The Persian Wars, Volume 1

  • by Herodotus
  • Narrated by Charlton Griffin
  • 14 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Unquestionably, Herodotus has left mankind one of the world's greatest works of literature. But what, precisely, is it? The Persian Wars is part history, part geography, part anthropology...and completely entertaining. It possesses a charm that is legendary. However, over and above this, Herodotus has succeeded for all time in brilliantly expressing the conflict between the ideal of the free man defending his liberty within a state based on the rule of law, and that of the despot who bases his rule on brute force and whose subjects are considered slaves. In his writing we experience the impact of that great intellectual, moral, and ethical force that set the Greeks apart from the rest of the Ancient World. The Persian Wars is a magnificent epic of human triumph over the forces of tyranny, of the struggle over two diametrically opposed concepts of government...between which man must still choose today.The first four books of The Persian Wars serve as an introduction to the actual conflict itself. In this leisurely unwinding of events, people, and places, Herodotus provides the listener with a fascinating glimpse of the Ancient World. It is a marvelous journey into an exotic time filled with strange and savage tribes, beautiful cities and monuments, and - as always - born along on that inimitable charm that is unique to Herodotus.Translation by George Rawlinson.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I had heard of Herodotus since my boyhood but assumed he was irrelevant due to old age. However, since signing up for I have taken a great liking to ancient histories.

I have found the reading of this book so excellent that I thought I was listening to the author himself. The reading is so comfortable and warm that I just decided to take a trip on the river of history and let Herodotus carry me where he wished.

The most touching and almost inspiring section was Herodotus' decription of how the Athenians felt about defending their homeland from destruction, how they felt about and valued their political and personal freedoms, and how they realized their culture was unique in the world and thus vital to save.

Herodotus talks about the most personal habits of the various cultures he visits, and tells a great story. Sometimes his accuracy seems remarkable, and other times his observations and facts were charming but wrong. I found it interesting to hear how kings justified going to battle, and how they got their subjects to go along with them.

Herodotus and the ancients put great faith in oracles, and I can only wonder...

I recommend the entire book's two parts, and am looking forward to listening to reader Charlton Griffin's other readings.

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- Benedict

Herodotus! II

Bottom line, this work is for the serious historical enthusiast. And if you are one, then it is very possible you will appreciate this as one of the most import works you have read.

The Persian Wars is an amazing window in time, among the greatest gifts from antiquity. Undoubtedly, this is the best way to get, at least, some appreciation of the brutality, superstition, enmity, doubt, hearsay, and ridiculous speculation that completely ruled the lives of every person living 2400 years ago.

I have found that only the ancient historians can provide us with a profound appreciation of the impact that superstition and religion had on essentially every human action. A modern historian can tell you this, but when you hear it from someone who lived then, as simply an everyday and integral part of their story, it really comes to life.

For me, it is a jaw-dropping experience to hear how some of the most import events in history were decided by a witch doctor's interpretation of the flight of birds or of the quality of the lobes of the liver of a sacrificial victim. Neither Hollywood nor our modern educational system gives us any real appreciation of the vast quantities of animals and people who were sacrificed in ancient times for these purposes.

You are going to need a good atlas of ancient Greece and Persia if you listen to this. These are easily found in any public library. Unfortunately, there is no single history currently available from Audible that will provide you with the background you will need. I do not think it makes any difference whether you listen to Cyril Robinson's history of Greece before listening to Herodotus Persian Wars. Both presuppose that the reader has an education of the ancient world that most people born in the twentieth century do not have. Yet, each work fills in many of the pieces lacking in the other.

Charlton Griffin's narration is absolutely amazing. And I cannot imagine a more difficult work to narrate. MB
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- Michael

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-16-2003
  • Publisher: Audio Connoisseur