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The History

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  30,489 Ratings  ·  819 Reviews
David Grene, one of the best known translators of the Greek classics, splendidly captures the peculiar quality of Herodotus, the father of history.

Here is the historian, investigating and judging what he has seen, heard, and read, and seeking out the true causes and consequences of the great deeds of the past. In his History, the war between the Greeks and Persians, the or
Paperback, 710 pages
Published January 15th 1988 by University Of Chicago Press (first published -440)
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Thomas T for sure, at the start the names and the places can seem confusing but once you get past that this is a fascination read chronicling the epic struggle…morefor sure, at the start the names and the places can seem confusing but once you get past that this is a fascination read chronicling the epic struggle between the Persian Empire and the Greeks headed up by Athens & Sparta, Herodotus goes way back before that and lays out the origins of the beef, who the key players were and their backgrounds, how it escalated into full blown war etc, he also often goes off on interesting side stories and tangents for example like providing commentary on how it was noticed that the skulls of dead Persian Soldiers are so much weaker when compared to the skulls of dead Egyptian Soldiers?, how the Tribes of the Thracian's lament and mourn when a new child is born to the tribe and celebrate and rejoice when one of the tribe dies, the reason being that for the first his woes and struggles have only just begun, for the latter all his struggles and worries are behind him, This book is a fountain of information to a world long gone yet remains as contemporary as ever in its observations on the exercise of power and the scheming and machinations of Men, an absolute classic in the truest sense of the word, only thing i would add is that i read the "Landmark Herodotus" edition and found all the Maps and side notes hugely beneficial in getting my head around the places and names, for example when the Persians invaded Scythia and the Scythian's engaged in a fighting retreat/ scorched Earth Policy to defeat them knowing the Scythia is modern day Ukraine and therefore part of the Eurasian Steppe made more sense and interestingly made me wonder if the Russians got their Scorched Earth idea that they used against Napoleon and later the Germans from the Scythian's via Herodotus? anyhow i'm rambling a bit now so ill say goodbye but definitely do give it a go, its a hugely rewarding read.(less)
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Grace Tjan
Jan 18, 2010 Grace Tjan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, classics, 2010
What I learned from this book (in no particular order):

1. Ancient Greeks are quarrelsome and love to waste each other’s city-states for the pettiest reasons.

2. From all forms of government known to man, democracy is the best. Tyrants and oligarchs suck.

3. The Persian Empire is a mighty barbarian nation, but being cowardly, effeminate and slavish, it is eventually defeated by the quarrelsome but brave and civilized Greeks.

4. Among the Greeks, the Spartans are the bravest. Gerard Butler with a si
Riku Sayuj

Hubris in History: A Recurring Terror

“The conversion of legend-writing into the science of history was not native to the Greek mind, it was a fifth-century invention, and Herodotus was the man who invented it.”

~ R.G. Collingwood

The prime subject of The Histories is the twenty years (499-479 B.C.E) of war between Greece and Persia for domination of the Greek world, but he intersperses this main narrative with plenty of personal interest stories, “wonders” about firsts and bests, historical p
What do Herodotus and Tristram Shandy have in common? Progress through digression.

I suppose my first acquaintance with the work of Herodotus was through that technicolor cold war dramaThe 300 Spartans in which a rampantly heterosexual force of Spartans defends freedom, liberty, and all that good stuff from allegedly ferocious yet ineffective hordes of freedom hating Persians. The appalling, appealing, simplicity of that film is a grave disservice to the genius of Herodotus – already mauled by Th
May 10, 2013 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brian by: Hadrian
Shelves: ruard_referred
It wasn't just Vollmann's fourth reference to Herodotus in a span of 20 pages in Rising Up and Rising Down, it was the reality and shame that I'm in my 40s and the most I know about the war between Persia and the Hellenic city states is what I learned from the movie 300. Thus, The Histories.

First: I can't imagine what it would have been like reading these nine books by Herodotus in any format other than this simply amazingly researched and presented volume. The Landmark has to be the final word
Aug 20, 2009 umberto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I'd like to invite my Goodreads friends to browse any Book you like, then take heart to start with Book I as the inception of the whole inquiry unthinkable to those Greek scholars at that time, but Herodotus could make it and you can't help admiring him when you read his famous preamble, "Herodotus of Halicarnassus here displays his inquiry, so that human achievements may not become forgotten in time, and great and marvellous deeds -- some displayed by Greeks, some by barbarians -- may n ...more
Apr 10, 2009 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The kids bought me this for Christmas and it is a thing of infinite beauty. I’ve been meaning to read these histories for years and never quite got around to it. I had never realised quite how remarkable this book would be.

This version of the book is the third that I now own – I’ve also got a copy of the Penguin Classics and I’ve just finished listening to this as a talking book. But I am going to make my way through this book eventually, as it is hard to focus on many of the details of the wars
Huda Aweys
لم تكن تلك فكرتي عن (تاريخ هيرودوت) قبل قراءتي له ، كنت أطنه أكثر علمية من ذاك لكثرة ماتم الإستشهاد به و الرجوع إليه أكاديميا
حكايات لطيفة و مشوقة على أي حال :) ، و من أكثر حكاياته التي لفتت ناظري حكاية قمبيز مع ملك إثيوبيا ...، و
كنموذج من النماذج الأنثوية الفريدة في التاريخ القديم
peiman-mir5 rezakhani
دوستانِ گرانقدر، با آنکه زنده یاد «هرودوت» این مورخ نامی، در برخی از اخباری که ارائه نموده، در مورد ایران خصمانه برخورد کرده و در جاهایی نیز نوشته هایش بسیار با واقعیت فاصله دارد، امّا در هر حال میتوان گفت که یکی از کتبِ تاریخی مرجع میباشد که برخی از اخبار و رویدادهایی که نوشته، تنها در همین کتاب یافت میشود... این مورخ نامی زحمات بسیار زیادی برای بر جای ماندن تاریخ برای انسانهای امروزی کشیده است و مشکل فقط و فقط همان تحریف هایی است که بعضاً به دلیل دشمنی دیرینه با ایرانیان، وارد اخبارش کرده است. ...more
Lazarus P Badpenny Esq
"When the moment finally came to declare their purpose, the Babylonians, in order to reduce the consumption of food, herded together and strangled all the women in the city - each man exempting only his mother, and one other woman whom he chose out of his household to bake his bread for him."

As the British Government bludgeons the nation with its ideologically-driven 'Austerity Budget', note that the ancients had a strategy or two for surviving straitened times themselves. And they managed to pr
How to review Herodotus? It's much like trying to review the Bible. Most would probably say something like, "I liked the blood and guts and stories about the cheating wives of kings; the genealogies were boring." But I found the entire book utterly captivating. It's something special to be able to lose yourself in a world that's completely different from your own, that has a rich history of its own with strange characters and stranger frontiers.

Herodotus is truly a child of the world, marveling
Apr 22, 2009 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although he is the very first historian in Western Civilization, Herodotus has something of a bad reputation for being too gullible. Current critical opinion tends to favor Herodotus's near contemporary, Thucydides, the author of an equally great history of The Peloponnesian War. And yet, as I re-read the earlier book, I was surprised that Herodotus frequently notes that he doesn't always believe what he has been told, but presents it anyhow, if only because the Greek word for "history" is the s ...more
Camille Stein

Heródoto, con y sin acento | el librero web -


La originalidad de Heródoto se sustancia en la amenidad de la expedición histórica que propone. No es tan relevante la exactitud de los hechos como la intención de involucrarse en el transcurso de los mismos: ser a la vez testigo y protagonista de una realidad que se convierte en aventura literaria, cercana y tremendamente atractiva.
David Sarkies
Mar 12, 2014 David Sarkies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: David Hester
Recommended to David by: Lover's of history and the classics
Shelves: history
An anthropological and historical survey of Ancient Greece and the Near East
26 April

Located in the Ancient Agora in Athens, under the reconstructed Stoa (porch) of Herod Atticus, is a bust of what could be considered to be the world's first ever historian.

Herodotus – The World's first Historian

It always fascinates me that in an era long before photography was ever conceived, and the ability to paint was restricted to basic drawings and sketches (if indeed they have survived), that because of the skill and ability of the ancient scu
"Inquiry" is the proper title of this work, from the Greek ἱστορία, but Herodotus will never be known as "The Father of Inquiries," so I guess he's stuck with the History tag. It is helpful to know that the goal of Herodotus was not strictly an accounting of events -- his primary purpose was to ask questions about remarkable things (including foreign cultures, bizarre landscapes, strange animals, and amazing tales) and report them in a way that might eventually explain the reasons for the Persia ...more
I absolutely adore this book! It is among my top favorites. What I'm sure most people identify it with, if they can identify it at all, is the movie 300. Yes, this book does relate the first, true story of the 300 Spartans and not with comic pictures. It is one of my favorite stories in this book (there are many: suicidal cats, burning of Athens, Croesus and Solon, etc.), but it is far from the baseness of the horribly inaccurate movie.
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
More Infinite Jest than The History of the Peloponnesian War. Honest.

Wish I had the Landmark edition at the time. But Oxford does make nice books.
Jul 20, 2013 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read this work three times before, always in George Rawlinson’s traditional translation. I wanted to read it at least once more as I listened to the lecture series on Herodotus by Professor Elizabeth Vandiver of Whitman College, a lecture series made available through the Teaching Company via their Great Courses. At Vandiver’s recommendation I used Robin Waterfield’s more recent translation and found it most satisfactory. This edition also contains adequate maps, an essential feature contr ...more
Nov 16, 2013 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, rth-lifetime
Herodotus, as advertised, writes with a breezy, conversational, scandalous tone; the Histories can be confusing, and the events related in them are only sometimes of any real interest, but it's fun to just hang out and listen to Herodotus tell stories.

That said, if you were to choose to read excerpts instead of the whole, I wouldn't judge you. Over 700 pages, it all starts to run together pretty badly. Book Two is really fun; Books 6 - 8 cover Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis, the famous, deci
Sep 24, 2010 Nemo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greco-roman, history
Herodotus was hailed as "The Father of History" by Cicero; To me, he might as well be the Father of Humanism.

I've read a few war epics, Homer's Iliad, Hugo's Les Misérables and Tolstoy's War and Peace, The Histories excels them all in terms of scope, structure, richness of content, intricacy and theatrical grandeur. The main theme / storyline is the Persian Wars, i.e., the conflicts between the Persian Empire and Greek nations, culminating in the invasion of Greece by Xerces I; the underlying th
Feb 02, 2015 Yann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hérodote, ça a été pour moi la porte d'entrée dans le monde de l'antiquité...
L'enquête, Livres I à IV
L'Enquête. Livres V à IX
Patrick Gibson
Apr 14, 2011 Patrick Gibson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: truth_sort-of
“Only YOU would go around carrying a copy of Herodotus.”

What did my friend Richard Halverson mean by ‘only YOU?’

Doesn’t everyone find the big H. interesting and funny?

My summers as music apprentice at Chautauqua Opera gave me tons and tons of free time and (if you’ve ever been there, you know) opportunity to read things outside any syllabus.
While waiting for some prima donna director to mount the perfect ‘Turandot’ I spent hours buried in ‘The Histories.’

Now, I am re-reading this – and finding
May 12, 2011 Kenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah, the sublime egoism of the internets, where a mere mortal like me writes a review of Herodotus.
Obviously, as he is the first historian, you should read him. Even if he were boring and inaccurate, you should read him. But Herodotus is certainly not boring, and he's not as inaccurate as a lot of famous quotes from him would make you believe. It's sad, but Herodotus' reputation for inaccuracy, which he had even in the ancient world, comes largely from people stupidly misreading his greatest stre
Sep 24, 2007 Brendan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hegel and Marx get a lot of credit for changing the way we view the writing of history, and well they should. But Herodotus was highlighting the subjectivity of historical records well before either were born.

Here's a perfect example of how translation really does matter: the Penguin Classics edition of Histories is a very different read from this one. The Oxford translation has more humor, more self-awareness, more of an understanding that even Herodotus doesn't necessarily think what he is rep
Aug 22, 2008 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Friends
Not for everyone, and even I could read it in chunks, but I loved it. Herodotus, the first historian, eschewed myth, which is why he was the first historian, but he wasn't above gossip and chattiness. This awesome volume has superb maps showing the places being discussed and even the routes taken by people being talked about. The notes are voluminous, and the translation is wonderful. I'm not a classicist, and don't know any Greek, but the classicists I know who do know the original, say it is t ...more
Rosa Ramôa
Jul 03, 2014 Rosa Ramôa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Autor da história da invasão persa da Grécia (princípio do século V a.C.), conhecida simplesmente como As histórias de Heródoto.
Heródoto é o pai da História!
Heródoto foi o primeiro a gravar o passado e a considerá-lo um problema filosófico ou um projecto de pesquisa que podia revelar conhecimento do comportamento humano.

Sep 22, 2015 Aharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When in India, look out for the dog-sized ants because THEY ARE FAST. Just one of many useful travel tips from our boy H.
Todd N
Nov 15, 2007 Todd N rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know I made a New Years resolution to only read economics and personal investing books, but dammit I walked by this on my bookshelf too many times. And I was at Keplers the other day fondling the new Landmark edition (which weighs about 20 times my paperback edition), which got me in the mood for some nutty stories about the ancients.

This is what I call a "Godfather" book because as you read it a lot of cultural references will suddenly make sense. (I didn't watch the Godfather until relativel
Aug 25, 2009 Jeremy rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyable. Herodotus nails down the social and political fabric of his reality in a sprawling, widely digressive work that serves as history, social commentary, geography, philosophy, and scientific rumination all at once without ever reducing to any one of these. Sure, you need an atlas and probably a glossary to keep track of all the places and names, and yes there are many inaccuracies, but that's the point, the ancient world can be a big, messy, place, and nothing is too big or too sm ...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
It took me awhile to get through this one, as there was just so much research that needed to accompany it to find out where and what was always being referenced. Thank goodness for wiki! I had always heard how incredible Herodotus was as a historian, but I found that he was very humble in what he proposed. For example he would reference this or that peoples living in a mountain or eating certain fruits etc. and then he would say that he found the part about them having one eye very unbelievable ...more
Bryn Hammond
Mar 15, 2015 Bryn Hammond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-history
The Landmark Herodotus: blue/black/white maps every few pages; set out for readability; marginal content notes to skim through or locate events; opens to lie flat; short appendices A-U and an exhaustive index; the only fault in its well-thought-out usability may be its weight on your lap. Inexpensive for the quality.
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Herodotus (/hɨˈrɒdətəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἡρόδοτος Hēródotos) was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria (modern-day Bodrum, Turkey) and lived in the fifth century BCE (c. 484–425 BCE). He has been called "The Father of History" (first conferred by Cicero), as well as "The Father of Lies" (first conferred by Voltaire). He was the first historian known to collect his material ...more
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“He asked, 'Croesus, who told you to attack my land and meet me as an enemy instead of a friend?'

The King replied, 'It was caused by your good fate and my bad fate. It was the fault of the Greek gods, who with their arrogance, encouraged me to march onto your lands. Nobody is mad enough to choose war whilst there is peace. During times of peace, the sons bury their fathers, but in war it is the fathers who send their sons to the grave.”
“Of all men’s miseries the bitterest is this: to know so much and to have control over nothing.” 105 likes
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