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The Histories by Herodotus

The Histories

by Herodotus

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,34660478 (4.14)5 / 220
  1. 60
    The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides (Voracious_Reader)
    Voracious_Reader: More emotional and probably less factually accurate than Herodutus, it's more fun to read. Its inaccuracies do not take away from its amazing quality
  2. 40
    Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuściński (BGP)
  3. 30
    Soldier of the Mist by Gene Wolfe (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Soldier of the Mist is dedicated to Herodotus, draws heavily upon The Histories for reference material and is set concurrently with the events towards the end (the sacking of Athens and retreat of the Persians) and continues after
  4. 30
    Biblioteca by Fozio (timspalding)
    timspalding: It's instructive to read Herodotus alongside the fragments of Ctesias, particularly the Indica—available on the web or in Photius here.
  5. 20
    History of the Twelve Caesars by Suetonius (gbill)
  6. 11
    Creation by Gore Vidal (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: Bold revisionist treatment in novel form. Masterfully written in the first person singular. Much more fun to read and much greater in scope account of the 5th century BC.

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Wordsworth Classics, Paperback, 1996.

8vo. xxxii+734 pp. Translated and with notes by George Rawlinson. Introduction by Tom Griffith [v-xi].

First published, c. 440 BC.
This translation first published, 1858 AD.
Reprinted in the Everyman edition, 1910 [reduced critical apparatus].
This edition first published, 1996.



Book One (Clio)
Notes on Book One

Book Two (Euterpe)
Notes on Book Two

Book Three (Thalia)
Notes on Book Three

Book Four (Melpomene)
Notes on Book Four

Book Five (Terpsichore)
Notes on Book Five

Book Six (Erato)
Notes on Book Six

Book Seven (Polymnia)
Notes on Book Seven

Book Eight (Urania)
Notes on Book Eight

Book Nine (Calliope)
Notes on Book Nine


This is one of those books, like The Iliad and the Bible, in which indisputable historical importance and enormous influence go hand in hand with lame writing and little substance. There's a difference, though. The Iliad and the Bible are obviously fiction. Herodotus is supposed to be, indeed he pretends to be, non-fiction. Zeus only knows how much of his “histories” are historical and how much mythological. He seldom if ever makes it clear. You’re on your own to distinguish between them.

Herodotus has been called the “Father of History” and the “Father of Lies”. He is neither. He is merely the Father of Rumours. He discloses without embarrassment his primary source: hearsay. He would have agreed wholeheartedly with Hans Landa: “I love rumours! Facts can be so misleading, where rumours, true or false, are often revealing.” That may be. But this is not history. This is gossip.

History, moreover, implies critical examination of original sources, written and spoken, official and unofficial, anything. Herodotus is blissfully free of even the most rudimentary version of critical thinking. “Whether this latter account be true, or whether the matter happened otherwise, I shall not discuss further.” This is his usual excuse – when he deigns to make one. The most thorough examination he ever makes of his sources is to tell you that these and those agreed on something. So “the Corinthians and the Lesbians” agreed that the famous harpist Arion of Methymma was saved by a dolphin after he was thrown in the sea by a bunch of treacherous sailors (I, 23-24). Fact or fiction? That’s for you to decide. Like pretty much everything else here.

Did Herodotus do any fieldwork besides gossiping in crowded agoras, smelly taverns and fishy ports? Not as far as we can tell from his magnum opus. He describes in great detail Egypt and Babylon, but there is little evidence in the text that he ever was there and saw them. He says he went to Egypt (II, 3) and he alludes to having seen Babylon (I, 183), but it remains elusive how much time he spent there and what exactly he saw with his own eyes. How much he knew first-hand of Scythia (IV, 2-31) or Libya (IV, 168-99) or the Thracians (IV, 93-6; V, 3-8) or so many other lands and people is anybody’s guess. You will often see Herodotus’ descriptions of Babylon (I, 178-87) or the Pyramids (II, 124-35) quoted as gospel. Truth is, they may well be hearsay too. Probably even Zeus doesn’t know how many mouths they passed through and how distorted they became before our “historian” set them down for the dubious benefit of future generations.

All this hardly matters, though. Herodotus is much more concerned with the description of events. The vast majority of these happened before he was even born, or at best when he was a toddler. Assuming he wrote between 440 and 430 BC, even the Thermopylae, Salamis and Plataea (not to mention Marathon) were already four to five decades old. If Herodotus interviewed any survivors from these heroic battles, they must have been crusty geezers fond of romanticising the glorious past. He could not have done even that for his extensive accounts of Croesus, Cyrus and Cambyses. Darius, who died around the time Herodotus was born, stands in pretty much the same position. How come our amiable author is well informed about the exploits of Darius’ son, Xerxes, is yet another mystery that will probably remain unsolved until the invention of the Time Machine.

Not only is Herodotus no historian at all, but he is not even a good storyteller. In fact, he is verbose, long-winded, repetitious and wildly digressive, occasionally spiced up with some humour but for the most part deadly dry. The author’s intention stated in the beginning, to preserve from oblivion the “wonderful actions of the Greeks and the Barbarians [i.e. non-Greeks]”, is vague enough to justify prolix digressions galore. And digress he does! Ostensibly a history of the Greek and Persian wars, the narrative (if that’s the word) zigzags throughout the ancient world like a drunken sailor who can handle neither liquor nor land. It’s full of tales, one taller than the other, for which is hard to find any justification. Herodotus liked them and that’s that.

Now, many of his stories are interesting for all sorts of reasons. Some are simply funny (e.g. Candaules & Gyges, I, 7-12), others describe fascinating customs (e.g. the Babylonian women, I, 196 & 199), third group are dramatic and even heroic (e.g. Croesus being saved by his mute son, I, 85). Some of these stories have entered the Western consciousness so permanently that it doesn’t matter at all whether they are fiction or not. The most famous example is, of course, the Thermopylae, Leonidas, the 300, Dieneces who preferred to fight under the shade of Persian arrows and all that jazz (VII, 199-226). All the same, leaving veracity aside, all these stories are exceptions. They must be sifted through a great many others which are neither important nor amusing. Most of them are permeated by the ancient Greek ideas of Destiny, Doom and Divine Intervention (please note the capitals) which today look positively inane. Quite often names and incidents are piled up with profusion that makes it hard to follow who does what to whom. If the author took any trouble with the structure of his work, it doesn’t show.

One mustn’t, of course, be too hard on Herodotus. He had no model to follow and he did his best. But I’m afraid that makes him neither more readable nor more enjoyable; certainly, it doesn’t make him more reliable. He is far better than The Iliad and the Bible, but there is very little reason to consider him much more historical than either of them. I give him that. I can give him no more. I was kept interested by his book, but not entertained by it. I am glad I read it, but I am none the wiser for that.

The Iliad and the Bible, incidentally, are by far the most overrated books in history. It says something, and it’s not flattering, about our so-called “Western civilisation” that they have proved to be its most influential literary works. I can’t help being amused by those sage readers who lament their inability to rate and review such ancient and revered works. Age and reverence, however, or influence for that matter, are no guarantee of intrinsic value. Blind submission to such authorities, as history has amply shown, leads nowhere at all.

It goes without saying that everybody even remotely interested in ancient history must read this book. All of it, from cover to cover! Warts and all, it remains one of the most important sources about the ancient civilisations that have shaped the West. Just be prepared for a great deal of tedious narrative of highly questionable veracity. Everything that can’t be confirmed by at least one independent source – most things, that is – must be taken with a Mount Olympus of salt. Just remember that, properly catalogued, this is Rumours by Gossipotus.

Note on the Edition

The translation by George Rawlinson is nowadays out of fashion, but it’s definitely more lucid and more readable than the other famous Victorian attempt (G. C. Macaulay’s). A strangely truncated “A Note on the Text” (p. [xiii]) informs us that when it was reprinted in Everyman’s Library in 1910 a great deal of Rawlinson’s vast critical apparatus (notes, essays, appendices) was omitted. A few notes were added by one E. H. Blakeney, marked here in square brackets and sometimes updated with additions from 1996 (who added these remains a mystery). Even so, this edition contains the impressive 1746 endnotes neatly listed in the end of each book. The nine books comprise 1534 short chapters overall, so his makes for 1.14 notes per chapter. Sadly, most of these notes are wasted on trivial details. Very few provide illuminating explanation of the historical context, important cross-references with other ancient authors, or indications about hazy chronology and suspicious claims by Herodotus.

The Introduction by Tom Griffith, the General Editor of Wordsworth Classics, mind you, is somewhat informative but very biased. He makes a number of indefensible claims, for instance that we can deduce from his writings that Herodotus travelled widely (we can’t; he spoke with some priests in Memphis and that’s all), that he was the first historian (he wasn’t; he was merely the first rumour-monger on a vast scale) whose respect for evidence remains a model (nonsense!), and that Histories is a great book (it isn’t; it only seems so because we have so few original sources about those semi-fabulous times).

Appendix: Expanded Table of Contents

I copy this from the book (xv-xxxii). It gives a good idea of the scope and nature of the work. It may be helpful to find what you’re looking for, but only if you know where to look for it. The numbers are those of the chapters, or short sections rather.

Book One
1-5 Causes of the war between Greece and Persia – Mythic
6-25 Causes of the war between Greece and Persia – Historic – Aggressions of Croesus – Previous Lydian history
26-28 Conquests of Croesus
29-33 Visit of Solon to the court of Croesus
34-45 Story of Adrastus and Atys
46-55 Preparations of Croesus against Cyrus – Consultation of the oracles
56-58 Croesus seeks a Greek alliance – Hellenes and Pelasgi
59-64 State of Athens under Pisistratus
65-68 Early History of Sparta
69-70 Alliance of Croesus with Sparta
71 Croesus warned
72-85 Croesus invades Cappadocia – His war with Cyrus
86-87 Danger and deliverance of Croesus
90-91 His message to the Delphic oracle
92 His offerings
93 Wonders of Lydia
94 Manners and customs of the Lydians
95 History of Cyrus – Old Assyrian empire – Revolt of Media
96-107 Early Median history
108-122 Birth and bringing-up of Cyrus
123-124 Incitements to revolt
125-126 Cyrus sounds the feelings of the Persians – their Ten Tribes
127-130 Revolt and struggle
131-140 Customs of the Persians
141 Cyrus threatens the Ionian Greeks
142-151 Account of the Greek settlements in Asia
152 Sparta interferes to protect the Greeks
153-157 Sardis revolts and is reduced
158-160 Fate of Pactyas
161-170 Reduction of the Asiatic Greeks
171-176 The Carians, Caunians, and Lycians attacked – their customs – they submit to the Persians
177 Conquest of Cyrus in Upper Asia
178-187 Description of Babylonia
188-190 Cyrus marches on Babylon
191 Fall of Babylon
192-193 Description of Babylonia
194-200 Customs of the Babylonians
201 Expedition of Cyrus against the Massagetae
202 The River Araxes
203-204 The Caspian
205-206 Tomyris – her offer to Cyrus
207-208 Advice given by Croesus, adopted by Cyrus
209-210 Dream of Cyrus
211-214 Two battles with the Massagetae – Defeat and death of Cyrus
215 Manners and customs of Massagetae

Book Two
1 Accession of Cambyses – he invades Egypt
2 Description of Egypt – Antiquity
3 Seats of learning
4 Inventions, etc.
5-13 Descriptions of the country
14 Agriculture
15-18 Boundaries
19-27 The Nile – Causes of the inundation
28 Sources
29-31 The Upper Nile
32 The interior of Libya
33-34 Comparison of Nile and Ister
35-36 Customs of the Egyptians – their strangeness
37-48 Religious customs
49-57 Connection of the religions of Egypt and Greece
58-64 Egyptian Festivals
65-67 Sacred animals
68-70 The Crocodile
71 The Hippopotamus
72 Otters, fish, etc.
73 The Phoenix
74-75 Sacred and winged serpents
76 The Ibis
77-80 Daily life of the Egyptians
81 Dress
82 Divination
83 Oracles
84 Practice of Medicine
85-90 Funerals
91 Worship of Perseus
92-95 Customs of marshmen
96 Egyptian boats
97 Routes in the flood-time
98 Anthylla and Archandropolis
99 History of Egypt – Mên
100-101 His successors – Nitocris – Moeris
102-110 Sesostris – his expeditions – his works in Egypt
111 His son, Pheon
112-120 Proteus – story of Helen
121-122 Rhampsinitus
123 Doctrine of metempsychosis
124-126 Cheops – his pyramid
127-128 Chefren
129-133 Mycerinus
134-135 His pyramid – history of Rhodopis
136 Asychis
137-140 Anysis – Sabaco
141 Sethos – invasion of Sennacerib
142-143 Number of the kings
144-146 Greek and Egyptian notions of the age of the gods
147-150 The Dodecarchy
151-157 Psammetichus
158-159 Neco, his son
160 Psammis, son of Neco
161-169 Apries, son of Psammis – his deposition
170 Tomb of Osiris
171 Egyptian Mysteries
172-177 Reign of Amasis
178-182 His favour to the Greeks

Book Three
1-3 Causes of quarrel between Persia and Egypt – Nitetis story
4 Aid lent by Phanes
5-9 Passage of the desert
10 Invasion of Egypt – Psammenitus king
11 Murder of the children of Planes – Battle of Pelusium
12 Egyptian and Persian skulls
13 Siege and capture of Memphis – submission of the Libyans and Cyrenaeans
14-15 Treatment of Psammenitus
16 Treatment of the body of Amasis
17-18 Expeditions planned by Cambyses
19 Phoenicians refuse to attack Carthage
20-24 Embassy to the Ethiopians
25 Expedition fails
26 Failure of the expedition against Ammon
27-29 Severities of Cambyses against the Egyptians
30-35 His outrageous conduct against the Persians
36 His treatment of Croesus
37-38 His madness
39-43 History of Polycrates – his connection with Amasis
44 He sends ships to assist Cambyses
45 Revolt of the crews – Samos attacked
46-47 Aid sought from Sparta and Corinth
48-53 Story of Periander
54-56 Siege of Samos
57-59 Fate of rebels
60 Wonders of Samos
61 Revolt of the Magi – usurpation of the Pseudo-Smerdis
62-66 The news reaches Cambyses – his wound, speech and death
67 Reign of the Magus
68-69 His detection of Otanes
70 Otanes conspires – arrival of Darius
71-73 Debate of the conspirators
74-75 Fate of Prexaspes
76-79 Overthrow of the Magi
80-82 Debate of the best form of government
83 Decision of Otanes
84 Privileges of the Six
85-87 Darius obtains the kingdom
88 His wives
89-93 Division of the Empire into twenty Satrapies
94-97 Amount of the tribute
98-105 Customs of the Indians
106-116 Productiveness of the earth’s extremities
117 The river Aces
118-119 Fate of Intaphernes
120-125 Story of Oroeces and Polycrates
126-128 Punishment of Oroetes
129-130 Democedes of Crotona cures Darius
131 His former history
132-133 His influence – he cures Atossa
134 Atossa at his instigation requests Darius to invade Greece
135-138 Persians sent to explore the coasts – Democedes escapes
139-149 Persian expedition against Samos to establish Syloson
150-158 Revolt and reduction of Babylon by the stratagem of Zopyrus
159 Punishment of the rebels
160 Reward of Zopyrus

Book Four
1 Expedition of Darius against Scythia – its pretext
2-4 Previous history of the Scythians – their war with their slaves
5-7 Traditions of their origin – their own account
8-10 Traditions of their origin – Greek version of the same
11-12 Traditions of their origin – account preferred by the author
13-16 Story of Aristeas
17-20 Description of Scythia
21-27 Neighbouring nations Sauromatae, Budini, Argippaei, Issedones, and Arimaspi
28-31 Climate of Scythia
32-36 Stories of the Hyperboreans
37-41 Universal geography – Description of Asia
42-43 Universal geography – Circumnavigation of Libya
44 Universal geography – Voyage of Scylax
45 Origin of the names Europe, Asia, Libya
46-47 Remarkable features of Scythia – the people
48-50 The rivers – the Ister and its affluents
51 The Tyras
52 The Hypanis
53 The Borysthenes
54-58 The Panticapes, Hypacyris, Gerrhus, Tanais, etc.
59 Religion of the Scyths – Gods
60-61 Sacrifices
62-63 Worship of Ares, etc.
64-66 War-customs
67-69 Soothsayers
70 Oaths
71-73 Burial of the kings, etc.
74-75 Use of hemp
76-80 Hatred of foreign customs – stories of Anacharsis and Scylas
81 Population
82 Marvels
83-85 Preparations of Darius
86 Size of Euxine, Propontis, etc.
87-92 March of Darius to the Ister
93-96 Customs of the Thracians
97-98 Darius at the Ister
99-101 Size and shape of Scythia
102-117 Description of the surrounding nations, Tauri, etc.
118-119 Consultation of the kings
120 Plans of the Scyths
121-140 March of Darius through Scythia, and return to the Ister
141-143 Passage of the Ister and return to the Hellespont
144 Saying of Megabazus
145-149 Libyan expedition of Aryandes – Founding of Thera
150-155 Theraeans required by the oracle to colonise Libya – two accounts
156 Occupation of Platea
157 Settlement of Aziris
158 Colonisation of Cyrene
159-164 History of Cyrene from its foundation to the death of Arcesilaus III
165 Application of Phreretima to Aryandes
166 Fate of Aryandes
167 Expedition against Barca
168-181 Account of the Libyan tribes from Egypt to Lake Tritonis
182-185 The three regions of Northern Libya
186-190 Customs of the Libyans
191-192 Contrast of eastern and western Libya
193-196 Account of the western tribes
197 Four nations of Libya
198-199 Productiveness of Libya
200-203 Account of the expedition against Barca
204 Fate of the Barcaeans
205 Death of Phreretima

Book Five
1-2 Thracian conquests of Megabazus
3-8 Customs of the Thracians
9-10 Region north of Thrace
11 Coës and Histiaeus rewarded
12-14 Story of Pigres and Mantyes
15 Megabazus reduces the Paeonians
15 Customs of the Paeonians
17-21 Submission of Macedonia – story of the ambassadors
22 Hellenism of the royal family of Macedon
23-24 Recall of Histiaeus
25 Appointment of Artaphernes and Otanes
26-27 Conquests of Otanes
28-29 Troubles arise in Ionia – previous history of Miletus
30-34 Aristagoras’ expedition against Naxos
35 Message of Histiaeus
36 Revolt of Aristagoras
37-38 Fate of the tyrants
39-48 Aristagoras goes to Sparta – Recent history of Sparta
49-54 Aristagoras fails to persuade Cleomenes
55-96 He goes to Athens – Recent history of Athens – Murder of Hipparchus – Expulsion of Hippias – Cleisthenes – attempts of Sparta – Theban and Aeginetan wars, etc.
97 Aristagoras obtains aid from Athens
98 Escape of Paeonians
99-101 Attack on Sardis, which is taken and burnt
102 Retreat and defeat of the Greeks
103 Spread of the revolt to Caria and Caunus
104-115 Revolt and reduction of Cyprus – Darius and Histiaeus
116-117 Persians recover the Hellespont
118-121 War in Caria
122-123 Persian successes in Aeolis and Ionia
124 Aristagoras resolves on flight
125 Advice of Hecataeus
126 Flight and death of Aristagoras

Book Six
1-3 Histiaeus comes down to the coast
4 Conspiracy discovered at Sardis
5 Histiaeus sails to the Hellespont
6-15 Miletus threatened by the Persians – the two fleets – battle of Lade
16 Misfortunes of the Chians
17 Dionysius the Phocaean commander
18 Fall of Miletus
19-20 Punishment of the Milesians
21 Sorrow of Athens
22-25 Fate of the Samians – seizure of Zancle
26-30 Fate of Histiaeus
31-32 Punishment of the rebels
33 Phoenician fleet ravages the Chersonese
34-40 Chersonesite kingdom of the Cimonidae
41 Flight of Miltiades to Athens
42 New settlement of Ionia by the Persians
43-45 Expedition of Mardonius fails
46-47 Suspected revolt of Thasos
48-49 Envoys of Darius demand earth and water – submission of Aegina and the islands generally
50 Cleomenes attempts to punish the Aeginetans
51 Cleomenes’ feud with Demaratus
52-59 The double royalty at Sparta – descent – privileges of the kings
60 Spartan customs
61-63 Story of Ariston
64-70 Demaratus, deprived of his crown, flies to Persia
71 Leotychides made king
72 Fate of Leotychides
73 Aeginetans forced to give hostages
74-75 Fate of Cleomenes
76-84 Various causes assigned for his insanity
85-86 Aeginetans demand back their hostages – story of Glaucus
87-93 War between Aegina and Athens
94 Expedition of Datis and Artaphernes
95-99 Course of the expedition
100-101 Preparations of the Eretrians – siege and surrender of Eretria
102 Persians land at Marathon
103-104 Account of Miltiades
105-106 Pheidippides sent to Sparta – appearance of Pan
107 Dream of Hippias
108 Plataeans join the Athenians – previous connection of the two nations
109-110 Division among the Athenian generals – Miltiades and Callimachus
111 Preparations for battle
112-114 Battle of Marathon
115-116 Attempt to surprise Athens
117 Story of Epizelus
118-119 Return of the expedition to Asia
120 Spartans visit Marathon
121-124 Charge made against the Alcmaeonidae
125 Previous history of the family – favours of Croesus
126-130 Marriage of Megacles with Agarista
131 Descent of Pericles
132-135 Expedition of Miltiades against Paros
136 Trial of Miltiades – his death
137-140 His capture of Lemnos – previous history of the inhabitants

Book Seven
1 Preparations of Darius against Greece
2 His sons dispute the succession
3 Appointment of Xerxes
4 Death of Darius
5 Xerxes urged to attack Greece
6 Influence of Onomacritus
7 Reduction of Egypt
8 Xerxes assembles a council – his speech
9 Address of Mardonius
10 Speech of Artabanus
11 Reply of Xerxes
12-14 Xerxes’ vision
15-16 Colloquy with Artabanus
17-18 The vision appears to Artabanus
19 Preparations of Xerxes
20-21 Magnitude of the expedition
22-24 Canal of Athos – skill of the Phoenicians
25 Collection of stores
26 Xerxes’ march from Critalla
27-29 Story of Pythius the Lydian
30 Route of the army
31 Xerxes reaches Sardis
32 Heralds sent off
33-34 Bridge of Abydos
35 Xerxes lashes the Hellespont
36 Construction of the bridge
37 The army leaves Sardis
38-39 Treatment of Pythius’ son
40-41 Order of the march
42 Route through Mysia
43 Xerxes at Troy
44-45 Xerxes views his armament
46-52 Dialogue with Artabanus
53 Xerxes’ address to the chief Persians
54 Libation and prayer of Xerxes
55-56 Passage of the Hellespont
57 Prodigies
58-59 March from Sestos to Doriscus
60 Numbering of the army
61 Nations enumerated – the Persians – their dress and armature
62 The Medes, Cissians, and Hyrcanians
63 The Assyrians and Chaldaeans
64 The Bactrians and Sacae
65 The Indians
66 The Arians, Parthians, etc.
67 The Caspians, Sarangians, etc.
68 The Utians, etc.
69 The Arabians and the Ethiopians of Libya
70 The Ethiopians of Asia
71 The Libyans
72-73 The Paphlagonians, Phrygians, and Armenians
74-75 The Lydians and Thracians
76-77 The Chalybians, Cabalians, etc.
78-79 The Moschians, Mares, Colchians, etc.
80 The Islanders
81-82 Officers and Commanders in chief
83 ‘Immortals’
84-88 Nations which furnished cavalry
89 Contingents to the fleet – Phoenicians – Egyptians
90 Contingents to the fleet – Cyprians
91 Contingents to the fleet – Cilicians – Pamphylians
92-93 Contingents to the fleet – Lycians – Dorians – Carians
94-95 Contingents to the fleet – Ionians – Aeolians – Hellespontians
96 Marines
97-98 Commanders of the naval force
99 Artemisia
100 Xerxes reviews his forces
101 Consults Demaratus
102 Speech of Demaratus
103 Reply of Xerxes
104 Demaratus’ opinion of the Spartans
105 Xerxes leaves Doriscus
106-107 Mascames and Boges
108 Xerxes’ march from Doriscus
109 Passage of the Nestus
110-112 Thracian tribes along the route
113 March through Paeonia
114 Passage of the Strymon
115-116 March to Accanthus
117 Death and funeral of Artachaees
118-119 Preparations for feeding the army
120 Witty remark of Megacreon
121 Order of the march
122 Passage through the Canal
123 Course of the fleet
124 Arrival in the Thermaic Gulf
125-126 The camels attacked by lions
127 Xerxes reaches Therma
128 Two entrances into Thessaly
129 Description of Thessaly – the Peneus and its tributaries
130 The way to submerge Thessaly
131 Stay of Xerxes in Persia
132-133 Treatment of Persian heralds
134-137 Story of Sperthias and Bulis
138 Alarm of the Greeks
139 Patriotic conduct of Athenians – the Athenians, the saviours of Greece
140 Warning of the oracle
141-142 The second oracle
143 Themistocles
144 Proposal of Themistocles to build a fleet
145 The Greeks make up their quarrels
146-147 Xerxes’ treatment of the Greek spies
148 Greek embassy to Argos – reply of the Argive council
149 Sparta rejects their offer
150-152 Alliance between Persia and Argos
153 Greek embassy to Sicily – ancestry of Gelo
154 History of Gelo
155 Gelo becomes king of Gela
156 Makes Syracuse his capital
157 Speech of the Greek envoys
158 Gelo’s answer
159 Indignation of Syagrus
160 Gelo’s reply to him
161 Address of the Athenian envoy
162 Gelo’s final answer
163-164 Cadmus sent by Gelo to Delphi
165 Intention of Gelo to help the Greeks – Carthaginians invade Sicily
166-167 Defeat and disappearance of Hamilcar
168 Promises of the Corcyraeans – their actual conduct
169 Embassy to Crete
170 Mythic history of Minos – greatest known slaughter of Greeks
171 Misfortunes of Crete
172 Greeks occupy the defile of Tempe
173-174 Reason of their leaving the pass
175-177 Greeks resolved to defend Artemisium and Thermopylae – description of these places
178 Greeks advised to pray to the winds
179 Advance of the Persian fleet
180-182 First encounter
183 Stele placed on the ‘Ant’
184-185 Estimate of the Persian forces
186 Number of the host altogether
187 Rivers insufficient for the supply
188-189 First storm – loss to the Persian fleet
190 Enrichment of Ameinocles
191 The storm ceases
192 Thanksgiving to Poseidon ‘the Saviour’
193 Persians advance to Aphetae
194 Greeks take fifteen ships
195 Fate of Aridolis
196 Xerxes’ advance through Thessaly
197 Temple of Laphystian Zeus
198 Description of Malis
199-200 Pass of Thermopylae
201 Position of the two armies
202-203 Enumeration of the Greek troops
204 Descent of Leonidas
205 The three hundred
206 Spartans keep the Carneia
207 Panic
208 Mounted spy sent by Xerxes
209 Xerxes questions Demaratus
210 First attack by the Medes
211 Second attack by the ‘Immortals’
212 Alarm of Xerxes
213-214 Ephialtes tells of the mountain-path
215 Hydarnes sent with Ephialtes
216 The path described
217-218 Passage of the Persians
219 Leonidas dismisses the allies
220-221 Reasons for Leonidas remaining
222 Conduct of the Thespians and Thebans
223-224 Last conflict – death of Leonidas
225 Struggle over his body
226 Remark of Dieneces
227 Alpheus and Maro
228 Inscriptions
229-231 Story of Aristodemus
232 Another survivor of the Battle
233 Conduct and fate of the Thebans
234-235 Xerxes’ colloquy with Demaratus
236 Objection of Achaemenes
237 Reply of Xerxes
238 His treatment of Leonidas’ body
239 Gorgo and the waxed tablet

Book Eight
1 The Greek Fleet at Artemisium
2-3 The commander, Eurybiades
4-5 Proceedings of Themistocles
6 Approach of the Persians
7 Ships sent round Euboea
8 Story of Scyllias the Diver
9 Council of the Greek Captains
10-11 First battle at Artemisium
12-13 Terrible storm
14 Second engagement
15-18 Third engagement
19-22 Stratagem of Themistocles – Oracle of Bacis
23 Advance of the Persian fleet
24-25 Persian sailors visit Thermopylae
26 Deserters from Arcadia
27-31 Persians invade Phocis – wars of Phocians and Thessalians
32 Flight of the Phocians
33 Their towns burnt
34 Division of the Persian forces
35-39 Attack on Delphi – discomfiture of the Persians
40 The Grecian fleet anchors at Salamis
41 The Athenians quit Attica
42-48 Nations composing the Grecian fleet
49 Proposed withdrawal to the Isthmus
50-51 The Persians reach Athens
52-53 Attack on the Acropolis
54 Message to Artabanus
55 Prodigy of the sacred olive
56 Greeks resolve to sail to the Isthmus
57 Suggestion of Mnesiphilus
58-60 Themistocles applies to Eurybiades
61-62 Adeimantus and Themistocles
63-64 Determination of Eurybiades
65 Omen of the cloud of dust
66 Persian fleet at Phalerum
67 Xerxes consults his captains
68 Speech of Artemisia
69 Satisfaction of the king at it
70-71 Advance of the Persians
72 Greeks at the Isthmus
73 Inhabitants of the Peloponnese
74 Proceedings at Salamis
75 Stratagem of Themistocles
76 Persians occupy Psyttaleia
77 Truth of prophecies
78 Contention of the Greek captains
79 Arrival of Aristides
80-81His conference with Themistocles
82-83 Preparations for the fight
84-89 Battle of Salamis
90 Position of Xerxes’ seat
91 Rout of the Persians
92 Exploits of Polycritus
93 Conduct of Ameinias
94 Story of Adeimantus’ flight
95 Exploit of Aristides
96 Preparations to renew the fight
97 Messenger sent to Persia
98 Persian messengers
99 Effect of the tidinds
100 Mardonius’ advice to Xerxes
101 Xerxes consults with Artemisia
102 Artemisia’s answer
103-104 Proceedings of Xerxes
105-106 Story of Hermotimus
107 Persians sail to the Hellespont
108 Proposed pursuit
109 Themistocles’ advice
110 His message to the king
111 Siege of Andros
112 Themistocles gathers contributions
113 Line of Persian retreat
114 Satisfaction for the death of Leonidas
115 Xerxes’ march to the Hellespont – sufferings of the army
116 Story of a Thracian king
117 Passage of Abydos
118-120 False accounts of Xerxes’ return
121-122 Grecian offerings to the gods
123 Prize of valour
124 Honour paid to Themistocles
125 Envy of Timodemus
126-127 Artabazus lays siege to Potidaea
128 Affair of Timoxenus
129 Siege raised
130 Persian fleet at Samos
131 Grecian fleet at Aegina
132 Embassy of Herodotus the Chian
133-135 Mys consults the oracles
136-139 Mission of Alexander, son of Amyntas, to Athens – legend of Perdiccas
140 Speech of Alexander
141-142 Counter speech of Spartan ambassadors
143 Answer of the Athenians to Alexander
144 Answer to the Spartan envoys

Book Nine
1 Mardonius marches against Athens
2 Advice of the Thebans
3 Mardonius enters Athens
4-5 Mission of Murychides
6 Athenian embassy to Sparta
7 Address of the Athenian envoys
8 Delay of the Ephors
9-10 Expedition sent out
11 Answer to the envoys
12-13 Mardonius, warned by the Argives, retreats
14 Furthest point reached by Persians
15 Mardonius encamps on the Asopus
16 Story related by Thersander
17-18 Danger of the Phocians
19 March of Peloponnesians from the Isthmus
20-23 First engagement – Masistius slain
24 Persian lamentations
25 Greeks move towards Plataea
26-27 Marshalling of the nations – rival claims of the Tegeans and the Athenians
28-29 Left wing according to the Athenians – array and numbers of the other troops
30 Amount of Greek army
31-32 Persians marshalled by Mardonius
33-36 Grecian soothsayer Tisamenus – his history
37 Mardonius’ soothsayer, Hegesistratus
38-40 Persians cut off the Greek convoys
41-42 Persians hold a council of war
43 Oracle of Bacis
44-45 Greeks warned by Alexander of Macedon
46-47 The Spartans and Athenians change places
48 Mardonius insults the Spartans
49 Persians choke the fountain of Gargaphia
50-52 Movement to Oëroë
53-55 Obstinacy of Amompharetus
56-57 Retreat of Pausanias
58 Mardonius’ speech thereupon
59 Persians pursue the Greeks
60-65 Battle of Plataea – death of Mardonius
66 Conduct of Artabazus
67 Boeotians’ struggle with Athenians
68 General flight
69-70 Second battle at the entrenched camp
71 Prowess of the contending parties
72 Conduct of Callicrates
73-75 Athenian most distinguished, Sophanes – his conduct and fate
76 A lady’s appeal to Pausanias
77 Arrival of Mantineans and Eleans
78-79 Evil counsel of Lampon
80 Disposal of the booty
81 Portions set apart for the gods – distribution of the remainder
82 A Persian and a Spartan supper
83 Wonders of the battle-field
84 Clandestine burial of Mardonius
85 Graves of the slain
86-88 Siege of Thebes
89 Flight of Artabazus
90-91 Leotychides invited by the Samians
92-95 Deiphonus and Evenius
96 Greeks proceed to Samos – Persian army at Mycale
97-103 Battle of Mycale
104 Fate of the Persians
105 The palm of bravery assigned to the Athenians
106 Greeks sail to the Hellespont
107 Persians retreat to Sardis
108-113 Intrigues of Xerxes – fate of Maistes
114-120 Athenians lay siege to Sestos – fate of Oeobazus – punishment of Artayctes
121 Athenians return, bringing with them the shore-cables of Xerxes’ bridges
122 Artembares and Cyrus ( )
1 vote Waldstein | Apr 5, 2017 |
It's a classic it should be read. I'm guessing George Bush didn't read it otherwise he would have gotten in and out of Iraq faster. "Soft countries breed soft men." Cyrus ( )
  SamTekoa | Nov 5, 2016 |
Very interesting and entertaining history book. For class we had to read sections regarding different ethnic groups and Herodotus does a wonderful job telling the reader about them. This was a suprisingly quicck read and kept my attention the whole way. ( )
  sszkutak | Sep 28, 2016 |
One of the most fascinating history books I've ever read. Herodotus tries his best at being unbiased and doesn't always succeed, which makes this history even more intriguing. That's forgivable, however, because this is really one of the world's earliest attempts at creating a book of history. Herodotus had no rules by which to write. So when he includes heresay and myth it makes the book all the more exciting. ( )
1 vote crystallyn | Jul 6, 2016 |

This was our final assignment in my Greek class. So I read passages in Greek, translating them in Dutch. Some of the stories of the Histories are very famous, but I'd never realised they came from Herodotus. ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
OVER the course of the past decade Tom Holland, a British popular historian, has produced a succession of highly readable works of fiction and non-fiction about the classical world. He has adapted Homer, Virgil and Thucydides for the radio and, as a labour of love and at a rate of a paragraph a day, he has translated Herodotus, the man Cicero called “the Father of History”. Mr Holland’s preface states that “Herodotus is the most entertaining of historians”, indeed “as entertaining as anyone who has ever written”. This lively, engaging version of the “Histories” provides ample support for what might otherwise appear to be a wild exaggeration.
added by John_Vaughan | editThe Ecomomist (Nov 21, 2013)

» Add other authors (84 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Herodotusprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bawden, EdwardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bendz, GerhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blanco, WalterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burn, A. R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Damsté, OnnoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Sélincourt, AubreyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dewald, CarolynIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dolen, Hein L. vanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dolen, Hein L. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grene, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hude, KarlEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Komroff, ManuelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kornroff, ManuelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lange, FriedrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindskog, AxelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindskog, ClaesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marincola, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rawlinson, GeorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rein, EdvardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, Jennifer TolbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waterfield, RobinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This is the showing forth of the Inquiry of Herodotus of Halicarnassos so that neither the deeds of men may be forgotten by lapse of time, nor the works great and marvellous, which have been produced some by Hellenes and some by Barbarians, may lose their renown; and especially that the causes may be remembered for which these waged war with one another.
Herodotus of Halicarnassus, his Researches are here set down to preserve the memory of the past by putting on record the astonishing achievements both of our own and of other peoples; and more particularly, to show how they came into conflict.

(Penguin Classics, rev. ed., 1972).
Herodotus of Halicarnassus: Researches. These words, visible when the papyrus was rolled up, served the purpose of those on our book-covers.

(Introduction, Penguin Classics, rev. ed., 1972).
No one is so foolish as to prefer war to peace, in which, instead of sons burying their fathers, fathers bury their sons.
Such was the number of the barbarians, that when they shot forth their arrows the sun would be darkened by their multitude." Dieneces, not at all frightened at these words, but making light of the Median numbers, answered "Our Trachinian friend brings us excellent tidings. If the Medes darken the sun, we shall have our fight in the shade.
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Herodotus in translation, the whole book in a single volume or in multiple volumes catalogued as one.
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This is where History really began. Herodotus, though not always accurate, tells a great story of the origin of various civilizations as well as how they thrived. The stories are great even if they can't be taken at face value.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140449086, Paperback)

Translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt with an introduction and Notes by John M. Marincola."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:07 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

The story of the Greek city-states uniting to repel a superior Persian army is the main theme in this classical narrative, but Herodotus fleshes out his text with digressions, describing the wonders of Egypt and recounting stories and folk tales.

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