Herodotus

Herodotus

Herodotus

Herodotus

Excerpt

While revising the proofs of this volume, I have often thought of the difference between a course of lectures and a book; and the severe words have returned to my mind, in which Thucydides, not without a glance at my author, distinguished between the show-piece designed for fugitive pleasure and the possession for ever. Listening and reading are different operations; the lecturer has one task, the writer another; and the endeavour to combine them at least helps a man to understand in a new way the art of Herodotus who triumphed over the difficulty. That the Sather Lectures shall be a book is one of the laws laid down for them.

My readers must at once be told that Herodotus makes better reading than any of us who have written upon him. After all, it is the business of the commentator to explore the charm of his author and to set others reading him. If some who heard these lectures in California, and perhaps others who may look at the book, are a little doubtful of their Greek, I would recommend Mr. A. D. Godley's translation in the Loeb Classical Library. The Greek text there faces the English, and I have used both; and I wish to thank the translator for the help that his work has given me. I hope I have not too often borrowed his renderings nor always quite spoiled them by variants of my own contrivance.

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