Judy's Reviews > The Histories

The Histories by Herodotus
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Aug 28, 11

Read from August 13 to 29, 2011

I picked up this book on the strength of its reputation as an entertaining read (and because a GR friend promoted it recently - thanks Umberto) and I have not been disappointed! What a treasure chest of historical narrative (if sometimes suspect!), remote/exotic geographical explorations, ethnographic studies, bizarre travellers' tales, enigmatic oracular pronoucements and dramatic recreations.
As well, Herodotus offers readers a chance to immerse themselves in 5th Cent.BC Greek thinking about a wide range of subjects/issues, not least of course those themes generated by the primary narratives of Persian imperial expansion and the Persian-Greek Wars - themes which are reflected in miniature in many of the (so called) digressions.
So even though we might lament the reliability Herodotus' accounts (and we must be fair - he himself acknowledges lack of certainty/accuracy about various events and deeds at several points in his narrative) still it must be agreed that his record is of great value, preserving so much of contemporary (largely oral) tradition, but also presenting it in a thematically integrated and very readable way.
Highly recommended - not just for historians but for anyone who fancies the prospect of travelling around the Ancient Greek and Persian Worlds (inclusive of allied or subjugated nations around the Mediterranean and even beyond) with a delightful guide who has an instinct for the interesting and knows how to relate it in an engaging way.
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umberto Thanks, Judy, I appreciate your compliment.


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