Herodotus: Volume 1: Herodotus and the Narrative of the Past by Rosaria Vignolo Munson (Professor of Classics, Swarthmore College)
Herodotus' Histories is a fascinating account of the interactions between the Greeks and their powerful Near-Eastern neighbours. In it he explores the long-term causes for the Persian invasions of Greece in the early fifth century BCE, a momentous event both for the development of Greek civilization and for the beginnings of historiography, and traces the rise of the Persians as rulers of a large multi-ethnic empire whose lands and cultures are vividly described. This first surviving history is a tapestry of brilliant and entertaining narratives, but it also addresses profoundly serious concerns, such as the advantages and failings of different forms of government, the role of religion and morality in public life, and encounters with different cultures. This collection - the first of two volumes - is dedicated to the historical component of the Histories and includes important previously published essays, some translated into English for the first time, which discuss Herodotus' historical method, sources, narrative art, literary antecedents, intellectual background, and political ideology. The introduction contains an account of Herodotus' life and times, as well as a survey of recent scholarship designed as a guide for contextualizing the selected articles according to the range of approaches they represent.