Easton Press Herodotus books

The Histories - Library of Military History - 2000

Franklin Library Herodotus books

The History of Herodotus - Great Books of the Western World - 1984

Herodotus biography

Herodotus, often hailed as the "Father of History," was an ancient Greek historian born around 484 BCE in Halicarnassus, a city within the Persian Empire (modern-day Bodrum, Turkey). Little is known about his early life, but his extensive travels and meticulous observations laid the foundation for his monumental work, Histories. Around 440 BCE, Herodotus set out on a journey to collect information for his historical inquiries. His travels took him through Egypt, the Middle East, and various regions of the ancient Greek world, allowing him to gather a wealth of information about different cultures, customs, and historical events.

Histories, Herodotus's magnum opus, is a sprawling account of the Greco-Persian Wars, particularly the conflicts between the Greek city-states and the Persian Empire. Written in a narrative style, the work is not only a historical record but also a compilation of myth, geography, and ethnography. Herodotus aimed to preserve the memory of significant events while also exploring the causes and consequences of historical occurrences. Herodotus' approach to history was unique in that he sought to provide both sides of a story, considering various perspectives and questioning the reliability of his sources. This method, often criticized by later historians for its inclusion of folklore and anecdotal tales, marked a departure from the more mythological and poetic traditions of earlier historical accounts. 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.

Although some of Herodotus's historical details have been proven inaccurate, his contribution to the discipline of history cannot be overstated. His emphasis on empirical investigation, the recording of events, and the exploration of cultural differences set a precedent for future historians. His work laid the groundwork for critical historical inquiry and the development of a more analytical and objective approach to understanding the past. Herodotus's exact date of death is uncertain, but it is believed to have occurred around 425 BCE. Despite the passage of centuries, his legacy endures, and "Histories" remains a vital and influential text in the study of ancient history and the evolution of historical methodology.

The Histories

One of the masterpieces of classical literature, the "Histories" describes how a small and quarrelsome band of Greek city states united to repel the might of the Persian empire. But while this epic struggle forms the core of his work, Herodotus' natural curiosity frequently gives rise to colorful digressions a description of the natural wonders of Egypt; an account of European lake-dwellers; and far-fetched accounts of dog-headed men and gold-digging ants. With its kaleidoscopic blend of fact and legend, the "Histories" offers a compelling Greek view of the world of the fifth century BC.

Here is the historian, investigating and judging what he has seen, heard, and read, and seeking out the true causes and consequences of the great deeds of the past. In his History , the war between the Greeks and Persians, the origins of their enmity, and all the more general features of the civilizations of the world of his day are seen as a unity and expressed as the vision of one man who as a child lived through the last of the great acts in this universal drama.

The Histories vividly describes how the Greeks, few in number, poor, and disunited, managed to repulse a massive invasion by the powerful Persian army in the 5th century b.c. This amazing upset victory changed the course of western civilization, as the cities that led the resistance Athens and Sparta became the two major powers on the Greek mainland. The remarkable period that followed introduced revolutionary ideas about democracy, education, philosophy, drama, and thanks to Herodotus the writing of history.

With a wealth of information about ancient geography, ethnography, zoology, comparative anthropology, and much else, The Histories is also filled with bizarre and fanciful stories, which award-winning historian Tom Holland vividly captures in this major new translation highlighting Herodotus’s superb storytelling gifts and displaying his delightful curiosity alongside his flair for riveting epic drama.


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