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The Histories (Oxford World's Classics) New edition Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I fully agree with other reviewers about the beauty of this translation, which results in a fluent and pleasant text. I am also overwhelmed at the abundance of notes and commentaries about perhaps most paragraphs in the book.
The problem is, while the translation increases our reading pleasure, the organization of this edition does not help the reader: the use of endnotes rather than footnotes means that readers have to keep moving to and fro between the text and the end of the book. Worse still, there is no footnote numbering, so readers must turn at virtually every paragraph to the end of the book, so as not to miss possible clarification. Eventually, I decided to check before reading each of the nine chapters ("Books") and mark the endnoted paragraphs myself.
Perhaps Oxford's intention was, as another reviewer put it, to ensure that notes were "unobtrusive" and the reader would have the clean text before his eyes. I beg to differ: few modern readers could do without the additional explanations provided in the notes. And, if they felt they could, or so wished, they would have a wealth of translations to choose from, much poorer in notes than this one.
I think no other edition of the "Histories" has so many maps. These are necessary and helpful. But they could have been clearer. In some of them, it is hard to tell land from sea, for example.Read more ›
I had a very hard time with the place names in the first version I borrowed from the library, so I'm very glad for the maps in this edition. Also now some years later, I've forgotten all but the biggest names (but I still remember Cyrus!), and there are a daunting number of names in the book. But for all that, it's sort of an easy read, because it's anecdotal. I remember what happened, and more or less what order it happened in. I remember the major nations and what they were like -- the Persians, the Scythians, the Lacedaemons,...) More importantly, I remember the tenor of the book and of the times. I have a sense for the role that the gods and oracles played, the number of wars an average person experienced in their lifetime, the consequences of war, the relationship between men and women, the sort of thing which motivated nations to do what they did. (I detect no bigotry or chauvenism in Herodotus.) And it's just replete with very good 'histories' of all sorts, which will stay with me forever -- the circumnavigation of Africa, the Babylonian queen who diverted the river in a huge engineering project to protect the city, the Scythians rites, his impressions of the amazing Egyptian labyrinth, the fabulous hearsay about what the Northern climates were like.
And I'm left with a different perspective, I think, than I was before.Read more ›
While Herodotus - being a Greek himself - undoubtedly sees the Greeks as heroes in their struggle against the Persian invasion, he shows them to be extremely jealous, greedy, arrogant and even treacherous. This is something that many of the ancient world - including the Greek world - would rarely do to their own kind. Therefore, Herodotus is also one of the first examples of someone critquing their own culture.
Herodotus makes it clear that the causes of conflict were complex - often stemming from selfishness, such as the Greek Histiaeus wanting to start an Ionian revolt just so he could leave the Persian court - and the "heroes" were no knights in shining armour. The best example is Themistocles, who was instrumental in saving Athens due to his insistence in forcing a sea battle in the Salamis straights. Rather than dying with the reputation as a heroe, he ended his life in excile collaborating with the Persians against Greece. It would be as if after leading the Americans to victory in the American Revelution and being President, George Washington was exciled to England and became and an advisor to the British king on how to retake America.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Herodotus of Halicarnassus was five or six years old when the Persian invasions of Greece climaxed in the battles of Salamis and Plataea. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Steven Davis
'The Histories' is one of my favorite books of all time. The prose is full of wit, and it is a pleasure to read. Read morePublished on May 8, 2011 by The Messenger
Herodotus's The Histories is an immense trove of knowledge. He is often given the handle Father of History as his pioneering work help set the stage for the field of historians. Read morePublished on December 29, 2010 by JH
This is a very fine translation of one of the most important books from the ancient world. Be forewarned, this is not easy reading for the ordinary or casual reader of history. Read morePublished on September 11, 2008 by Daniel J. Dupre
This is great, fun book to read. This is a book you can read for enjoyment. I was reluctant to read it because I assumed it would be difficult because it was written around 425 BC. Read morePublished on May 27, 2007 by Amazon Customer
Growing up in Turkey, every student had to study world history including the events covered in this book. Read morePublished on February 11, 2007 by Ozdal Barkan
If you like greek history, but you are not a scholar, then this is the book for you. Like all the other reviewers say, this book is like a time machine, it takes you back to... Read morePublished on July 8, 2006 by Rafael CS
A highly entertaining collection of stories involving the ancient world. You will read about societies from Libya to India and everything in between. Read morePublished on July 30, 2004 by richard lionhearted