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The Histories

4.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0192126092
ISBN-10: 0192126091
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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek

About the Author


Robin Waterfield is a distinguished translator whose version of Plato's Republic has been described by Publisher's Weekly as "the best available."
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 772 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 7, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192126091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192126092
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 2.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Library Binding
This new translation of the Histories by Herodotus, is a timeless gem. The works shows new nuances lost in past translations, and is clearer in content and context than other translations I have read.
Personally I purchased the library edition, as I expect to read it and use it as reference for many years. With this edition, both the cover and binding are of superior quality to the traditional hard cover, as are the pages.
I highly recommend this version for students and classics buffs. If the price is unseemly, go for either the hard cover or paperback translations, you will be happy with this translation of Herodotus
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Format: Paperback
Tacitus Histories deals with the turbulent year 69AD the year of four emperors. Tacitus eye for detail which allows us to understand the personalities of Galba, Otho, Vitellius and Vespatian and their motivations and ambitions in this trully chaotic time in Rome's history. The sinister role of the Praetorians in these events is faithfully accounted. I found I could not put it down! Very readable compared to the Annals. The translation is first rate. The work is also supported by numerous foot notes and maps. Anyone interested in this period of Roman history must read this book.
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By A Customer on September 14, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I thought this was a fantastic book. It shows not only insights into the lives of people from 2500 years ago, but shows how little our motivations have changed. Every digression by Herodotus is not only pardonable, but entertaining.
This translation is very readable compared to those others which I only started and put down. I have no ability to assess the accuracy of the translation, however.
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Format: Hardcover
I would give 5 stars, except for some design and layout issues: the notes are at the rear of the book, very inconvenient, and the margins are a bit narrow for such a thick book. And I miss the traditional OUP blue cloth binding. The translation itself was modern, conversational, I'm glad I picked this edition to read.
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Format: Hardcover
Tacitus' The Histories is a narrative account of the history of the Roman Empire in 69-70 AD, the year following the suicide of Nero and the collapse of the first dynasty of post-republic Rome. When I first saw that it was a 300 page history of a one year period, I thought it was going to be boring, and get bogged down in details which I don't particularly care about, but I was completely wrong. In this one year period there were four different emperors, civil wars, intrigues, barbarian rebellions, and general calamity. All of this is recounted in the extremely eloquent prose of Tacitus, who had mastered the latin language and is a treat to read. His speeches, especially, are superb.

What makes the work especially enjoyable is not the flurry of events, but the general flavor of the writing. Instead of the pandering, propaganda-laced accounts seen by many lesser ancient historians, Tacitus takes a rather pessimistic view of both Rome and human nature, pointing out underlying motives and pointing out the follies of both the masses and of the great men of the period. He is extremely astute and fun to read. I only wish so much of his Histories had not been lost to history.

As for the edition, the translation by Kenneth Wellesley that Penguin uses is pretty good. It's definitely an improvement over the older Church translation, though that one isn't necessarily bad.

Overall, I'd definitely recommend giving it a read if you haven't already. If you're interested in understanding the history of the Roman Empire, it's obviously an important read, but even if you're just looking for a good history book to road, it's worth checking out just based on it's enjoyability.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is so handy to have, Tacitus, right in my Kindle for spot reading of his viewpoints on a number of watershed events & persons in Roman history.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a book that is nearly two thousand years old. It survived the destruction of the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages. "The Histories" survived because it is so well written. While listening to this book, I was often times taken a back by the sheer power of Tacitus' prose. His descriptions of the follies of civil war are as memorable as any of Goya's Caprichos. Tacitus was a master of scorn. "The Histories" vividly personifies Roman characteristics like dignitas and gravitas. If all this were not enough, Blackstone Audio uses a classically trained English actor as the narrator. It was almost like listening to Masterpiece Theater. This is a great book and it is beautifully read. It does not get much better. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
In The Histories, Herodotus gives us the Greco-Persian wars and the epic events which led up to them. Beginning with Croeseus' loss of Lydia to Cyrus, Herodotus deftly relates the creation and expansion of the Persian empire and ends with the Persian military defeat at Mycale. Herodotus' writings will challenge the reader as during his narratives he often abruptly changes tack and sets of on a seemingly unrelated aside. However, he does eventually return to his original subject and the reader soon learns to enjoy this ad hoc style. In the end, these departures combine to provide a thoroughly comprehensive whole.
The Histories are best when Herodotus narrates events, however his descriptives of people and places can, at times, render the reader a touch glassy-eyed. This is most apparent when Herodotus, early on, devotes an entire book to Egypt and it's people. Libya, too, receives the same treatment later on and, for those in tune with his typically fast-paced narrative, it can present a bit of a bog. The battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plaetea are all wonderfully recounted and, overall, The Histories is a marvelous work and should be required reading for all.
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