The Histories

  • by Herodotus
  • Narrated by Bernard Mayes
  • 28 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Herodotus is not only the father of the art and the science of historical writing, but also one of the Western tradition's most compelling storytellers. In tales such as that of Gyges, who murders Candaules, the king of Lydia, and usurps his throne and his marriage bed, thereby bringing on, generations later, war with the Persians, Herodotus laid bare the intricate human entanglements at the core of great historical events. In his love for the stranger, more marvelous facts of the world, he infused his magnificent history with a continuous awareness of the mythic and the wonderful. For more than a hundred generations, his supple, lucid prose has drawn readers into his panoramic vision of the war between the Greek city-states and the great empire to the east. And in the generosity of his spirit, in the instinctive empiricism that took him searching over much of the known world for information, in the care he took with sources and historical evidence, in his freedom from intolerance and prejudice, he virtually defined the rational, humane spirit that is the enduring legacy of Greek civilization.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Pater historiae: Latin, b/c who gets Greek jokes?

The narration was solid, but not top shelf. The Histories, however, is one of those books where an audiobook helps. Reading Herodotus, one can often get bogged down in the loops of geography, people, history, culture and meandre through miles of esoterica. The audiobook gives you a good pace and force-marches you through to the end. I enjoyed the audiobook, but utilized it more as a tool as I read the Landmark series. That is another aspect where the audiobook helps. When reading one translation and listening to another, similar translation, the reader/listener is often able to glean additional information.
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- Darwin8u

Difficult but enlightening

At 29 hours long, this is at a times a difficult listen. The story can be dry and lacks the imaginative preoccupations of fiction. That being said, the narration gives the feel that you are hearing the stories from the mouth of Herodotus himself. Like an entrancing old man who rambles on and on, you half listen out of respect to him, and half in wonder at things you've never heard before. I enjoyed the story and narration, but the audio quality was a little lower than I would have liked.

For a fan of ancient history, this is a must listen which sheds new revelations into other pieces of classic literature and in many respects sets up the mental stage for them.
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- Steven

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-06-2004
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.