"The Histories" describes how a small band of Greek city states united to repel the might of the Persian empire. But while this epic struggle forms the core of his work, Herodotus' natural curiosity frequently gives rise to colourful digressions: a description of the natural wonders of Egypt; an account of European lake-dwellers; and far-fetched accounts of dog-headed men and gold-digging ants. With its kaleidoscopic blend of fact and legend, this text offers a compelling Greek view of the world of the 5th century BC.
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A Greek historian, Herodotus (c.485-425 BC) left his native town of Halicarnassus, a Greek colony, to travel extensively. He collected historical, geographical, ethnological, mytholgical and archaeological material for his histories. Aubrey de Selincourt has translated Livy, Herodotus and Arrian, all for Penguin Classics. John Marincola is Associate Professor of Classics at New York University.