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Herodotus: The History Paperback – January 15, 1988

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 710 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (January 15, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226327728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226327723
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Herodotus of Halicarnassus was born about 484 B.C. and died some 60 years later. He traveled over much of the known ancient world, making trips to places such as southern Italy, lower Egypt, and the Caucasus. His great History, the first major prose work in world literature, is an account of his world at the time of the Persian Wars. The book, here ably translated by University of Chicago scholar David Grene, earned Herodotus the epithet "The Father of History" in ancient times. He distinguishes between the things seen with his own eyes and those of which he had only heard. But he was often too credulous of things told to him by his peers along the way, for which reason his younger contemporary Thucydides called him "The Father of Lies." Renowned in his own time for his humanity and wide-ranging curiosity, Herodotus shows an insatiable appetite for both useful information and a good yarn, and The History is a starting point for any student of the past.

Language Notes

Text: English, Greek (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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There is a good Index that also attempts to provide explanatory material.
Jesse Steven Hargrave
Read this as a history book, as a travel book, and as an enlightening look into the minds and the lives of people 2500 years ago.
Andreas C G
Herodotus should be read and digested by every educated person, and David Grene's translation makes that easier to do.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

155 of 156 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Steven Hargrave on February 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
By an costly combination of circumstances, I wound up recently linking three different translations in reading through Herodotus. Here's a comparative review of each, which I'm posting for each work.

1. Translation by G.C. Macaulay and revised throughout by Donald Lateiner; published by Barnes and Noble Classics in 2004, but the Macaulay translation is from around 1890.

I started with this one, attracted by the extensive introduction by Donald Lateiner. That intro was solid and revealed much that I hadn't been aware of. But the translation, even after Lateiner's revisions, is awkward and stilted. Many of the pronoun references are confusing, making it difficult to follow the narrative thread.

Here's about half of a single sentence: "Now Miltiades son of Kimon had thus taken possession of Lemnos:--After the Pelasgians had been cast out of Attica by the Athenians, whether justly or unjustly,--for about this I cannot tell except the things reported, which are these:--Hecataios on the one hand, the son of Hegesander, said in his history that it was done unjustly: for he said that when the Athenians saw the land which extends below Hymettos, which they had themselves given them to dwell in, as payment for the wall built round the Acropolis in former times, when the Athenians, I say, saw that the land was made good by cultivation, which before was bad or worthless, they were seized with jealousy and with longing to possess the land, and so drove them out, not alleging any other pretext: ..."

The footnotes are generally helpful, although many only state the obvious. They are all integrated with the text, making it unnecessary to keep paging to the back.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Epops on February 2, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have always thought of Herodotus as boring, full of digressions and hot air. He is, however, the First Historian, and therefore needs to be digested by any educated person. I first tried the Rawlinson translation,The Histories (Everyman's Library (Paper)) managed to struggle through it, but found it turgid and indeed boring. I then looked at Walter Blanco's translation in the Norton Critical Edition.Herodotus: The Histories : New Translation, Selections, Backgrounds, Commentaries (Norton Critical Editions) Blanco's version is easier to read than Rawlinson's, but is full of modern American casualisms which seemed incongruous. Blanco's version is also incomplete, and if I were going to read Herodotus, I wanted to read his entire story, just not selections. Some of Blanco's omissions are significant, including most of Book IX, which contains most of the incidents that link the history of Herodotus to that of Thucydides.The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War

I then read David Grene's translation. I still found the early sections on the history of Egypt and Persia and all the digressions about the Scythians and Libyans tedious, but Grene's language is easy to follow and appropriate to the subject, and as I continued reading the narrative began to flow and became quite enjoyable.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Rasanen on December 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
Yes, Grene's translation contains anachronistic modernisms, as M.J. Lucero points out. These will bother some readers, but need not interfere with the pleasure that this immensely informative and entertaining book will bring to others. The History is not only filled with wonderful stories that will astound, appall, and delight you, it offers a panorama of the cultures and values of the sixth and fifth century eastern Mediterranean (chiefly Greece, Egypt, and Persia). In addition to accounts of historic individuals and events, there is a wealth of detail about such topics as art, weaving, food, sex, money, marriage and funerary customs, sacrifice, cannibalism, international diplomacy, perceptions of time, and Herodotus's earnest if often off-the-mark descriptions of natural history and geography (which Grene helpfully clarifies in footnotes and endnotes). Oracles and dreams play such a frequent role in political events that it's evident how much more integrated these people were into their view of the cosmos than would be the case later, after the sense of individual autonomy that was just taking hold in Herodotus's time became more universal. Even so, these players are brought alive with vivid personalities that encompass all the human traits, from love and lust to anger, pride, compassion, grief, greed, and madness -- the scope ranges from epic to intimate. Grene has also successfully retained some of the flavor of Herodotus's Ionian Greek, with its occasional eccentric locutions and phrase repetitions, adding to the book's charm. Altogether, a rewarding read.
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