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The irony of how patterns repeat throughout history. What is essentially an Ancient Greek History Textbook, is eloquently delivered so as not to bore the audience with a wooden pitch that might so readily be associated with the reading aloud in a classroom.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
When reviewing an audio book version of an ancient classic it is hard to decide what you are assessing: the classic itself, the translation or the performance.
The Histories stands on its own; if you are contemplating listening to this then you know why you have chosen to do so and have a good idea what it is about. Suffice it to say that if you have the slightest interest in the ancient world you then you owe it to yourself to read or listen to it.
Being unable to translate the Greek I am in no position to comment on the quality of the translation. The translator is not specified. As well as listening I also read Tom Holland's translation; the version here seemed no better (or worse).
I can, however, comment on the performance of the reader, which really is quite excellent.
Any additional comments?
"The Histories," by ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, is full of myths, folklore, legends, historical facts and tall tales. Herodotus basically traveled around the ancient world asking people questions about their lives and cultures and histories, and then wrote down whatever they told him. Because of this reporting style he is known as both the Father of History and The Father of Lies. Whether he records true tales or tall tales, it is interesting to know what ancient people said and thought about their world.
He covers a lot of ground, figuratively and literally. His writing style flows like the Meander river; full of twists and turns. I've listened to all the versions available on Audible, and David Timson's narration is best suited to Herodotus' tangential asides. His conversational style is engaging and enthusiastic. It's nice to hear someone giving the proper excitement for topics like the Battle of Marathon, Persian Culture, Egyptian Culture, Peloponnesian War, Greek-Persian Wars, the Artemesium battle, the Amazons and the Spartans at Thermopylae.
The 9 books are named after the 9 Muses, so here's a breakdown of topics:
Lydia, Medes, Persia, Cyrus
Egyptian And African History, Customs, Geography
Cambyses Conquers Egypt; Cambyses' Death; Smerdis;
Darius; 20 Persian Satrapies
Europeans; Darius Fails To Conquer Scythia;
Greek Colonies In Libya (Cyrene, Barca); Persia Invades Libya
Persia Conquers Thrace, Paeonians;
Ionian Revolt Under Aristagoras Of Miletus;
Former Athens-Sparta Conflicts;
Athenian Tyrants & Democracy;
Conflict Between Athens And Darius Begins
Miletus Conquered & Ionian Revolt Quelled;
Thrace, Athos, Macedonia Fall;
Rivalry Between Spartan Clemenes & Demaratus;
Athens & Plataeans Defeat Persia At Marathon Under Miltiades
Darius Dies--Xerxes King;
Invasion Of Thrace, Thessalia;
Athens And Sparta Unite;
Shipwrecks Of Persians;
Leonidas' Defeat At Thermopylae
Battle At Artemesium;
Attacks On Phocis, Boeotia, Delphi, Plataea, Athens;
Victory At Salamis
Greek Victories At Plataea (Mardonius Killed); Greeks Attack Thebes; Victory At Mycale, Siege Of Sestos
70 of 73 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
I am a big history fan. However, I hesitated to purchase Herodotus' Histories as I was concerned it might be excessively archaic, difficult to follow, etc. Not so! The narrative is very entertaining, mixing history, anthropology, and myth. The reader is terrific--he seems perfectly suited to the material. I highly recommend this audio book to fans of history, and of the ancient Near East in particular.
34 of 35 people found this review helpful