Reading Herodotus: A Guided Tour through the Wild Boars, Dancing Suitors, and Crazy Tyrants of <i>The History</i>

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JHU Press, Jul 18, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 360 pages
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Debra Hamel’s book is a lively introduction to The History of the Persian Wars, Herodotus's account of Persia's expansion under four kings—Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius, and Xerxes—and its eventual collision with the city-states of Greece.

The History can be a long slog for modern readers, but it is full of salacious tales about sex, violent death, divine prophecies, and cannibals. Following the structure of the original work, Hamel leads the reader through a colorful tour of the central stories that compose The History. She highlights the more interesting and important parts of the story while providing readers who are new to Herodotus with the background information necessary to appreciate the author’s wide-ranging subject matter. At once academic and cheeky, the experience of this book is like reading Herodotus while simultaneously consulting a history of Greece and a scholarly commentary on the text.

-- Timothy E. Duff, University of Reading

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User Review  - Dorritt - LibraryThing

How can you *not* enthusiastically endorse a history book that cites S. Morgenstern’s classic “The Princess Bride” as its inspiration? Here’s the author, Debra Hamel, explaining her intent in this ... Read full review


The Story of Croesus
The Story of Cyrus the Great
The Egyptian Logos
The Reign of Cambyses
The Stories
The Early Reign
The Ionian Revolt
The First Persian
The Second
The Battles at Artemisium and Salamis
The Battles of Plataea and Mycale
The Battle 95089
Royal Love Affairs 9 107113
Xerxes Heralds and the Medizing of the Greek

Was the False Smerdis Really False?
The State
Darius Scythian Campaign
The Libyan Logos
Index of Literary Texts Cited

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About the author (2012)

Debra Hamel is an independent scholar and the author of Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan’s Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece.

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