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The Histories by Herodotus
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The Histories

by Herodotus

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,98166647 (4.13)5 / 248
  1. 81
    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. 51
    Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuściński (BGP)
  3. 31
    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. 31
    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. 00
    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.
  6. 22
    History of the Twelve Caesars by Suetonius (gbill)
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English (59)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (66)
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
In the world's first history textbook (so to speak), Herodotus chronicles the wars between Persia and Greece - and so much more. As new historical figure or locales are introduced into the narrative, he frequently pauses to detail that person or place's history even when it has little bearing on the main event. The sum is a fascinating amalgam of fact and fiction: enough facts to provide an outline of the Greco-Persian Wars and the environs in which they took place, together with the people who carried it out; and enough fiction to add an aura of mythology to the undertakings, providing a challenge in prose to Homer's poetry.

Inevitably the question arises of what to believe, so you'll want a good edition with footnotes or endnotes to help you parse it all. Herodotus' absurd description of a hippopotamus alone is enough to throw everything else into question, and that's just one of many examples. Whether he travelled as widely as his narrative implies, or saw with his own eyes as much as he claims, are open questions. There's also no telling how reliable his other sources were - something he gamely questions, but never enough to prevent him from sharing a good story. Expect some entertainment with your history.

It's much easier reading than I'd assumed going in, and translator Aubrey de Selincourt's 1954 effort probably deserves the credit for making this such a compelling read. Even if you don't believe a word of what Herotodus says (although archeology has been able to back up quite a bit), the 'Father of History' still put together a great epic. For all that his effort is slandered, dating all the way back to ancient times, at least he gave it a shot and - most telling - none of his contemporaries ever tried to top him. ( )
  Cecrow | Mar 1, 2019 |
A generation had no living memory of the greatest danger that the Greeks had ever lived through, but one man decided to change all that and gift posterity with a new genre. The Histories written by Herodotus details 80 crucial years from the rise of the Persian Empire to the defeat the remnants of Xerxes expedition and the events that led to the latter.

Using knowledge gleamed from extensive travel across the ancient world Herodotus begins his historical narrative by giving the ‘legendary’ encounters between the peoples of Europe and Asia before delving into the more ‘historical’ events that lead to Xerxes’ grand expedition. Herodotus details the history of the kingdom of Lydia that was the first to conquer populations of Greeks, those in western Anatolia, and how its great king Croesus lost his war to Cyrus the Great thus placing those same Greeks under the rule of Persia. The history of the Medes and their conquest by the Persians is related then the subsequent history of the Persian Empire until the Ionian revolt which led to the intervention of Athens and setting the stage for Darius expedition to Marathon. Intertwined with the rise of Persia was Herodotus relating the events within various Greek city-states, in particular Athens and Sparta, that contributed to the reasons for first Darius’ expedition and then to Xerxes’. Eventually his narrative would go back and forth between the two contending sides throughout the latter conflict as events unfolded throughout 480-479 BC.

The sheer volume of material that Herodotus provides is impressive and daunting for a reader to consider. Not only does he cover the political and military events, but numerous past historical and general culture aspects as well as lot of biographies and antidotal digressions that add color to the overall piece. Given that this was the first history ever written it’s hard to really criticize Herodotus—though Thucydides apparently had no problem later—but some digressions I wish Herodotus had left out or not heard at all.

The Histories by Herodotus is one of classic historical works that needs to be read by anyone who enjoys reading history. Whether or not you love the style of writing or even the topic, this book is important because it literally is the first history book. ( )
  mattries37315 | Feb 16, 2019 |
Most interesting I think if read as an originating piece of the theory of historiography, or as a divergent theory of historiography. ( )
  alexanme | Dec 9, 2018 |
Years ago, I was on jury duty in LA. This was back when jury duty largely consisted of waiting around in a large room each day for a week. I brought along a copy of The Histories (the Rawlinson translation published by Everyman's Library) and found myself engrossed by all the stories, tall tales, gossip, rumors, etc. It's a wonderful panoply that's on offer here! Sure, Herodotus was criticized by many for not writing "facts," but the power of stories is far greater, and he knew it. ( )
1 vote MichaelBarsa | Dec 17, 2017 |
Actually a different edition trans by Rawlinson
  TanyaRead | Oct 31, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (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
Cartledge, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Damsté, OnnoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Sélincourt, AubreyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dewald, CarolynIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dolen, Hein L. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dolen, Hein L. vanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grene, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holland, TomTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hude, KarlEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Komroff, ManuelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lange, FriedrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindskog, AxelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindskog, ClaesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lukstiņš, GustavsTranslatorsecondary 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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300 (2006IMDb)
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First words
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).
Quotations
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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Book description
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.

» see all 22 descriptions

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