We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
The Histories | [Herodotus]

The Histories

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.
Regular Price:$34.97
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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.

(P) Blackstone Audiobooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (267 )
5 star
 (83)
4 star
 (93)
3 star
 (58)
2 star
 (20)
1 star
 (13)
Overall
4.3 (115 )
5 star
 (59)
4 star
 (36)
3 star
 (14)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (3)
Story
3.5 (116 )
5 star
 (27)
4 star
 (39)
3 star
 (26)
2 star
 (14)
1 star
 (10)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Jefferson 07-03-11
    Jefferson 07-03-11 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1429
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    258
    231
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1022
    15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating and Well-Read History"

    I really enjoyed Herodotus' The Histories, about the background and main events of the epic wars between the ancient Persians and Greeks (translated by George Rawlinson). I was hooked by "the Father of History's" enthusiastic accounts of interesting historical and cultural information and impressed by his appealing balance of objectivity and subjectivity. And I savored his many digressions amplifying the historical context, as well as his detailed accounts of the different ancient exotic cultures (like the Egyptians shaving their eyebrows when their housecats died or the Scythians making capes from the scalps of their fallen enemies), which were in a sense all similar in their violence, heroism, treachery, brutality, ethnocentrism, and superstitious following of prodigies and omens and oracles. We haven't changed so much in 2000 plus years???

    Despite some listeners complaining about the reader, Bernard Mayes, I quickly came to enjoy his handling of The Histories, easily imagining myself listening to an elderly, experienced, and decent Herodotus. I appreciated Mayes' subtle changes in tone to express a variety of moods, from Xerxes' waxing wroth at some unpleasant advice and the Athenians getting peeved by the Spartans worrying that they would ally with the Persians, to the suspenseful accounts of battles like those at Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis that helped decide the course of world history. I found Mayes always to be right on task, always speaking with effective clarity and rhythm, always perfectly expressing Herodotus' humor, disbelief, admiration, and criticism of his historical subjects.

    The only flaw in the audiobook is the too frequent, sudden flash of a kind of static, which distracts from the overall experience to the point that I'm giving what should be a five star audiobook four stars. I highly recommend it.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Malcolm Clifton, VA, USA 10-24-08
    Malcolm Clifton, VA, USA 10-24-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Worth the Time to Listen"

    Keep a good history book handy for reference (maybe the first two volumes of Will Durant's Story of Civilization), don't be concerned during the first few hours when Herodotus seems to go off on tangents, and trust that all of this ultimately comes together in entertaining and informative fashion. Also keep in mind that new research is beginning to show that the information Herodotus relates, though often fantastic, generally had kernels of truth. He clearly made a good faith effort to collect and relay what he considered honest and correct information.

    Also be prepared for some pretty graphic material as the grandfatherly narrator with his professorial voice suddenly and matter-of-factly begins relating stories that sound more like something out of the Silence of the Lambs than a history book. Quite incongruous, but interesting.

    I enjoyed this throughout, and my 16 year old son, who thought I was quite daft when he initially encountered me listening to this in the car, began to get intrigued himself as we got close to the events conveyed (somewhat incorrectly) in the movie "300."

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Mesa, AZ, USA 07-24-08
    Steven Mesa, AZ, USA 07-24-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    60
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "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.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Tucson, AZ, USA 03-08-07
    David Tucson, AZ, USA 03-08-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Mediocre Narration"

    I really liked this translation of the ancient Greek, especially since it is so hard to translate. I did, though, find the narrator lacking in color and emotional depth.

    Regarding the work itself: If could only have read one book in my life, it would be Herodotus' ethnography and history of the Scythians. They blow my mind. I wish I were Scythian...

    If a narrator narrated with a little more "umph"/"chutzvah"/"spirit", I would easily give it 5 stars.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 05-21-12
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 05-21-12

    A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7840
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    405
    401
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1368
    15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Everett A. Ham, III Little Rock, Arkansas 12-25-06
    Everett A. Ham, III Little Rock, Arkansas 12-25-06 Listener Since 2006

    Still a Hippy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "They don't call him ,..."

    The Father of History for nothing. As you start reading (or listening) you will very quickly become hooked on the masterful storytelling.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aleks Bellevue, WA, USA 02-18-06
    Aleks Bellevue, WA, USA 02-18-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Excellent Book, Lousy Sound Quality"

    The sound kept fading in and out to the point of distracting from this classic. A shame.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie Grey McCawley Sydney Australia 09-10-10
    Leslie Grey McCawley Sydney Australia 09-10-10 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    148
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    401
    33
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    1
    Overall
    "Pretend the narrator is your favorite Uncle"

    Every few minutes the oblivious elderly narrator bumps into the microphone or some other object nearby, which is very distracting. If you think of the reading as a favorite uncle or prof telling you his opinion of the history of the known world up to that point, (and who just happens to bump into whatever is near him) that makes it more tolerable. I am surprised anyone thought this narration worth selling as a product or worth paying for; I should have previewed it first, obviously. That said, if you can ignore all that, then the stories are mind-numbing, in a good way. So many civilisations I had never even heard of before! So many tyrants being horrible in ways new to my imagination when I foolishly thought the current evil of humanity was surely the worst. Amazing perspective on human history, in other words, and very worth either reading or listening to. It would be useful to have a map of the ancient world handy, though, as it is hard to envision the rise and fall of all these kingdoms, tribes and empires.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth B. Wolfe Santa Fe, NM 10-06-11
    Kenneth B. Wolfe Santa Fe, NM 10-06-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Quite a pleasure"

    This is an excellent book to listen to. The main story is highly engaging and the book is full of interesting side stories. The narration is well done. The translation, however, is old-fashioned (plenty of 'thee's and thou's).

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theodore Croton-on-Hudson, NY, United States 12-10-11
    Theodore Croton-on-Hudson, NY, United States 12-10-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Whether this is true or not I can not say..."
    What made the experience of listening to The Histories the most enjoyable?

    This book has great scope covering the geography, history, anthropology and zoology of the known world a the time. It covers Persia, Scythia, Egypt and Syria. There might be a thing or two about Greece also. Some of it might even be true. But the story is so compelling as not to matter, and Herodotus says as much many times.


    What about Bernard Mayes’s performance did you like?

    He sounds very much like my Oxfordian grandfather, if I had one.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 19 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
Sort by:
  • Francis
    Liverpool, United Kingdom
    9/10/06
    Overall
    "Curiously successful"

    Herodotus read his book aloud at Athens and in many ways this work seems an ideal choice for an audio book. Bernard Mayes'voice is distinctive, and his manner may seem at first rather fussy and pedantic.But in a curious way this suits the discursive narrative style of Herodotus and his indefatigable interest in details.The translation- Rawlinson-is accurate but archaic in tone.Yet Bernard Mayes reads with such intelligence that he succeeds in creating a plausible voice for Herodotus and sustains interest throughout a very long and various work. Some listeners may be put off by a voice different from the usual mannerof reading by actors,others may be deterred by the archaic language of the translation used, but anyone who persists in listening to this very long book will get to know in an enjoyable way one of the most endlessly fascinating works of the ancient world.This version seems to me much preferable to the alternative read by the egregious and ubiquitous Charlton Griffin

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Francis
    Liverpool, United Kingdom
    9/10/06
    Overall
    "Curiously successful"

    Herodotus read his book aloud at Athens and in many ways this work seems an ideal choice for an audio book. Bernard Mayes'voice is distinctive, and his manner may seem at first rather fussy and pedantic.But in a curious way this suits the discursive narrative style of Herodotus and his indefatigable interest in details.The translation- Rawlinson-is accurate but archaic in tone.Yet Bernard Mayes reads with such intelligence that he succeeds in creating a plausible voice for Herodotus and sustains interest throughout a very long and various work. Some listeners may be put off by a voice different from the usual mannerof reading by actors,others may be deterred by the archaic language of the translation used, but anyone who persists in listening to this very long book will get to know in an enjoyable way one of the most endlessly fascinating works of the ancient world.This version seems to me much preferable to the alternative read by the egregious and ubiquitous Charlton Griffin

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Colin
    DublinIreland
    8/21/07
    Overall
    "A perfect book, a perfect reader"

    I was intermittently enthralled, amused, appalled and amazed with this reading of Herodotus. Throughout the incredible journey Herodotus leads one, Mayes? interpretation is a delight; he becomes a faithful renderer of the author?s words, then a friend with whom one reads the text, finally, and magically, the voice of Herodotus himself. It's a sorrow to have to finally part with them. It's a thoroughly satisfying and inspiring experience and the very essence of what an audiobook can and should do; offering to the mind the richest gifts of the world?s literature.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • UKJ
    12/17/08
    Overall
    "Herodotus"

    Excellently and beautifully told. I can only recommend it !

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • A. J. McGowan
    London
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Old-fashioned but great"

    This book will astound you, at times, enthral you at others, baffle you occasionally and ultimately fill your brain with some of the greatest stories ever told. The translation seems to be rather dated (it would be great if Audible supplied more info on translations generally), and Bernard Mayes delivery is a touch dry, but neither gets in the way of your enjoyment. One tip - have a good map or series of maps close by - this is often very hard to follow without one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • George
    Solihull, United Kingdom
    5/17/12
    Overall
    "Amazing"

    I always found Herodotus a bit of a struggle to get through, especially with his tiresome geographical ramblings, but this Audiobook was delightful! Herodotus is a great storyteller and, whilst that may be at the expense of simplifying history into convenient moral anecdotes, it's a pleasure to hear about the adventures of Croesus of Lydia, Cyrus the Great and all the other wonderful characters. The narrator even manages to make the dreariest sections surprisingly enjoyable.

    I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to learn about the "hostilities between Greeks and non-Greeks."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rosemary
    St brelade, jersey, United Kingdom
    1/10/10
    Overall
    "Grim Reading"

    Awful and turgid - don't buy really should be avoided

    1 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.