Histories
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Histories
Herodotus
History
Aug 1, 2018
Generally regarded as the earliest example of historical writing in the literature of the West, the Histories of Herodotus tell the story of the war between the mighty Persian empire of Darius and Xerxes and the small band of independent Greek city-states that repelled their invasion in the first half of the fifth century BC. Herodotus’s account of the Persian Wars would alone justify his book’s classic status: It is through his narrative that generations upon generations have learned of the battles of Marathon (where the Greeks turned back Darius), Thermopylae (where Leonidas and a squadron of three hundred Spartans, knowing they would die, led the tiny force that deterred the advance of many thousand Persian troops), and Salamis (the naval battle in which the Greek fleet routed the invaders). As important as his other achievements are, his most significant is often the most overlooked: The mind of Herodotus was just about the first to wander the world in prose, and in his rambling, engagingly inquisitive narrative he discovers and refines this literary tool as one of literature’s essential instruments of invention and investigation. From the headwaters of his Histories flow not only long rivers of historical writing, but, ultimately, the deep waters of the novel, essay, and memoir as well.
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Feb 23, 2019
The Landmark edition is superb, with extensive explanatory material and numerous maps.
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May 18, 2019
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