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The Histories

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  41,392 ratings  ·  1,194 reviews
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 colorful digressions - a description of the natural wonders of Egypt; an account of Eu ...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 716 pages
Published January 30th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published -450)
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Carla Toby The first to approach history from a scientific perspective. Herodotus vectored away from the Homerian style of compilation,and attempted to put histo…moreThe first to approach history from a scientific perspective. Herodotus vectored away from the Homerian style of compilation,and attempted to put history in order, backed with facts rather than the traditional collections of oral histories put to paper. Seminal work which should be required reading, not only for the history itself, but for the beauty of the language. Magnificent book.(less)

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Grace Tjan
Jan 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, history, 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
...more
Jan-Maat
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 drama The 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
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Ἰστορίαι = The Histories, Herodotus
The Histories of Herodotus is the founding work of history in Western literature. Written in 440 BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that were known in Western Asia, Northern Africa and Greece at that time. Although not a fully impartial record, it remains one of the West's most important sources regarding these affairs. Moreover, it establis
...more
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. However he intersperses this main narrative with plenty of personal interest stories, “wonders” about firsts and bests, hist
...more
Trevor
Apr 10, 2009 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
...more
Smiley
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ancient-history
I think I would 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 cannot 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 -- m
...more
Brian
May 10, 2013 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
...more
Jonfaith
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Accordingly the Psylli took counsel among themselves, and by common consent made war upon the southwind---so at least the Libyans say, I do but repeat their words---they went forth and reached the desert; but there the south-wind rose and buried them under heaps of sand: whereupon, the Psylli being destroyed, their lands passed to the Nasamonians.

I read most of this edition (as opposed to the Landmark) picking up donated food for our residential component. It is a strange time. Therefore, it was
...more
Clif Hostetler
Sep 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
One of the surprising things about this book is that, despite its antiquity, the author’s personality comes through. Of course I’m hearing his voice through translation, but I couldn’t help but imagine that I was on the listening end of an extended conversation with the book’s narrator who had traveled widely, met many people, and read much. The book’s narrative sounds almost conversational with numerous digressions and detours that indicate extensive knowledge of the background of the character ...more
John Conquest
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I read: Histories by Herodotus

What I expected: Thucydides + Persians

What I got: Mountable battle dolphins
The complete discography of Kid Rock
Eyewitness testimony that Ethiopians produce pitch black semen (no homo)
"Our flying snakes will block out the sun!"
On all levels except physical I am a Mede *Whips the sea*
"Herodotus can I borrow 100,000 Persians?" "1,000,000 Persians? What do you need 5,000,000 Persians for?"
The Virgin Greek pederasty, the Chad Persian piss fetish
Paul Christensen
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Unreal book, at the intersection of Greek, Lydian, Persian and Egyptian history, and at the intersection of history and legend. Full of fascinating anecdotes and surmises, signs and wonders.
Michael
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Years ago, I was on jury duty in LA. This was back when jury duty largely consisted of waiting around in a large room each day for a week. I brought along a copy of The Histories (the Rawlinson translation published by Everyman's Library) and found myself engrossed by all the stories, tall tales, gossip, rumors, etc. It's a wonderful panoply that's on offer here! Sure, Herodotus was criticized by many for not writing "facts," but the power of stories is far greater, and he knew it.
Jonathan
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are an English speaker there is no reason for you to consider buying any other edition of this text. Brilliantly translated, filled with just the right amount of footnotes, maps and pictures, and there is an appendix for pretty much everything you could think of.
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
...more
Amy
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Talk about an on point beard!



A surprisingly fun read and certainly worth it for historical significance alone.
...more
Beth
“These are the researches of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, which he publishes, in the hope of preserving from decay the remembrance of what men have done, and of preventing the great and wonderful actions of the Greeks and the barbarians from losing their due meed of glory; and withal to put on record what were the grounds of feud.”

Herodotus’s reference to his “researches” (sometimes translated “inquiries”) uses the Greek word historie, from which we get “history.” This is the first recorded use o
...more
Cphe
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, non-fiction, history
This was way outside of my comfort zone and I doubt if I'd have undertaken it if it hadn't been read as a group read. I went into it without any prior conceptions. I just thought it would be interesting, and it was.

A long read and in parts a difficult read as I initially found it challenging to grasp the differing but similar sounding names. (it took some getting used to)

However it was interesting, fascinating in parts learning of the cultures, mores, people who challenged and changed the world
...more
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.
Christopher
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
...more
Jim
Apr 22, 2009 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
Lauren
Jul 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Oh Herodotus, in some ways I feel like he was my college roommate - fore I spent that much time with him... very enjoyable reading from the "Father of History" about the spread of Hellenism and the Persian empire. Read for my senior thesis in undergrad - it was good to read these classics.
Joaco
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cajonera
Superb book, it immersed me in ancient Greece. Herodotus skills are unmatched as a story teller, although the speeches are far better in Thucydides.

Written at the outset of the Peloponnesian War this book comes across as Athenian propaganda some times. However, all the detail provided of the different civilizations the Greeks had contact with is just great. For anyone who enjoys reading on the subject this is a fun, thorough and excellently crafted book.

Props to Herodotus for being more entertai
...more
Jonfaith
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jonfaith by: Brian
Astyages had a daughter called Mandane, and he dreamed one night that she urinated in such enormous quantities that it filled his city and swamped the whole of Asia.

These Landmark editions are an amazing resource. The Father of history reveals the story of the Persian Wars and by achieving such he contextualizes with anthropological glosses on all the relevant parties. Each succession, each tradition is explored. Is there speculation and conjecture? Well, of course. The approach aspires to an ob
...more
Czarny Pies
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: greek-and-roman
This book merits five stars because it truly represents the starting point of Western historical writing.

Herodotus asks all the basic questions that historians are supposed to when confronted with a source. Is the account truthful? If you think that it is not truthful do you ignore the information provided or use it and share your reserves with the reader? The best of historians will occasionally reject truthful accounts and accept lies as truthful. The point is that Herodotus is clearly adopti
...more
James
During the fifth century B.C. Herodotus of Halicarnassus traveled the known world making inquiries and doing research on the origins and events of the wars between the Persians and the Greeks. This sizable text was the result and it includes what he referred to as enquiries but what encompasses much of what we would call history, sociology, anthropology, mythology and more. It is a wonderful narrative providing the essential background and events, including famous battles like Thermopylae and pr ...more
Alex
Nov 16, 2013 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
...more
David Sarkies
Mar 12, 2014 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

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
...more
Thomas
"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
Sue K H
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Landmark edition of Herodotus' Histories deserves no less than 5 stars so that's what it gets from me. If I rated it on how much I actually enjoyed reading it, it would have to be 3 stars with parts being 5 stars and 2 stars and everywhere in-between. I went through this pretty quickly without trying to study it. I skimmed some of the parts that dealt with the minutia of particular topics that didn't have a lot of interest to me. Unless you're interested in just about every ology and ograph ...more
Sorento62
Ok, I am going to say I am officially done reading The Landmark Herodotus as of December 21, 2018. I finished the body of the text long ago but had been holding out with the intent of reading several of the critical essay appendices. I believe I did read one or two of those critical essays, but I don't expect to read more of them any time soon.
My main recommendation is yes, if you are going to read Herodotus, you should most definitely read The Landmark Herodotus. Having all those maps right the
...more
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Herodotus (greek: Ηρόδοτος )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", as well as "The Father of Lies." He was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent, and arrange them in a well-con ...more

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