For about twenty years now, I've been trying to find the time, the brain-power and the courage to read a 2,500-year-old book.
Last week, I finally swam through the first set of breakers on my way to open water.
The book is "The Histories" by Herodotus. It's widely considered the first history ever written and Herodotus is widely considered to be the world's first historian. While I read a lot about the ancient world, until now I haven't had the moxie to go to the source. But having gotten to the source, I'm glad I did.
Naturally, I am reading a translation of Herodotus--and translations are never perfect. Nonetheless, I'm reading Herodotus for two reasons.
1. I love history--and of late I'm particularly interested in the East-West wars between the Persian Cyrus and his successors and the Athenian League and the Lacedaemonians (aka the Spartans.)
2. I love writing and I wanted to go back to some of its earliest examples. I wanted to see if I could learn anything about clarity, humor, description, that vile phrase storytelling, or anything else.
There's been a great, nodding acceptance to this mongrel dogma, with no one, really, asking for data to back up any of these assertions. They're said with such conviction, and so often, and by people in such big offices, that we have come to believe them.
In fact, all throughout the world until very recent times when we willingly kanyedashianed our culture, people would gather to hear Herodotus read.