'The two sides rained arrows down upon one another from a distance; then, when all their missiles were spent, they clashed and grappled together in close combat, stabbing with spears, fighting hand to hand with daggers.' The Histories of Herodotus of Halicarnassus is considered the first work of non-fiction and the first work of history. Written about 440 BC, The Histories tells (among much else) the story of the war between the Persian Empire and the Greek city-states in the 5th century BC. It is full of bizarre stories, hearsay and pieces of information gathered - and is the way we know much of what we know about the ancient world. Tom Holland presents Herodotus in a fresh modern translation, showing how curious and quirky he was, and often how funny. It makes this great storyteller compelling reading once more.
Few facts are known about the life of Herodotus. He was born around 490 BC in Halicarnassus, on the south-west coast of Asia Minor. He seems to have travelled widely throughout the Mediterranean world, including Egypt and Africa, and throughout many Greek city-states. He probably died at some time between 415 and 410 BC. His reputation has varied greatly, but many believe he well deserves the title (given to him by Cicero) of 'the Father of History'. Tom Holland is an acclaimed author of many books, both fiction and non-fiction, on many subjects from vampires to books on history. He was born and brought up in Salisbury, obtained a double first at University of Cambridge and afterwards studied for a D. Phil. at the University of Oxford. He has also adapted Herodotus, Homer, Thucydides and Virgil for BBC Radio.