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Designed for students with little or no background in ancient Greek language, history, and culture, this new abridgment presents those selections that comprise Herodotus’ historical narrative. These are meticulously annotated, and supplemented with a chronology of the Archaic Age, Historical Epilogue, glossary of main characters and places, index of proper names, and maps.
“Romm has made a judicious selection of the most important passages from the Histories and he has joined them with concise summaries of the intervening events so as to make the book a unified, coherent whole. The translation (provided mainly by Shirley, although many key passages have been translated by Romm) is lively and readable, and Romm’s notes provide just the sort of information that a first-time reader of Herodotus would need. Romm’s ‘Introduction’ is perhaps the most valuable aspect of the book. By highlighting the main themes and explaining Herodotus’ use of imaginative material, Romm helps the reader make sense of a text that is sometimes unwieldy. Romm also situates Herodotus’ work within its historical context, providing sensible answers to important questions such as the publication date of the Histories and Herodotus’ views on events in the Peloponnesian War. The volume also includes a chronology of the Archaic Age, maps, and a glossary of important characters and places. In short, Romm and Shirley have produced a valuable desideratum: an excellent, one-volume introduction to Herodotus’ Histories. It would be eminently suitable for undergraduate readers, particularly in a Greek History or Ancient Greek Civilization class.”
—Susan O. Shapiro, The Classical Outlook
"This compilation gathers the most significant stories in the Histories. Samuel Shirley’s elegant translation is enhanced by James Romm’s excellent introduction and epilogue and clear, informative notes. This is altogether a fine piece of work, which gives a good sense of the wonderful variety in Herodotus’ text.”
—Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, Wesleyan University
"This crisp, user-friendly volume provides the historical essence of Herodotus’ great Histories, emphasizing the growth of the Persian Empire and its momentous conflict with Greeks in the early fifth century B.C.E. The book includes substantial excerpts from the Histories, enhanced by connecting summaries; the selections include many of Herodotus’ most fascinating anecdotes as well as the most important historical decisions and events.
"On the War for Greek Freedom is a remarkably successful introduction to the Histories. Samuel Shirley’s fresh, contemporary translations recall the charm and diversity of Herodotus’ language, while James Romm’s lively introduction, notes, and (best of all) summary passages allow even a casual reader to comprehend and enjoy this kaleidoscopic text.”
—Deborah Boedeker, Brown University
About the Authors:
James Romm is Associate Professor of Classical Studies, Bard College.
Samuel Shirley, (1912-2006), was Classics Exhibitioner of Balliol College, Oxford, and Latin Lecturer at Cardiff University.