Herodotus is not only the father of the art and the science of historical writing but also one of the Western tradition's most compelling storytellers. In tales such as that of Gyges—who murders Candaules, the king of Lydia, and unsurps his throne and his marriage bed, thereby bringing on, generations later, war with the Persians—he laid bare the intricate human entanglements at the core of great historical events. In his love for the stranger, more marvelous facts of the world, he infused his magnificent history with a continuous awareness of the mythic and the wonderful.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
Since the release of the film version of Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient, there has been renewed interest in the Histories of Herodotus--the book the dying patient treasures so much.
The writings of Herodotus are the ground zero of Western history. He lived during the fifth century B.C.E, and his Histories chronicle the events of the Persian Wars, which were within living memory when he wrote. He was the first writer to examine real, rather than mythical history, and although his work lacks the rigor of later histories, it has a breathtaking scope. Herodotus is a wonderful storyteller, and in recalling the wars with Persian invaders, he ranges across the ancient world, mixing politics with natural history and anthropology. These are traveler's tales, and a great deal of their appeal to a modern audience lies in the way Herodotus describes the cultures that influence his story. The societies of Scythians, Arabs, and Egyptians are depicted in detail, from their political structures to their dining habits. Herodotus created a sense of history for his people, and he gives us a picture of a distant past that reminds us of the vast continuum of civilization.Price: $18.33