Herodotus, one of the earliest and greatest of Western prose authors, set out in the late fifth century BC to describe the world as he knew it - its peoples and their achievements, together with the causes and course of the great wars that brought the Greek cities into conflict with the empires of the Near East. Each subsequent generation of historians has sought to use his text and to measure their knowledge of these cultures against his words.
This commentary by leading scholars, originally published in Italian, has been fully revised by the original authors and has now been edited for English-speaking readers by O. Murray and A. Moreno. It is designed for use alongside the Oxford Classical Text of Herodotus, and will replace the century-old historical commentary of How and Wells (1912) as the most authoritative account of modern scholarship on Herodotus.
Books I-IV cover the history and cultures of Lydia, Egypt, Persia, and the nomads of Scythia and North Africa, in their contacts with the Greeks from mythical times to the start of the fifth century BC; these themes, with many digressions, are woven into an account of the expansion of the Persian Empire and its relations with the Greeks.
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