- Series: Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics
- Paperback: 376 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 20, 2003)
- Language: Greek, English
- ISBN-10: 0521596505
- ISBN-13: 978-0521596503
- Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.8 x 7.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,547,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Herodotus: Histories Book IX (Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics) (Greek and English Edition) (Greek)
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'invaluable' The Times Literary Supplement
Book IX of Herodotus' Histories provides the conclusion and climax to his work, as the victories at Plataea and Mycale complete the improbable Greek victory over Persia. This commentary, the first in English devoted solely to Book IX in over a century, treats Herodotus' work as both a historical narrative and a work of literature, incorporating the results of recent scholarly work in the fields of Greek history and historiography. It contains a Greek text together with detailed philological, literary, and historical notes designed to assist the intermediate Greek student.
Top customer reviews
This edition consists of a 50 page introduction, 50 pages of Greek text, about 215 pages of commentary, four brief appendices occupying 11 pages, a very comprehensive bibliography of almost 20 pages (current through 2002), and two indexes (one for Greek terms, and one for general topics). The authors provide enough grammatical and lexical help that a student in his or her third or fourth year of studying Greek should be able to read Book IX with little difficulty using the commentary, and the majority of the notes in fact are primarily designed to help with translation. However, the discussions of literary and historical issues are fairly complex and clearly pitched to an advanced audience, so this edition is probably not suitable for a student reading Greek prose for the first time (Amy Barbour's classic textbook "Selections from Herodotus" or Blaise Nagy's more recent "Herodotus Reader" are better options in this respect). Unlike many modern commentaries on the works of ancient historians, the treatment of historiographic problems is balanced quite well with discussions of the literary qualities of Herodotus's text. Delineating Herodotus's appropriation of Homeric language and ideology, for example, is accorded just as much importance as evaluating the historical accuracy of Herodotus's narrative. Readers who are interested in Herodotus from either a literary critical angle or from a historical angle will therefore both find useful material in this commentary.
There are number of other features of this edition that are worthy of note. The introduction - in addition to containing the usual accounts of Herodotus's life and times, an overview of his style and techniques as an author/historian, a very brief reckoning of the manuscripts, and an analysis of the major themes, characters, and events of Book IX - also includes a concise guide to Herodotus's Ionic dialect, giving readers who are only familiar with Attic prose a handy aid for identifying and understanding Ionic forms. The four appendices provide Greek texts of and commentary on primary sources that complement the narrative of Book IX (i.e. Simonides' poem on Plataea, the putative dedication of the seer Teisamenus, and the so-called 'Oath of Plataea') as well as a list of the troops composing the Greek and Persian battle lines at Plataea.
It is not possible in a short review to enumerate all the different questions and issues F&M cover in their notes, but I will say that their commentary is one of the most wide-ranging, erudite, and thought-provoking that I have encountered in this or any other series of commentaries on ancient texts. It is one of the few commentaries on the market that attempts to address ALL aspects of a text in detail while still prioritizing providing grammatical help to the student-reader, and on the whole it succeeds remarkably well in doing so. Moreover, the commentary is composed in a very straight-forward and engaging style and is often quite entertaining. For example, as part of a note on Herodotus's account of the seer Hegesistratus, who had to escape a Spartan prison by mutilating his foot so that he could wrest it free from the chain that bound it, F&M remark (pg.177) with perfect aplomb: "Two physicians have confirmed for us that Hegesistratus could have survived and not bled to death before reaching Tegea".
In short, then, this commentary combines magisterial learning with judicious organization and presentation, and should definitely be read by anyone with a few years of Greek and a serious interest in Herodotus and Greek History.