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Translated with Notes by George Rawlinson. With an Introduction by Tom Griffith.

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.

Published: Wordsworth Editions an imprint of Vearsa Limited on
ISBN: 9781848704831
List price: $4.49
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 I loved this, it kept me gripped right the way through the 4 volume edition I borrowed from the library. He sets out to tell the history for the Persian wars, only he gets a bit sidetracked! Takes a whole book to describe Egypt, for example. Full of action, fine descriptions of places and tells tales. And he's so interested in anything and everything that it is full of little details, a real magpie of a mind at work. I can quite see how he comes to be called the father of history and the first writer of literature, because this doesn't actually fall into either category neatly - it is probably best described as a history embroidered with literature. It isn't all entirely factual, the men with eyes in their chests probably never existed, except in heresay, but that's how he gained his information - visit places and ask everyone about what's just over the horizon.more
 I loved this, it kept me gripped right the way through the 4 volume edition I borrowed from the library. He sets out to tell the history for the Persian wars, only he gets a bit sidetracked! Takes a whole book to describe Egypt, for example. Full of action, fine descriptions of places and tells tales. And he's so interested in anything and everything that it is full of little details, a real magpie of a mind at work. I can quite see how he comes to be called the father of history and the first writer of literature, because this doesn't actually fall into either category neatly - it is probably best described as a history embroidered with literature. It isn't all entirely factual, the men with eyes in their chests probably never existed, except in heresay, but that's how he gained his information - visit places and ask everyone about what's just over the horizon.more
Herodotus was hailed as "The Father of History" by Cicero; To me, he might as well be the Father of Humanism.

I've read a few war epics, Homer's Iliad, Hugo's Les Misérables and Tolstoy's War and Peace, The Histories excels them all in terms of scope, structure, richness of content, intricacy and theatrical grandeur. The main theme / storyline is the Persian Wars, i.e., the conflicts between the Persian Empire and Greek nations, culminating in the invasion of Greece by Xerces I; the underlying theme is the struggle between tyranny and freedom, between the inexorability of fate and the triumph of the human spirit.

Like threads in a beautiful Persian tapestry, Herodotus weaves together numerous elements in his narratives, the histories and geographies of the many nations in Asia and Europe, the customs, cultures and achievements of the peoples, the remarkable characters and lives of individuals, and the oracles foreshadowing their fates, from kings to slaves, heroes and thieves, men, women and children, their words and deeds all distinct and memorable.

Some accused Herodotus of making up fanciful stories rather than recording the facts. I'm reminded of Thomas Mann's comment on War and Peace, "Seldom did art work so much like nature; its immediate, natural power is only another manifestation of nature itself; " If the best art is but a manifestation or imitation of nature, why make up stories when the facts themselves are much more wondrous and glorious?

You live many lives when you read this book. A masterpiece.


more
Herodotus was hailed as "The Father of History" by Cicero; To me, he might as well be the Father of Humanism.

I've read a few war epics, Homer's Iliad, Hugo's Les Misérables and Tolstoy's War and Peace, The Histories excels them all in terms of scope, structure, richness of content, intricacy and theatrical grandeur. The main theme / storyline is the Persian Wars, i.e., the conflicts between the Persian Empire and Greek nations, culminating in the invasion of Greece by Xerces I; the underlying theme is the struggle between tyranny and freedom, between the inexorability of fate and the triumph of the human spirit.

Like threads in a beautiful Persian tapestry, Herodotus weaves together numerous elements in his narratives, the histories and geographies of the many nations in Asia and Europe, the customs, cultures and achievements of the peoples, the remarkable characters and lives of individuals, and the oracles foreshadowing their fates, from kings to slaves, heroes and thieves, men, women and children, their words and deeds all distinct and memorable.

Some accused Herodotus of making up fanciful stories rather than recording the facts. I'm reminded of Thomas Mann's comment on War and Peace, "Seldom did art work so much like nature; its immediate, natural power is only another manifestation of nature itself; " If the best art is but a manifestation or imitation of nature, why make up stories when the facts themselves are much more wondrous and glorious?

You live many lives when you read this book. A masterpiece.


more
Read all 35 reviews

Reviews

 I loved this, it kept me gripped right the way through the 4 volume edition I borrowed from the library. He sets out to tell the history for the Persian wars, only he gets a bit sidetracked! Takes a whole book to describe Egypt, for example. Full of action, fine descriptions of places and tells tales. And he's so interested in anything and everything that it is full of little details, a real magpie of a mind at work. I can quite see how he comes to be called the father of history and the first writer of literature, because this doesn't actually fall into either category neatly - it is probably best described as a history embroidered with literature. It isn't all entirely factual, the men with eyes in their chests probably never existed, except in heresay, but that's how he gained his information - visit places and ask everyone about what's just over the horizon.more
 I loved this, it kept me gripped right the way through the 4 volume edition I borrowed from the library. He sets out to tell the history for the Persian wars, only he gets a bit sidetracked! Takes a whole book to describe Egypt, for example. Full of action, fine descriptions of places and tells tales. And he's so interested in anything and everything that it is full of little details, a real magpie of a mind at work. I can quite see how he comes to be called the father of history and the first writer of literature, because this doesn't actually fall into either category neatly - it is probably best described as a history embroidered with literature. It isn't all entirely factual, the men with eyes in their chests probably never existed, except in heresay, but that's how he gained his information - visit places and ask everyone about what's just over the horizon.more
Herodotus was hailed as "The Father of History" by Cicero; To me, he might as well be the Father of Humanism.

I've read a few war epics, Homer's Iliad, Hugo's Les Misérables and Tolstoy's War and Peace, The Histories excels them all in terms of scope, structure, richness of content, intricacy and theatrical grandeur. The main theme / storyline is the Persian Wars, i.e., the conflicts between the Persian Empire and Greek nations, culminating in the invasion of Greece by Xerces I; the underlying theme is the struggle between tyranny and freedom, between the inexorability of fate and the triumph of the human spirit.

Like threads in a beautiful Persian tapestry, Herodotus weaves together numerous elements in his narratives, the histories and geographies of the many nations in Asia and Europe, the customs, cultures and achievements of the peoples, the remarkable characters and lives of individuals, and the oracles foreshadowing their fates, from kings to slaves, heroes and thieves, men, women and children, their words and deeds all distinct and memorable.

Some accused Herodotus of making up fanciful stories rather than recording the facts. I'm reminded of Thomas Mann's comment on War and Peace, "Seldom did art work so much like nature; its immediate, natural power is only another manifestation of nature itself; " If the best art is but a manifestation or imitation of nature, why make up stories when the facts themselves are much more wondrous and glorious?

You live many lives when you read this book. A masterpiece.


more
Herodotus was hailed as "The Father of History" by Cicero; To me, he might as well be the Father of Humanism.

I've read a few war epics, Homer's Iliad, Hugo's Les Misérables and Tolstoy's War and Peace, The Histories excels them all in terms of scope, structure, richness of content, intricacy and theatrical grandeur. The main theme / storyline is the Persian Wars, i.e., the conflicts between the Persian Empire and Greek nations, culminating in the invasion of Greece by Xerces I; the underlying theme is the struggle between tyranny and freedom, between the inexorability of fate and the triumph of the human spirit.

Like threads in a beautiful Persian tapestry, Herodotus weaves together numerous elements in his narratives, the histories and geographies of the many nations in Asia and Europe, the customs, cultures and achievements of the peoples, the remarkable characters and lives of individuals, and the oracles foreshadowing their fates, from kings to slaves, heroes and thieves, men, women and children, their words and deeds all distinct and memorable.

Some accused Herodotus of making up fanciful stories rather than recording the facts. I'm reminded of Thomas Mann's comment on War and Peace, "Seldom did art work so much like nature; its immediate, natural power is only another manifestation of nature itself; " If the best art is but a manifestation or imitation of nature, why make up stories when the facts themselves are much more wondrous and glorious?

You live many lives when you read this book. A masterpiece.


more
I found this interesting and amusing to read, but by the time I reached Book Six, I was finished. Not being a scholar, I feel no compulsion to finish, having read enough to know who Herodotus was, how he wrote and what he wrote about. At this point in my life, I believe I would prefer a straight forward history with lots of photographs and detailed maps.more
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