From the editor of the widely praised The Landmark Thucydides, a new Landmark Edition of The Histories by Herodotus.
Cicero called Herodotus "the father of history," and his only work, The Histories, is considered the first true piece of historical writing in Western literature. With lucid prose, Herodotus's account of the rise of the Persian Empire and its dramatic war with the Greek city sates set a standard for narrative nonfiction that continues to this day. Illustrated, annotated, and filled with maps—with an introduction by Rosalind Thomas, twenty-one appendices written by scholars at the top of their fields, and a new translation by Andrea L. Purvis—The Landmark Herodotus is a stunning edition of the greatest classical work of history ever written.
The first historian, Herodotus was also arguably the most ambitious. To explain the military triumph of Greece over superior Persian forces in the years leading up to 479 BCE, he saw fit to describe Egyptian mummification and even a species of ant reputed to gather gold in India. Successfully navigating his sprawling Histories requires a background knowledge of ancient geography and events largely unfamiliar to modern readers. Organized by Robert B. Strassler--an amateur classicist who previously edited a popular edition of Thucydides--The Landmark Herodotus considerably improves accessibility by integrating hundreds of maps and extensive timelines, effectively outfitting the Histories with a spatio-temporal GPS. In this new edition, casual readers will have no trouble following the Persian pursuit of the Carians across the Maeander River in 497, or finding out, by way of the extensive index, how the Carians helped Psammetichos become king of Egypt more than a century earlier. This is a real service, yet the deeper achievement of The Landmark Herodotus is to amplify the first historian's own epic accomplishment: Herodotus understood that all events interrelate, and attempted to locate the war between Greece and Persia within this vast web. His "omnivorous curiosity," as Strassler calls it, has given way to the narrower professionalism that began with Thucydides and continues to this day. The Landmark Herodotus stands as a challenge, demonstrating how history defies specialization.Jonathan Keats