Histories (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Histories (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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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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