The Histories, Book 1 (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Digireads.com Publishing, Jan 1, 2009 - History - 396 pages
229 Reviews
Generally accepted as the first work of historical literature in Western culture, "The Histories" of Herodotus describe the important wars of the fifth century. Carefully translated from its original Greek, this text conveys the careful research and deliberate documentation of martial battles between the Greek city-states and the Persian Empire. The reasons for his efforts, as explained by Herodotus, were to preserve the memory and glory of human achievements and deeds, as well as to record why the Greco-Persian Wars took place. Organized in nine books, which are named after the Muses, he unfolds the various battles, such as the Battle of Marathon, while making a comparison of the widely differing governments of the antagonists. In undertaking his "Histories," Herodotus unfolds a holistic view of the classical world with considerable narrative skill and charisma.
  

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Herodotus arguably invented prose. - Goodreads
Herodotus certainly could spin a yarn. - Goodreads
I've found that a plot summary is indispensible. - Goodreads
No intro class needed, not much context needed either. - Goodreads

Review: The Histories

User Review  - Geoff Balme - Goodreads

Thanks to Tom Holland many interested folks will not have to plod through the drier and more formidable translations so many students were forced to crawl through, and probably give up on. There are ... Read full review

Review: The Histories

User Review  - Pippa - Goodreads

It really seems unfair to write a review of this from a modern perspective. It was so exceptional and new in what it did. (At least as far as we know.) It is still very readable, and lively - and it's a book to buy, as you will go back to it again and again. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

The First Bookentitled Clio
5
The Second Book entitled Euterpé
63
The Third Book entitled Thalia
111
The Fourth Book entitled Melpomene
153
The Fifth Book entitled Terpsichore
197
The Sixth Book entitled Erato
229
The Seventh Book Polymnia
262
The Eighth Book entitled Urania
318
The Ninth Book entitled Calliopé
353
Maps
387
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Herodotus was the inventor of universal history. Often called the Father of History, his histories are divided into nine books named after the nine muses. A native of Halicarnassus on the coast of Asia Minor (modern Bodrum, Turkey), he traveled extensively, writing lively descriptions of the lands he saw and the peoples he encountered. Herodotus set out to relate the story of the conflict of the Greeks of his own time against the "barbarian" Asiatic empire of Achaemenid Persia. His long narrative, titled by modern convention The Histories, begins with the earliest traditions he believed reliable. It ends with a highly colored account of the defeat of the Persian emperor Xerxes and his immense army of slaves by a much smaller number of Greeks fighting to preserve their freedom. Herodotus wrote history, but his methods and assumptions were not those of a modern historian, and his work was unjustly rejected by his successor Thucydides as factually highly unreliable and full of inappropriate romance. By his own admission, Herodotus retold the stories of other peoples without necessarily believing them all. This allowed him total artistic freedom and control to create a picture of the world that corresponded entirely to his own view of it. The result is a picture of Herodotus's world that is also a picture of his mind and, therefore, of many other Greek minds during the period known as "late Archaic." During this period, the Greek mind was dominated by reason, the domain of the first philosophers and the observant and thoughtful medical theorists of the Hippocratic school. Traditional beliefs in the gods of Homer and in their Oracles, especially the Oracle at Delphi, also dominated during this period. The literary genius of Herodotus consisted in the art of the storyteller. The stories he chose to tell, and the order in which he told them, provide his readers with a total view of his world and the way in which the will of the gods and the ambitions of humans interacted to produce what is known as history. For this reason the ancient critic Longinus justly called Herodotus "the most Homeric of all authors." Like Homer, Herodotus strove to understand the world theologically---a goal that makes his work difficult for the reader to understand at first. But, in place of Homer's divine inspiration, Herodotus used his eyes and ears and wrote not poetry but prose. Rejecting what is commonly known as myth, he accepted instead "oral tradition" about remembered events. For example, although he believed that the Trojan War had been fought, he could not investigate it beyond what the poets had said. In his view this "ancient history" of the Greeks and the peoples of Asia was not like contemporary history, because the heroes of old who had created it were beings of a different and superior order who had had a different, direct, and personal relationship with the gods. In recognizing this distinction, Herodotus defined for all time the limits of the historian's discipline.

George Rawlinson (1812-1902), English scholar and historian, is best known for his translations of the "History of Herodotus, The Origin of Nations, Manual of Ancient History, The History of Ancient Egypt, "and his contributions to the "Encyclopedia Britannica,

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