How many of you have actually read Herodotus? I wouldn't really read it for historical value, but its such an enjoyable read nonetheless. It blends history and legend so elegantly. The sections on Persia, Egypt, and Phoenicians are my favorite, as well as learning about the tyrants of Corinth.
>that part about the Phoenicians prostituting their daughters in temples
Got pretty hard desu.
Again, it's like poetry - sorta, they rhyme.
I read Herodotus way back in my A-levels doing work on the Persian Empire. I can't remember much since it was so long ago but I remember really appreciating his work because most of the other shit was so blatantly fucking fictional that his work seemed sane.
People like to shit on Herodotus as the father of lies, but I think he's actually one of the best historians ever. Do you know why?
>i'm writing many years later but I know for a fact that x did y
>since I wasn't there because it was several years ago I had to speak to people who were there or their children, one group says that x did y but another group said that x did z. I'm not sure which is true but i'll leave that up to the reader to interpret.
If later historians did shit like this, the entire field would be much better.
Yeah - I mean when you're dealing with sources this old secondary sources often become primary sources themselves because you see them as a product of their time and what the historian's views is indicative of public opinion.
There is clearly some fucking nonsense in his work. But to the best of my knowledge he backed most of his silly claims up with actual evidence
>The foulest Babylonian custom is that which compels every woman of the land to sit in the temple of Aphrodite and have intercourse with some stranger once in her life. Many women who are rich and proud and disdain to mingle with the rest, drive to the temple in covered carriages drawn by teams, and stand there with a great retinue of attendants.
>But most sit down in the sacred plot of Aphrodite, with crowns of cord on their heads; there is a great multitude of women coming and going; passages marked by line run every way through the crowd, by which the men pass and make their choice.
>Once a woman has taken her place there, she does not go away to her home before some stranger has cast money into her lap, and had intercourse with her outside the temple; but while he casts the money, he must say, “I invite you in the name of Mylitta” (that is the Assyrian name for Aphrodite).
>It does not matter what sum the money is; the woman will never refuse, for that would be a sin, the money being by this act made sacred. So she follows the first man who casts it and rejects no one. After their intercourse, having discharged her sacred duty to the goddess, she goes away to her home; and thereafter there is no bribe however great that will get her.
>So then the women that are fair and tall are soon free to depart, but the uncomely have long to wait because they cannot fulfill the law; for some of them remain for three years, or four. There is a custom like this in some parts of Cyprus.
Last time my dick got this hard from reading was Genesis 19:30-36
Alan Megill's Historical Knowledge, Historical Error has a nice little thing on Herodotus' reflectiveness on historical fact and the idea that fuzzy "memory" and objective "what really happened"-history can both exist without one eating the other
It's in like the first five pages but it echoes what you are saying interestingly
The tales he told were great; I still remember Canduales getting kekolded--I'll have to pick up the Landmark Edition and re-read some day.
Anyone enjoyed Thucydides? I found him to be a nice contrast to Herodotus.
studied ancient history / languages so i ended up reading the bulk of these in its original form. Thucydides was informative, but i loooved the gossip and catty info from herodotus.
this is one of my favorite books of all time. read it when I was really young and still love it today. found the eros and psyche bits really beautiful.
>I besprinkled their faces with my liquid dung and forced them to leave off.
>that whole section where he is accused of murder but it turns out to be a massive ruse by the townsfolk to satiate the god of laughter
Also, Querolus was great if you can find it anywhere in translation. It's under-known as fuck since it's from the very end of the empire.
Yea. Its really short, can read through it in a few hours. I enjoyed it a lot. It gives good insight into hoplite warfare, how hoplite armies are formed, how they go on campaigns, the dangers of campaigning, and relationships between Hellenes and their neighbors.
Which translation is best?
I was recommended Landmark, has anyone read that?
Querolus is so peculiar, though it definitely didnt seem like it was meant to be performed on stage (probably a big part of why it's neglected, so much debate about it being prose or verse!).iI read it for study of syntax and style, but i don't remember finding an adequate translation sadly.
that one is pretty good and lively, def check it out. it's also a pretty nice parallel to caesar's gallic wars if you've read that.
the best translation is really contingent on what you prefer and or need it for. i prefer accurate translations (very literal) or translations which are stylistically true to the author vs clear/clean.
i really enjoy Grene's translation because it's stylistically more accurate to the original text- this might be too convoluted for some people though. i'd sample a couple of pages from amazon/library and choose based on which you enjoy best.
This guy knows. Removing oneself as far as possible from the position as omniscient narrator is extremely important when making anything close to an attempt at telling the truth.
Thucydides' speeches are pretty awesome, but pretty much everything else is dry besides for his telling of the Plague of Athens, the Syracuse Campaign, the whole Alcibades jumping around to every side, the downfall of Democracy in Athens, and his beliefs on how close to the truth are some legends. But it gets boring at times when he talks about some side sending a few hundred troops to some bumfuck area and never come back to it.
Exactly. It's why I believe he's better than Thuycdides.
Herodotus gives all accounts he hears and tells you to judge for yourself what's true, and there's little reason to distrust him for being bias on a lot of the passages. You can't fear at his Greek-Persian War writings as being entirely "GREECE, FUCK YEAH!" just because he's Greek, as his home island initially surrendered and contributed to the Persian cause, which they got shit for by the Athenians and Spartan led coalition that one might rightfully project that a lot of the Halicarnassians like him, would try to rationalize their siding with the Persians as a response to their prosecution. Because of this, there's a lot of trust one can put in Herodotus in not to get too personally connected to one side.
And although Thuycdides restrains himself for getting too personally involved with choosing a particular side, there still is concerns with what he presents is often the account that he believes as the objective truth, and doesn't bother showing the others. Though one may not have many reasons to fear that he's in favor of kissing Athens ass in his writings, just because he's Athenian, given that he was exiled by the city before his writings; there still is room for concern with his portrayal the political figures in Athens and if he was biased or distorted them in his writings. He makes Alcibades and Creon out to be these big pieces of devious shits, and Pericles and Nicias as very rational leaders, which I believe it's very likely he distorted them because of his views.
Bumping this neat thread.
>His whole heart was in his work; he knew his business well and was master of every stratagem for the undoing of chastity. No amount of vigilance could protect the marriage-bed from his attack; no bars could shut him out. He would have haled even Danaë from her refuge in the brazen tower. He would represent his patron as dying of love. Was the lady stubborn, he would win her by his patience; was she greedy, by a gift; flighty, he would corrupt her with a jest. None could arrest the attention of a maidservant with so neat a touch as he, none twitch aside a dress so lightly and whisper his shameful message in her ear. Never was any so skilled to choose a scene for the criminal meeting, or so clever at avoiding the wrath of the kekold husband should the plot be discovered
Claudian, Against Eutropius 1