The way of Herodotus : travels with the man who invented by Justin Marozzi

By Justin Marozzi

During the classical age of Greece, Herodotus wrote the 1st historical past textual content. yet what he created used to be even more than this. trained via his personal travels, his historic paintings digresses greater than it chronicles, with stories of the lands and peoples he visited. As Michael Ondaatje as soon as famously instructed, “What you discover in him are the cul-de-sacs in the sweep of history.”

In The means of Herodotus, intrepid trip historian Justin Marozzi retraces the footsteps of Herodotus throughout the Mediterranean and heart East, studying his 2,500-year-old observations concerning the cultures and locations he visited, and discovering echoes of his legacy reverberating to this present day. it's a vigorous but thought-provoking day trip into the area of Herodotus, with the guy who invented heritage ever current, guiding the narrative along with his discursive spirit.

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Piped music and the sweet smell of suncream waft across the waterfront, mingling with the crowd of pink-skinned sunseekers blinking in the white light. Çanan, a slim, diminutive woman harmoniously dressed in a black linen dress, wide-brimmed sunhat and Jackie Kennedy sunglasses, winces at the sight of these visitors. ‘These people are not interested in Herodotus,’ she says darkly, as though this is an unforgivable offence. We drift on towards the castle past a prominent sign on the seafront: Come on our Boat for Fun and Frolic, The Captain is an Alcoholic.

The Oscar-winning film was such a hit that sales of the Histories went stratospheric. One of the joys of Herodotus, and there are many, is that you can dip in and out at whim, pick him up for a foray among the Scythians or a blood-curdling battle in Greece, join him on his architectural 22 i n t ro d uc t i o n survey of Egypt or on a grand tour of ancient-world geography, take him on holiday, read him on the loo, there’s no end to it. Over the years I have come back again and again to Herodotus.

When you read Herodotus, you discover a wonderful companion. He kept the globe-trotting Polish war correspondent and writer Ryszard Kapus´cin´ski company for most of his life, a voice of sanity, restraint and humanity amid the barbarism of the many conflicts he covered. He never left the side of another wartime devotee, Count László de Almásy, the enigmatic Hungarian soldier, spy and explorer whose reallife exploits in North Africa were fictionalised in Michael Ondaatje’s novel The English Patient.

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