Herodotus, widely known as the father of history, was also described by Aristotle as a mythologos, or "tale-teller." In this stylish and insightful book, intended for both general readers and students, James Romm argues that the author of the Histories was both a historian—in the original sense of "one who inquires"—and a master storyteller.Although most ancient historiansHerodotus, widely known as the father of history, was also described by Aristotle as a mythologos, or "tale-teller." In this stylish and insightful book, intended for both general readers and students, James Romm argues that the author of the Histories was both a historian—in the original sense of "one who inquires"—and a master storyteller.Although most ancient historians wrote only about events they themselves had lived through, Herodotus explored an era well before his own time—from the rise of the Persian Empire to the Persian invasions of Greece in 490 and 480 B.C., the heroic fight of the Greeks against the invaders, and the final Greek victory. Working without the aid of written sources, Herodotus traveled widely and wove into his chronology descriptions of people and countries he visited and anecdotes that shed light on their lives and customs. Romm discusses the historical background of Herodotus`s life and work, his moralistic approach to history, his insatiable fascination with people and places, his literary powers, and the question of the historical "truth" behind the stories he relates. He gives general readers a fresh appreciation of the Histories as a work encompassing fiction and nonfiction, myth and history, and poetry and prose. Herodotus becomes not simply a source of historical data but a masterful and artistic author who created a radically new literary genre.Hermes BooksJohn Herington, Founding Editor...
|Number of Pages||:||232 Pages|
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What a pleasure it is to be in such company: James Romm, a classicist at Bard College, who thinks and writes about classical Greece with such clarity and beauty, and his subject, the incomparable Herodotus. The book is part of a series of studies of ancient Greeks and Romans whose intended audience is the literate but non-specialist reader. The eloquent, witty, and insightful Romm is an excellent choice for Herodotus. You certainly wouldn't want to be reading stuffy academic prose about someone as fresh and curious, original, open, and modern as Herodotus, who developed an entirely new literary genre, encompassing fiction and non-fiction, myth, history, ethnography, and even poetry. Romm's book is a great introduction to Herodotus's great epic tale, the so-called Histories, which charts the rise of the Persian Empire and its ultimate defeat at the hands of the Greeks, as well as everything else that caught Herodotus's interest as he traveled extensively collecting stories and observing local cultures and customs. Makes me want to read the Histories again.
I enjoyed this quite a bit. Romm does not give short-shrift to any of the types of interpretation of the text, while at the same time telling you exactly what he thinks one should draw from it.
A very neatly written introduction to the Herodotean studies. It poses some extremely interesting questions and answers some others. No description of the Persian Wars is intended but rather an all-encompassing description of the first historian and his epic work.