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Reading Herodotus

A Guided Tour through the Wild Boars, Dancing Suitors, and Crazy Tyrants of The History

Debra Hamel

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Hamel takes us on a delightful, audacious romp through The History of the Persian Wars.

Debra Hamel’s book is a lively introduction to The History of the Persian Wars, Herodotus's account of Persia's expansion under four kings—Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius, and Xerxes—and its eventual collision with the city-states of Greece.

The History can be a long slog for modern readers, but it is full of salacious tales about sex, violent death, divine prophecies, and cannibals. Following the structure of the original work, Hamel leads the reader through a colorful tour of the central stories that compose The...

Hamel takes us on a delightful, audacious romp through The History of the Persian Wars.

Debra Hamel’s book is a lively introduction to The History of the Persian Wars, Herodotus's account of Persia's expansion under four kings—Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius, and Xerxes—and its eventual collision with the city-states of Greece.

The History can be a long slog for modern readers, but it is full of salacious tales about sex, violent death, divine prophecies, and cannibals. Following the structure of the original work, Hamel leads the reader through a colorful tour of the central stories that compose The History. She highlights the more interesting and important parts of the story while providing readers who are new to Herodotus with the background information necessary to appreciate the author’s wide-ranging subject matter. At once academic and cheeky, the experience of this book is like reading Herodotus while simultaneously consulting a history of Greece and a scholarly commentary on the text.

Reviews

Reviews

Hamel presents Herodotus and his material in an original, illuminating, and entertaining way. By leading the reader through Herodotus’s text from beginning to end, the book provides an accessible introduction both to Herodotus and to an exciting period of Greek history, which culminates in the Persian Wars.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
360
ISBN
9781421406565
Illustration Description
5 halftones, 9 line drawings
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Timeline
Maps
Attica and Boeotia
Greece
Asia Minor and the Aegean
Asia and the Mediterranean
Introduction
1. How to Destroy a Mighty Empire: The Story of Croesus of Lydia
Gyges and Candaules
The

Acknowledgments
Timeline
Maps
Attica and Boeotia
Greece
Asia Minor and the Aegean
Asia and the Mediterranean
Introduction
1. How to Destroy a Mighty Empire: The Story of Croesus of Lydia
Gyges and Candaules
The Historicity of The History
The Wisdom of Solon
The Misfortunes of Adrastus
Consulting the Oracles
Athens and Sparta
The Capture of Sardis
The Wisdom of Croesus
Torture and Prostitution
2. Cannibals and Conquests: The Story of Cyrus the Great
The Birth and Exposure of Cyrus
The Recognition of Cyrus
Harpagus' Revenge
Vomit and Pederasty
The Persian Conquest of the Asiatic Greeks and the Revolt of Lydia
Crossing the Gyndes River
Sex and the City of Babylon
Cyrus' Campaign against the Massagetae
Is He Soup Yet?
3. Horny Goats and Medicinal Urine: The Egyptian Logos
Herodotus' Methodology
Egyptians Do It Backward
Pigs, Goats, and Satanism
Bring in Your Dead
Psammetichus and the Antiquity of Egypt
The Vengeance of Nitocris
Urinating for the Blind
Helen in Egypt
Rhampsinitus and the Wily Thief
Amasis, the Flatulent Revolutionary
4. Madness and Mummies: The Reign of Cambyses
Eye Doctors and Other Casus Belli
Thick-Skulled Egyptians
The End of Psammenitus
Mummy Whacking
The Ethiopian Logos
Cambyses and the Apis Bull
The Smerdis Affair, Part I: Prexaspes' Secret Mission
Lettuce, Puppies, and Sororicide
Trial by Fire: Cambyses and Prexaspes' Son
Croesus: The Final Act
Cambyses' Madness and Cultural Relativism
The Smerdis Affair, Part II: I'm Not Dead Yet
Cambyses: The Final Act
5. Meanwhile, Elsewhere in the Mediterranean: The Stories of Polycrates and Periander
Polycrates and the Ring
The Siege of Samos
The Crucifixion of Polycrates
Periander's Dynastic Troubles
Arion and the Dolphin
6. Earless Imposters and Randy Mounts: The Early Reign of Darius the Great
The Smerdis Affair, Part III: The False Smerdis Revealed
The Conspiracy of the Seven and the Fate of Prexaspes
Was the False Smerdis Really False?
The Constitutional Debate
The Neights Have It
Cannibals, Flying Snakes, and Gold-Digging Ants: The State of the Empire
Intaphernes and His Wife
Democedes of Croton
Fashion and the Fall of Samos
The Babylonian Revolt
7. The Trouble with Nomads: Darius' Scythian Campaign
Golden Flasks and Serpentine Seductresses: The Origins of Scythia
Gilded Skulls and Merry-Go-Rounds: Scary Scythian Customs
Crossing the Bosporus
Chasing the Scythians
The Persian Withdrawal from Scythia
8. Stuttering Kings and Lousy Deaths: The Libyan Logos
The Colonization of Libya
Arcesilaus III and Pheretime
Severed Breasts and Wormy Deaths
The Persian Expedition to Libya
9. Tattooed Slaves and Ousted Tyrants: The Ionian Revolt and Post-Pisistratid Athens
Megabazus and Macedon and Murder
Aristagoras and the Failed Expedition to Naxos
The Ionian Revolt, Part I: Histiaeus and Aristagoras
Aristagoras Visits Sparta
The Expulsion of the Pisistratids from Athens
Cleisthenes and Isagoras
The Further Intrigues of Hippias
The Ionian Revolt, Part II: Athens and the Burning of Sardis
The Ionian Revolt, Part III: The Battle of Lade and the Fall of Miletus
The Further Adventures and Complicity of Histiaeus
10. Miltiades, Madness, and Marathon: The First Persian War
Miltiades in the Chersonese
The Expedition of Mardonius
The Persian Heralds of 491
The Deposition of Demaratus
The Madness of Cleomenes
The Persian Advance: Naxos and Eretria
Marathon, Part I: Premonitions and Other Preliminaries
Marathon, Part II: The Long Wait
Marathon, Part III: The Battle
The Shield Signal and the Alcmaeonidae
Miltiades' Expedition to Paros
11. Feats of Engineering and Doomed Valor: The Second Persian War to the Battle of Thermopylae
The Succession of Xerxes
The Suppression of Egypt and the Persian Council of War
The Dreams of Xerxes
The Canal at Athos and the Bridging of the Hellespont
Eclipses and Corpses: Leaving Sardis
The Wisdom of Artabanus
From the Hellespont to the Borders of Greece
The Formation and First Congress of the Hellenic League
The Expedition to Tempe
The Oracle of the Wooden Wall
Thermopylae and Artemisium: The Greeks' Strategy and First Blood
The First Storm
Thermopylae, Part I: Preliminaries
Thermopylae, Part II: The Battle
Thermopylae, Part III: Epilogue
12. Trial by Trireme: The Battles at Artemisium and Salamis
Panic at Artemisium
The Second Storm and the Fighting at Artemisium
The Greeks Gather at Salamis
The Persian Conference at Phalerum
Themistocles' Ruse
"Woe, in Triple Banks of Oars": The Battle of Salamis
The Withdrawal of the Persian Fleet
The Kids, the Queen, and the Castrated
Secrets, Sieges, and Scandal: Themistocles and the Athenian Fleet after Salamis
Xerxes' Retreat
13. Conclusing Scenes: The Battles of Plataea and Mycale and the Siege of Sestus
The Stones of Salamis
The Road to Plataea
Plataea, Part I: Baggage Trains and Mysterious Strangers
Plataea, Part II: The Battle
The Battle of Mycale
Royal Love Affairs
The Siege of Sestus and the Conclusion of Herodotus' History
Appendix: Xerxes' Heralds and the Medizing of the Greek States
Notes
Translations
Bibliography

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Debra Hamel

Debra Hamel is an independent scholar and the author of Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan’s Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece.