The first historian, Herodotus was also arguably the most ambitious. To explain the military triumph of Greece over superior Persian forces in the years leading up to 479 BCE, he saw fit to describe Egyptian mummification and even a species of ant reputed to gather gold in India. Successfully navigating his sprawling Histories requires a background knowledge of ancient geography and events largely unfamiliar to modern readers. Organized by Robert B. Strassler--an amateur classicist who previously edited a popular edition of Thucydides--The Landmark Herodotus considerably improves accessibility by integrating hundreds of maps and extensive timelines, effectively outfitting the Histories with a spatio-temporal GPS. In this new edition, casual readers will have no trouble following the Persian pursuit of the Carians across the Maeander River in 497, or finding out, by way of the extensive index, how the Carians helped Psammetichos become king of Egypt more than a century earlier. This is a real service, yet the deeper achievement of The Landmark Herodotus is to amplify the first historian's own epic accomplishment: Herodotus understood that all events interrelate, and attempted to locate the war between Greece and Persia within this vast web. His "omnivorous curiosity," as Strassler calls it, has given way to the narrower professionalism that began with Thucydides and continues to this day. The Landmark Herodotus stands as a challenge, demonstrating how history defies specialization.Jonathan Keats
Editor Strassler, who won praise for his work on The Landmark Thucydides, takes on another fifth-century B.C.E. Greek historian. This exhaustive work includes a new translation of Herodotus's texts, along with maps, photos, and tons of textual notes. Quite impressive.
“The most densely annotated, richly illustrated, and user friendly edition of his Histories ever to appear.”—Daniel Mendelsohn, The New Yorker“A first-rate achievement. Nothing is missing.... Like a Global Positioning System for Herodotus's world. Strassler has made it simply impossible to get lost.”—The New York Sun“Stunning.... Bears the same superb production and scholarly qualities of his earlier The Landmark Thucydides.... Andrea Purvis' new translation is taut and lucid.”—Houston Chronicle“A real service. . . .Considerably improves accessibility by integrating hundreds of maps and extensive timelines, amplifies the first historian's own epic accomplishment.”—Forbes