Historians often like to think that they follow in Herodotus' footsteps; but this magnificent volume is not just an inspirational book - it is a thing of beauty too
- Peter Frankopan
Let us begin with the sumptuous full-grain leather of the binding, tanned using only vegetable products, aniline-dyed a magnificent teal and meticulously hand-polished by Harmatan and Oakridge in Northamptonshire, the traditional heartland of British leather production. The experts at Smith Settle in Yorkshire undertook the binding and the text was printed not far away in Sheffield. The green of the two-colour printing complements the binding perfectly and the paper is of course FSC certified, sourced only from responsibly managed forests. In addition to the illustrations, binding and slipcase designs, Nick Hayes has coloured the two maps by Kevin Freeman, to make them both more beautiful and more legible, something which Herodotus himself would surely have appreciated, having complained that 'not one of all the people who have drawn maps of the world has set it out sensibly'. And Peter Frankopan’s engaging new introduction is exclusive to this edition.
Herodotus wrote The Histories before the 'rules' of prose-writing had been established, and intended it for live public recitation as much as for private reading. Robin Waterfield's acclaimed translation is widely regarded as the authoritative modern rendering, balancing fluency with fidelity to the original text, capturing Herodotus' distinctive authorial voice while keeping him highly readable, and allowing ancient characters to talk directly to us across the millennia. This engaging text was originally published with an introduction by Professor Carolyn Dewald, and this is included here too along with a judicious selection from her notes and a helpful timeline by Peter O’Neill.
Each copy has been signed by three of our contributors – translator, illustrator and introducer – on a gold-blocked limitation label tipped on by hand facing Nick Hayes fabulous frontispiece portrait of Herodotus, based on an 18th–century sculpture. The resulting volume will be a pleasure to look at and to hold, as well as to read, for many years to come.