Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Herodotus's Histories

Book review by The Movie Snob

The Histories, by Herodotus. Barnes & Noble has put out a nice, cheap line of classics in hardcover format. (I'm guessing they're all public-domain works.) So I thought I should give this classic a whirl. This particular translation is by G.C. Macaulay and dates to 1890. It is, as you expect, rather formal in tone, so it takes some effort to read. And most of the proper names become a blur in short order. Example: "From Lipoxais, they say, are descended those Scythians who are called the race of the Auchatai; from the middle brother Arpoxais those who are called Catiaroi and Traspians, and from the youngest of them the 'Royal' tribe, who are called Paralatai . . . ." But you can kind of let the proper names drift by and still enjoy the story of how the Persian Empire tried and failed to conquer Greece in the years up to and including 479 B.C. It's not quite as sensatinalistic as the movie 300, but there are plenty of battles (well, including the Battle of Thermopylae, depicted in 300) and interesting stories, mostly about treachery and revenge.


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