The Landmark Herodotus

The Landmark Herodotus

The Histories

Book - 2007
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"Herodotus was a Greek historian living in Ionia during the fifth century B.C.E. He traveled extensively through the lands of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and collected stories, and then recounted his experiences with the varied people and cultures he encountered. Cicero called him "the father of history," and his only work, The Histories, is considered the first true piece of historical writing in Western literature. With lucid prose that harks back to the time of oral tradition, Herodotus set a standard for narrative nonfiction that continues to this day." "In The Histories, Herodotus chronicles the rise of the Persian Empire and its dramatic war with the Greek city-states. Within that story he includes rich veins of anthropology, ethnography, geology, and geography, pioneering these fields of study, and explores such universal themes as the nature of freedom, the role of religion, the human costs of war, and the dangers of absolute power." "Ten years in the making, The Landmark Herodotus gives us a new translation by Andrea L. Purvis that makes this work of literature more accessible than ever before. Illustrated, annotated, and filled with maps, this edition also includes an introduction by Rosalind Thomas and twenty-one appendices written by scholars at the top of their fields, covering such topics as Athenian government, Egypt, Scythia, Persian arms and tactics, the Spartan state, oracles, religion, tyranny, and women."--Jacket.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, ©2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780375421099
0375421092
Branch Call Number: 888 H559L 2007
Characteristics: lxiv, 953 pages : illustrations, color maps ; 25 cm

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From Library Staff

Cicero called Herodotus the father of history. Compelled by his desire to 'prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time,' Herotodus recounts the incidents preceding and following the Persian Wars. He gives us much more than military history, though, providing the fullest portrait ... Read More »

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Multcolib_Research May 23, 2013

Cicero called Herodotus the father of history. Compelled by his desire to 'prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time,' Herotodus recounts the incidents preceding and following the Persian Wars. He gives us much more than military history, though, providing the fullest portrait ... Read More »


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trcookIIImddmd
Oct 01, 2016

Since no one with a life will read Dwight's encyclopaedic comment, I would just like to say that Herodotus was a terrific chronicler of the world in his day, and the Landmark edition is wonderfully helpful to understanding all that the admiral describes.

d
DWIGHT A GREEN
Mar 11, 2016

Herodotus of Halicarnassus here presents his research so that human events do not fade with time. May the great and wonderful deeds—some brought forth by the Hellenes, others by the barbarians—not go unsung; as well as the causes that led them to make war on each other.

Thus begins Herodotus inquiries or research into “great and wonderful deeds” by the Greeks and others, leading to the wars between Persia and the Greek city-states. There is a dual nature to "The Histories" in which Herodotus shows he has benefited from the Ionian enlightenment, yet continues to be shaped by Homeric epic and Greek tragedy. His reliance on what he has seen and heard, while seeming credulous at times, emphasizes wanting to use his senses and his reason to piece together what has happened. At the same time, some debts to the epic form are straightforward. In addition, some of the stories he presents as the most likely option he has heard will sound like something straight out of one of Sophocles' plays.

The first half of The Histories lays the groundwork for the wars between Persia and Greece (490 and 480/79 B.C.), with seemingly endless digressions on his way to culminate in his point that “prosperity never remains constant". The stories are memorable and the digressions equally wonderful. The second half gets to the actual conflict between the Greek city-states and Persia, and this is where Herodotus shines.

It is easy to read The Histories cynically and laugh at the impossibilities or exaggerations Herodotus describes. To do so misses out on his allure and charm as well as minimizing the task he sets for himself. Beyond the fictional accounts and folk tales lies a struggle and search for explanations on what has happened in the past and to take lessons from those experiences. Herodotus looks to assign reasons for events tied to personal decisions and actions while not completely ruling out actions from the gods or fate. Herodotus also tries to fit natural events into a methodology which, for the most part, lies outside of Greek mythology.

The Landmark series of ancient history is recommended for anyone really wanting to absorb these ancient writers. This is one of my favorite books of all time, and I think a first-time reader will benefit from using the Landmark edition.

Multcolib_Research May 23, 2013

Cicero called Herodotus the father of history. Compelled by his desire to 'prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time,' Herotodus recounts the incidents preceding and following the Persian Wars. He gives us much more than military history, though, providing the fullest portrait of the classical world of the 5th and 6th centuries. We recommend particularly The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories for its maps, photographs of sites, annotations and index.

k
KLougheed
Mar 19, 2010

Fantastic text. Scholarly, well organized, translation is very readable, good use of maps. Landark indeed

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