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The Histories  By  cover art

The Histories

By: Herodotus,A. D. Godley Translator
Narrated by: Charlton Griffin
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Publisher's summary

Herodotus was a Greek historian born in Halicarnassus, subject at the time of the great Persian Empire. He lived in the fifth century BC (c. 484 - c. 425 BC), a contemporary of Socrates. He is often referred to as "The Father of History", a title originally conferred by Cicero.

Herodotus was the first historian known to have broken from Homeric tradition in order to treat historical subjects as a method of investigation, specifically by collecting his materials in a critical, systematic fashion and then arranging them into a chronological narrative. The Histories (also known as The Persian Wars) is the only work Herodotus is known to have produced. It is a record of his inquiry into the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars, including a wealth of geographical and ethnographical information. Some of his stories were fanciful and others inaccurate. Yet he states that he was reporting only what he was told. A sizable portion of the information he provided was later confirmed by historians and archaeologists.

Despite Herodotus' historical significance, very little is known of his personal life and academic history. The work is divided into nine sections, or "books". This version of The Histories is by A. D. Godley, first published in 1920.

Public Domain (P)2017 Audio Connoisseur
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Histories

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Popular for a reason

Strange sex/religious/law traditions across the very colorful world of tribes and nations more than 2500 years ago. There are also many tales and fables. My favorite bit is Herodotus wondering why the Nile rises so consistently and he present 4 different theories from presumably fellow Nile enthusiasts although he is pretty skeptical and dismantles them.
Fate/gods/prophecy and some philosophy are very present in the story especially the oracles.

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13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

very Long

Great narration. It never ceases to amaze me how bloodthirsty these people were. I'm really surprised that Herodotus was allowed to live to travel and gather all these stories

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10 people found this helpful

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best narrator ever

best narrator ever. book is good as well needs a good reader to make it good

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8 people found this helpful

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No wonder I could never get through it

I have tried to read this many times but so many odd names and places each with the son of son of ... much easier to listen to someone that knows the pronunciation, it flows better than reading it.

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7 people found this helpful

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Soft lands breed soft men

Great and entertaining history. Recommend. Especially first two books and last three.

"Soft lands breed soft men... [better] to be rulers on a barren mountain side than dwelling in tilled valleys to be slaves to others."
Herodotus

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4 people found this helpful

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The father of history indeed

I can't believe I made it through school without ever reading Herodotus. I expected something dry and boring and difficult to listen to. I was so wrong. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves history or Greek mythology.

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Too detailed and filled with too many names

Story very difficult to follow. There are so many names of people and places used that by the time people and places identified the story is lost. May be a valuable book for historical research, but not enjoyable for general history reading.

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Herodotus is great! This reader is super pompous

I'm a classicist and needed to do a quick reread of this translation of Herodotus for a specific class. I love the original text and author -- so many great anecdotes! And it really works out loud, as it was originally experienced (probably). The translation is old fashioned and doesn't really capture the liveliness of the Greek (would recommend the more recent one by Tom Holland instead, but I don't think that's on audible, you can get it in paperback). I enjoyed listening, because the material is so great. But the reader, who I know is beloved by many, seemed to me AWFUL. He really mangles many of the names -- there are a lot of names! And not only does he have very inconsistent approach to pronouncing them in general -- like, are you going to Latinize and do soft c and soft g, or are you going to do hard/ hellenic sound? he does both! totally at random -- and he even pronounces the same repeated names multiple ways -- I counted three different ways of saying Scythia, a name that of course comes up a great deal. He renders some well known names in a way that isn't just a variant pronunciation, it's wrong and misleading, like pronouncing Cyrene as if it had only two syllables (in general he often messes up on the long e at the end of many Greek names, which you'd think would come up enough that he'd get it as a trend), or mangling common names of Greek authors, like Hesiod or Pausanias. I'm not fussing about the rare names, but these very common ones need to be pronounced in a recognizable way! In some cases there are variant options, and that's fine if you pick one and go with it, but that is not this case... he's just mangling it and it's awful. I've worked with an audio reader for one of my own books, on the pronunciation of ancient Gk names, so I know it's possible for a reader/ actor with no specialist knowledge to put in the work and be humble enough to know that some consultation is needed, to get this kind of thing right -- but this recording really does not. He also uses/ has an extremely pompous, posh, very old fashioned British voice -- I'm British myself and very conscious of the different registers and social meanings of different British accents and dialects, so maybe this bothers me more than it does American listeners, but you can have a British reader who is less ultra-condescending in his tone than this. Herodotus in his narrative persona is chatty, often quite down to earth, and the pomposity of the reading felt antithetical to me. Plus, Herodotus was -- and this again is central to the work -- an emigrant/ immigrant, a traveler, not an "insider" in the culture of elite Athens, so again, it felt to me really inappropriate to have such a coded-as-insider posh "I went to Eton and Oxbridge you know" kinda voice. Ugh. Could have been so much better. But still 5 stars for the original content.

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Highly Recomend

Filled with interesting stories from Herodotus' travels, stories he heard, actions of the gods, and major events of the time. He gives his opinions on many of these stories from cyclops men in the North to fox sized ants that Indians collect gold from in the desert. He also recorded a great deal of fascinating customs and histories of the places he visited. After telling some of them he often gives his opinion and sometimes even simply says he doesn't believe it’s true.
Events that make up major parts of the book are the Ionian revolt against Persia and the Persian invasion of Greece. I was happily a little surprised by just how accurate the 2006 film 300 actually is.

The reading performance by Charlton Griffin was as great as usual and the clips of music between chapters were also great touches. I feel like it is exactly how this kind of history is meant to be presented.

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Fantastic Book and Reading

A timeless classic read by a master. I highly recommend if you are interested in the era.

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