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The Histories, Revised (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Herodotus , John M. Marincola , Aubrey De Selincourt
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 29, 2003 0140449086 978-0140449082 Reissue
Translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt with an introduction and Notes by John M. Marincola.

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Editorial Reviews


“De Sélincourt’s pacy, natural-sounding, rendering, as superbly revised and annotated by John Marincola…was a game-changer…still reads freshly and is a bestseller six decades after its first publication.”
--Edith Hall,  Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

A Greek historian, Herodotus (c.485-425 BC) left his native town of Halicarnassus, a Greek colony, to travel extensively. He collected historical, geographical, ethnological, mytholgical and archaeological material for his histories. Aubrey de Selincourt has translated Livy, Herodotus and Arrian, all for Penguin Classics. John Marincola is Associate Professor of Classics at New York University.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 771 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (April 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140449086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140449082
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
504 of 515 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Grene wins on the strength of the translation February 28, 2005
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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113 of 117 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Father of History...and Tourism June 24, 2004
The Histories is commonly thought of as the classic chronicle of the great 5th century BCE wars between the underdog confederacy of Greek city-states and the mighty Persian Empire. To the modern reader of military history, this implies an overriding focus on causes, strategy and tactics as well as detailed, extensive descriptions of pivotal battles. Herodotus, commonly referred to as the "father of history," takes a much broader approach with his work. While he does cover the heroic battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis and Plateau, their treatment is surprisingly shallow, with the bulk of the book dedicated to narration of the gathering storm of Persian power and related expository coverage of the many lands, nations and peoples, intrigues, power struggles and heroic achievements of classical times. Contemporary expectations aside, this is a fascinating book, consistently entertaining and, with proper attention to editor John Marincola's notes, highly educational.
Herodotus covers a remarkable swath of time and space, ranging from Egyptian pharaohs from c. 3000 BCE to the final expulsion of the Persians from European soil in 479 BCE and from Libya in the west to India in the south to central Asia in the east and Thrace in the north. His recurrent thematic elements include justice through vengeance, the contrast between free and enslaved peoples, the power of the gods as expressed through oracles, the constantly shifting fortunes of mankind and the disastrous consequences of arrogance and excessive pride.
Herodotus has been described elsewhere as the world's first tourist, a reflection of his apparently wide travel, fascination with other cultures and careful reporting of wondrous facts from the far corners of the world.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Call No Man Happy Until He Is Dead" - Herodotus May 1, 2006
Well, Herodotus didn't say it, but he's famous for relating Solon's words to Croesus in this book-- and many other words besides. Everyone should read this look at a world long dead, brought gloriously alive by the brilliant Herodotus. If you've never taken "the long view" before, you'll soon see that a lot went on before you were born (and a lot, no doubt, is yet to happen). Civilizations created and conquered, Gods worshipped and forgotten-- it reads like fiction or fantasy, but it is not: it's as close as Herodotus could get to telling the absolute truth as he saw it (and he saw a lot).

Some "classics" are hard to slog through and appreciate. This is not one of them. Read! Enjoy!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What can be added? December 16, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What more could be said above "father of history?" I will therefore limit my comment to this particular volume, the Penquin Classic. The writing is flowing and clear, and though I am not a greek scholar, it seems to convey the "feel" of what one would imagine from Herodotus. The notes at the end along with the additional material such as the structural and chronological outlines are very helpful in keeping track of the dates and the people in context. The only addition I would make is a few more detailed maps which would help with geographical context of the events and places. What I like about this and other Penguin Classics though is that the maps are consolidated into one place where they can easily be referred to throughout the reading. The maps do at least include the general maps of the Greek and Persian empires. All in all, a wonderful and afordable volume that will server as a great resource for enjoyment reading, research, and reference.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Encyclopedia Hellenica
Although Herodotus' Histories is ostensibly the story of the Great Persian War fought early in the 5th century BCE it covers so much territory in the fields of geography,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tom Marking
5.0 out of 5 stars Reference
I have this on my bookshelf and I keep going back to it a few times a year. High quality book and the content is obviously epic.
Published 2 months ago by b00kll0vr
5.0 out of 5 stars History
You have to be into history obviously to purchase and read this book. It's not exactly a page turner, but is a very interesting read at the same time. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Zack C. Hornbuckle
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
If you like ancient greek history you cannot miss reading it from its first origin, herodotus, the father of history
Published 4 months ago by Stamatios Perkizas
3.0 out of 5 stars How Persia came to invade Greece--with many tangential tales
This chatty account of the first great clash of East and West demands an interest in, and preferably a knowledge of, the people and places of that time. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Paul Vitols
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book that will never cease to educate it's reader.
Herodotus is truly the grandfather of history itself. I first obtained a copy of this book when I was in the seventh grade and I haven't been without a copy of it since. Read more
Published 6 months ago by woffy
4.0 out of 5 stars Great History
Great for any student. Great for anyone that loves history and anything in antiquity. I got this after taking a Greece and Roman history class. Herodotus is fabulous.
Published 8 months ago by JennaJoker
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE LOVE LOVE
I enjoyed every letter and every line and every page
to be honest I read it many times and IT INSPIRES ME SOOOO MUCH
Published 9 months ago by mona
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for historians, students of thought, and the period of the...
The Histories covers the period of wars between the Persians and the Greeks, shows the preparations leading the war, treating the Battles of Thermopolae, Salamis and other battles... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Steve
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical Treasure
Amazing detail of cultures long gone by the way of the wind. A time machine that transports the mind while it provokes new thought and emotion.
Published 12 months ago by Spice lover
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