The History of Herodotus
English translation: G. C. Macaulay, (pub. Macmillan, London and NY) 
Herodotus (484-ca. 425 BCE), the 'Father of History,' wrote this account of the ephocal conflict between the Greeks and Persians between 430 and 424 BCE. The title of the work, 'Historie' means 'Inquiry.' Subsequently it became the name of the science of history, and via Latin passed into other languages including English.
Divided by later editors into nine books named after the Muses, the History traces the growth of the Persian empire, starting with Croesus of Lydia, though Cyrus and Xerxes. The pivotal event of the History is the Battle of Marathon (490 BCE), where the Persians were defeated by the Greeks. A decade later the Persians, led by Xerxes, returned but were decisively defeated at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BCE. One can only wonder what the world would have been like if the nascent Greek democracy and high classical culture had been nipped in the bud by Persian despotism.
Beyond the historical narrative, Herodotus is one of the primary sources for information on ancient lands and peoples, including anthropological, geographical, and other information. There are extensive details in the narrative relating to the spiritual practices and beliefs of the Greeks and other peoples. Herodotus has been perennially controversial. However, he was careful to qualify information which he found dubious and evaluate variant theories on their merits. While specifics of his account have been challenged, his preeminence as the inventor of the methodology and philosophy of history are undisputed.
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