long was she likely to sit there? And what is the best way to kill a crocodile?

This wide-ranging history provides the answers to all these fascinating questions as well as providing many fascinating insights into the Ancient World.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Histories:
“Unquestionably the best English translation of Herodotus to have appeared in the past half-century…I am in awe of Tom Holland’s achievement, and have no doubt it will bear rich fruit in bringing Herodotus to public attention”
– Edith Hall, Times Literary Supplement

“Lively, engaging version of the Histories…[an] admirable translation”
The Economist

Praise for In the Shadow of the Sword:
"Written with flamboyant elegance and energetic intensity, Holland delivers a brilliant tour de force of revisionist scholarship and thrilling storytelling with a bloodspattered cast of swashbuckling tyrants, nymphomaniacal empresses and visionary prophets. The book is unputdownable."
The Times of London

Praise for Rubicon:
"Tom Holland has produced in one volume the crispest and most compelling account of this momentous period I have ever read."
The Seattle Times

Praise for Persian Fire:
"Excellent... Holland is a cool-headed historian who writes no less authoritatively and engagingly on classical Greece than he did on ancient Rome in his last book, Rubicon"
—Mary Beard, The Sunday Times 

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781848704831
Publisher:
Wordsworth Editions, Limited
Publication date:
02/01/2013
Series:
Classics of World Literature
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
768
File size:
1 MB

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From the Trade Paperback edition.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“De Sélincourt’s pacy, natural-sounding, rendering, as superbly revised and annotated by John Marincola…was a game-changer…still reads freshly and is a bestseller six decades after its first publication.”
—Edith Hall,  Times Literary Supplement

Meet the Author

Often referred to as the “father of history,” Herodotus was born in what is now modern-day Turkey in 484 BCE. He travelled the world in order to collect eyewitness accounts of the Greco-Persian Wars and conduct first-hand research, and his work is amongst the earliest Greek prose to survive in its entirety. Although Herodotus’s method of collecting information was unique for the time, he, like many Greek scholars of the period, is criticized for manipulating his reporting of events and witnesses accounts in order to improve the narrative tone. The Histories is Herodotus’s only known work, and is still referred to by modern historians as providing an important perspective on life in ancient times. Recently, Herodotus’s written account of the Battle of Thermopylae was adapted into the film 300 by Zack Snyder. Herodotus is said to have died in 625 BCE at the age of 60, although this date cannot be confirmed.

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Histories (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Dierckx More than 1 year ago
( 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.
Time_Traveller More than 1 year ago
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.

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.

I thoroughly recommend this book to history lovers. Even those who usually don't read histories may find their interest piqued by Herodotus.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
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