I was studying Ancient History and we were meant to read a handful of chapters in Herodotus that related to the topic we were focused on.
But I fell in love. I couldn't get enough of this world and these people that I knew nothing about. I wanted to know more. Much more.
Over the summer holidays I brought my own copy of Herodotus (& The Peloponnesian War, but that's another story!) & I read the book from cover to cover, underlining and highlighting as I went.
Yes, I have been a bookish 'conchie swot' geek all my life!
I've been wanting to reread it ever since (& The Peloponnesian War).
Ruth @A Great Book Study is working her way through Susan Wise Bauer's book, The Well-Educated Mind. She has now reached the History section...and the first book on the list is Herodotus The Histories.
My school copy fell apart years ago - being held together with nothing but tape and contact.
I had purchased a new copy a couple of years ago in the hope I would find time to reread it soon.
First published in 441BC, Herodotus is often referred to as the father of history. The translator of my current 2003 Penguin Classics edition is Aubrey de Sélincourt.
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 European lake-dwellers; and far-fetched accounts of dog-headed men and gold-digging ants.
With its kaleidoscopic blend of fact and legend, the "Histories" offers a compelling Greek view of the world of the fifth century BC.
How to Read History:
According to Susan Wise Bauer, these are questions to consider when reading a historical work.
Who is the author, and does he/she state the purpose for writing?
Who is the story about, and what are the major events?
What challenge did this hero/heroine face, and what causes this challenge? What is the result of the hero/heroine?
Do the characters progress/regress, and why?
Where/when does the story take place?
What are the historians' assertions, and what questions is he/she asking?
What sources does the historian use to answer them?
Does the evidence support the connection between questions and answers?
Does the historian list his or her qualifications?
What is the purpose of history?
Does this story have a forward motion?
What does it mean to be human?
Why do things go wrong?
What place does free will have?
What relationship does this history have to social problems?
What is the end of history?
How is this history the same as - or different than - the stories of other historians who have come before?
Are you game?
Are you ready to go back in time, to the beginning of Western civilisation?