Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: The Histories by Herodotus

No one is fool enough to choose war instead of peace – in peace sons bury fathers, but in war fathers bury sons’ 

One of the masterpieces of classical literature, the Histories describes how a small and quarrelsome band of Greek city states united to repel the might of the Persian empire. But while this epic struggle forms the core of his work, Herodotus’ natural curiosity frequently gives rise to colourful digressions – a description of the natural wonders of Egypt; an account of European lake-dwellers; and far-fetched accounts of dog-headed men and gold-digging ants. With its kaleidoscopic blend of fact and legend, the Histories offers a compelling Greek view of the world of the fifth century BC. 

This celebrated translation of The Histories has been extensively revised and includes an updated bibliography, chronology, glossary and additional notes.

Received for review.

I've always meant to read this but I never did get around to it until now and I'm so glad I finally did.  While not the most historically accurate document around this is a fascinating look into an important time in human history.

While I found the six hundred plus pages of text (not even including the notes) beyond boring at times it still made for a truly engrossing read.  Yes, it took me absolutely forever and I thought it might actually be growing new pages daily but it finally did (and wasn't).

The text is extremely dry, despite the translator's best efforts but the notes he provides are invaluable and really help to make the text accessible to laymen.  The maps are also a wonderful addiction so you can really see where cities and countries in the ancient world were located in reference to each other.

Overall, if you're looking for an accessible, beautifully done volume of The Histories then this is it.  You simply cannot go wrong with it.  I definitely recommend it.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

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