Herodotus: The Histories

Review

by
published on 12 March 2014

Herodotus: The Histories, translated by Robin Waterfield, is an excellent version of the famous work. As with all of Waterfield's translations, the prose is lively, easy to read, and instantly engaging. Some readers may be put off by a translation which chooses a colloquialism such as `a lot' instead of `a great deal of' or `a plethora of' but the benefit of such a translation is that it makes the ancient stories accessible to those readers who could be confused by more archaic phrasing.

For those interested in reading the famous account of Artemisia I of Caria, and her role in Xerxes expedition to conquer Greece, this translation will truly be a delight. Artemisia's voice comes across clearly in the dialogue in a way which is sometimes lacking in older translations of the work. The same holds true throughout the book, of course, and Herodotus' voice - and his eccentricities - are quite apparent. In the narrative of Artemisia, however, one notices the vibrancy of her voice even more; perhaps simply because older translations have often failed to fully capture that quality.

An excellent book, Herodotus: The Histories, would make a fine addition to any personal - or public - library. Highly recommended.

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