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Materials for reading Herodotus

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Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:01 pm

Hopefully I'm soon through Demosthenes' On the Crown and I'd like to start a new major reading project. I want something easy for a change. Before Demosthenes, which is crazy hard, I'd thought I'd read Thucydides, which is even more difficult and which I soon abandoned, to start again once I'm fluent in Greek. I'm thinking about reading Herodotus, if it really is easy enough. Some easier Plato is another possibility, and I'm open to other ideas. Maybe not Xenophon though for the present.

But back to the point, can you recommend good materials for reading Herodotus?
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Qimmik » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:28 pm

Annotated editions of Books 5, 8 and 9 are available in the Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics series.

A large commentary on Books 1-4, based on the on-going multi-volume Italian commentary, is available from Oxford:

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/a-commentary-on-herodotus-books-i-iv-9780199639366?q=commentary%20on%20herodotus&lang=en&cc=us

This English translation has notes and lots of maps--it might be useful in reading the Greek text:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Landmark-Herodotus-Histories/dp/1400031141

The older two-volume commentary by How and Wells (I think) is not considered particularly good, but I haven't used it.

There's a two-volume Teubner critical edition by Rosen. The Oxford Classical Test edition (also two volumes) is around 100 years old, but a revised edition by Nigel Wilson is promised for later this year.

http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199560714.do

Hope this helps!
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Bart » Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:18 pm

I'm looking at Herodotus as well as my next prose project, of course after having finished the Iliad (in a few weeks) and combined with more Homer. The resources I've collected so far

-The Landmark Herodotus (see the link Qimmick provided): not only a very literal translation, but copious notes, maps and 20 short articles on various topics concerning Herodotus.

-The Cambride Companion to Herodotus: 20 longer essays on the Histories
http://www.amazon.de/Cambridge-Companio ... +herodotus

-specifically for book I: Discourses on the First Book of Herodotus by James Arietti: http://www.amazon.de/Discourses-First-H ... +herodotus
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby huilen » Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:49 pm

Hi! I've found the commentary of Geoffrey Steadman for Herodotus, Book 1 very useful:
http://geoffreysteadman.com/files-herodotus/
The notes are focused on providing help with the grammar, which is exactly what I need, but I don't know if this is your case.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:20 pm

Thanks. I think I have now all I the information I need to get going!

Nice to see you around, Huilen! We haven't heard of you in a while...
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Markos » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:30 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:...I'd like to start a new major reading project. I want something easy for a change...I'm open to other ideas.

Paul, how about the Greek NT? It's really easy and with the synoptic gospels you get lots of repetition. You can get some cool Reader's editions and diglots in various languages.

Spoiler alert: the hero of the book dies early on, but there is still a happy ending. :P
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:43 pm

I do read the NT at occasions. You're right I'm need to read it through one day in Greek. I probably haven't read it all in any language... A couple of times I've wanted to read the whole Bible in Finnish from cover to cover but I never got beyond about halfway in the Old Testament...

Basically I can read the NT with relative ease, at least those parts I've actually read, but the thing is I'd like to read some older Greek for the present and leave Koine for later. That goes for the Greek novels as well, though I'm really looking forward to reading those some day...
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Bart » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:18 am

Markos, could you recommend a particular reader's edition of the Greek NT?
Since I'm doing Latin as well, it would also be nice to have the Latin Vulgate next to the Greek. I'm pretty sure such an edition exists, just have to find and chose one.
(Sorry for hijacking this Herodotus thread)
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Markos » Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:22 pm

Bart wrote:Markos, could you recommend a particular reader's edition of the Greek NT?

Hi, Bart,

No less than three publishers produce Reader's GNT's. Zondervan has two editions:

http://www.amazon.com/Readers-Greek-New ... +testament

http://www.amazon.com/Readers-Greek-New ... +testament

The plus with these is the binding of the books, lightweight paper and a nice fake leather cover. These books feel great in your hand and you can roll them up like newspapers and put them in your coat or your back pocket. The draw back is the font. The font on the first edition is slanted, the one on the second edition has thin and faded letters. The first edition font, though, is fairly large.

UBS through several publishers has their own edition, available in many formats, from paperback to deluxe leather, with or without the textual apparatus.

http://www.amazon.com/UBS-5th-Revised-G ... 7s+edition

http://www.amazon.com/UBS-Greek-America ... 7s+edition

http://www.amazon.com/UBS-Greek-New-Tes ... 7s+edition

The main plus with these is the font, large and clear and straight and dark. The drawback is that the bindings on these books are notoriously known to fall apart. Also, the UBS usually just gives you a one word gloss targeted to the reading at hand, whereas Zondervan at each point gives you the full range of meanings found in the Greek NT. This is better for vocab retention.

Then, VTR offers a Reader's edition based on the Majority Text:

http://www.amazon.com/Greek-New-Testame ... ng+readers

The glosses on this one are the most complete, and the font is clear and dark, but a little small. This book is bound well but is a bit big and clunky.

I think I have reviewed most of these books on Amazon. My bottom line recommendation is, see if you can a used copy of Zondervan's first edition. One gets used to the slanted font. But I'd recommend any of these editions.
Bart wrote:Since I'm doing Latin as well, it would also be nice to have the Latin Vulgate next to the Greek. I'm pretty sure such an edition exists, just have to find and chose one.


You can indeed get a Greek-Latin NT diglot:

http://www.amazon.com/Novum-Testamentum ... ek%2Flatin

but I would recommend this Hexapla, which has the Greek, Latin, Hebrew, French and German and English:

http://www.amazon.com/Parallel-Interlin ... ek%2Flatin

The Greek font on this is large and clear. I'm using it to learn Hebrew and it's great.

The best Greek-English diglots are

http://www.amazon.com/New-Testament-Gre ... NET+diglot

This has an extra large font and it includes excellent notes on the Greek text underneath, with an English translation on facing pages.

and this one

http://www.amazon.com/Precise-Parallel- ... +testament

has a tiny font but with six facing English translations.

Reading a Ancient/Modern GNT diglot gives you a sense of what Modern Greek looks like:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/9607847172/ref ... _dp_review

Bart wrote:(Sorry for hijacking this Herodotus thread)

You are forgiven. Now go and sin and no more. :D
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Bart » Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:58 pm

Haha, I'll try.
But thanks, that's a very thorough overview indeed.

That's a nice way of getting acquainted with modern Greek (a Greek-Greek NT). I ordered a bilingual edition of poetry by Kavafis (with English translation). I'm curious to see how that works out.

Anyway, back to Herodotus. I love him in translation. Should be even better in Greek.
Paul, I hope you keep us informed about your progress.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:12 pm

Has anyone used the Loeb or Budé editions? Are they any good?
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Qimmik » Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:24 pm

I don't know about the Budé, but the Loeb was originally published in 1920. If you want a translation, I think you'd probably be better served by getting the old OCT version second-hand--it's not expensive--and a good translation, such as the Landmark volume.

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=herodotus&kn=oxford&sts=t&tn=historiae
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:23 pm

Paul,
If you have access to a university you might benefit from reading:

Helma Dik, Word Order in Ancient Greek: A Pragmatic Account of Word Order Variation in Herodotus. Amsterdam Studies in Classical Philology 5. Amsterdam: J. C. Gieben, 1995.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:19 pm

Since there's a new OCT forthcoming, maybe I'll try to get the old one from the library for now.

Dik's book sounds interesting, I'll surely take look if I can get my hands on it. Perhaps not so much use for reading Herodotus per se, but I might learn about Greek syntax in general. I did benefit a lot from a modern theoretical book on verbal aspect at least (Maria Napoli's Aspect and actionality in Homeric Greek). Certainly that sounds more accessible than Dik's book on word order in tragedy - what a difficult subject!
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby jeidsath » Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:47 pm

I found the OCTs of Herodotus used at a local bookstore. I recently read through the first couple of pages and understood only every second phrase, which doesn't count as "easy Greek" for me. But I'd be willing to do some sort of reading project.

Ideally, I'd like to find a Skype partner who's willing to take turns with me on something like this:

Person A studies the next section in preparation for the upcoming Skype session. Then they read together on Skype and he answer's Person B's questions using simple Greek (as far as possible). For the next section/conversation, A and B flip roles.

I would also be willing to do the same on a Textkit thread instead of Skype.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby daivid » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:42 pm

Bryn Mawr do two commentaries on Herodotus, George Sheets did the Book 1 one, while Book 3 was done by Stephen Newmyer. They are focused on helping intermediates to get to grips with the language rather than digressions on the historical background.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Manuel » Fri Apr 24, 2015 2:06 am

I can also vouch for Steadman's edition of Book I. It's very cheap and, though it has a few typos, makes for very easy and pleasurable reading.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Bart » Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:52 am

Paul, could you tell us what materials you've actually ended up with and if they are helpful or not?
I'm a few pages into the first book of the Histories myself, hence my question.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Nov 30, 2015 4:27 pm

I've finished now book II and recently started book III.

My reading text is the Budé edition. Not for any good reason though. I suppose the Greek text is ok, I'm really no judge. I haven't seen the brand new OCT. I chose the Budé mostly because it has a translation. The notes are pedestrian, you definitely want a better commentary than this. The translation is ok I guess. It's 9 volumes in all I think, which is a lot. So not so great all in all, I only read it because it has both the Greek text and a translation in the same volume. (I haven't compared with the Loeb edition, which is even older - the Budé is from about 1930.)

The Landmark Herodotus: A nice translation with short but good notes, and maps.

The Oxford commentary on books I-IV by Asheri et al. is great. The amount of grammatical help varies from book to book (because the authors change): close to nothing for book I, some for book II, I don't know about the rest yet. But most of the time it doesn't provide much help with the Greek.

So the problem is where to find grammatical help. Luckily Herodotus is not very difficult. I've very occasionally checked Steadman (available online), but that's only for book I. I've also very occasionally checked a very old 19th century commented edition by Heinrich Stein, which seems pretty good actually; it has pretty extensive grammatical notes. I found it in the library, but probably it's to be found online as well like most of these out-of-copyright books.

I haven't seen the Bryn Mawr commentaries.

There are Green & Yellow Cambridge editions on the later books, but I haven't reached there yet. These are probably good, like everything in the series.

So, all in all: Out of these books, I can really recommend from my experience the Landmark Herodotus and the Oxford commentary on books I-IV. I don't know which Greek text to recommend (but probably the new OCT), and I haven't found a grammatical commentary I'm fully satisfied with (Stein is old and in German; I haven't tried the Bryn Mawrs).
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Bart » Tue Dec 01, 2015 10:54 am

Thanks.

Here is Heinrich Stein's commented edition: https://archive.org/details/herodotos00steigoog
It's from 1889. At first glance it looks okay.

Steadman: I'm a bit ambivalent toward his editions. I like the fact that he gives all the vocabulary ready at hand, I'm less enthousiastic about his explanations of grammar. Having used both Steadman and Ameis for reading Homer, I'm convinced that the latter is superior by far in this respect. But then, I'm an Ameis cheerleader :D
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Hylander » Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:21 pm

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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Dec 01, 2015 4:02 pm

Bart wrote:Here is Heinrich Stein's commented edition: https://archive.org/details/herodotos00steigoog
It's from 1889. At first glance it looks okay.

Steadman: I'm a bit ambivalent toward his editions. I like the fact that he gives all the vocabulary ready at hand, I'm less enthousiastic about his explanations of grammar. Having used both Steadman and Ameis for reading Homer, I'm convinced that the latter is superior by far in this respect. But then, I'm an Ameis cheerleader

I share your reserves to a point - but in all fairness, we should remember that the final Ameis-Hentze-Cauer commentary is the result of decades of work by three different scholars. Steadman is a single prolific individual with probably little or no financial backing and who doesn't even have copy editor (so he says in the preface to his series). His effort are laudable, and I think the results are good despite some mistakes, although the scope of his books is clearly more limited.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby naturalphilosopher » Tue Dec 01, 2015 8:59 pm

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Amy Barbour's Selections from Herodotus, which is aimed at those who have a Homeric background.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Bart » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:59 am

Paul Derouda wrote:I share your reserves to a point - but in all fairness, we should remember that the final Ameis-Hentze-Cauer commentary is the result of decades of work by three different scholars. Steadman is a single prolific individual with probably little or no financial backing and who doesn't even have copy editor (so he says in the preface to his series). His effort are laudable, and I think the results are good despite some mistakes, although the scope of his books is clearly more limited.


Of course. I would not like to appear ungrateful. I have made use of Steadman's editions quite extensively in the past and obviously he's doing a great job and for free as well. Yay for him! But his modus operandi has its limits. Also, I have the impression that the needs of the intermediate student of Greek are in some respects beter served by older school commentaries than by his editions.

naturalphilosopher wrote:I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Amy Barbour's Selections from Herodotus, which is aimed at those who have a Homeric background.


The OP's aim is to read the entire Histories (correct me if I'm wrong, Paul), so selections from that text won't do. Nevertheless, good suggestion.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Dec 02, 2015 3:31 pm

Yes, Steadman's approach is more elementary, I agree. And yes, I plan to read the whole histories, although I've been a bit slowed down these times!
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Scribo » Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:07 pm

I'm about to spend a good two weeks around Asia Minor and so in preparation I'm re-reading a lot of stuff. Admittedly, because I'll spend a good amount of time in The City, I'm reading through the Patria, Laonikos Chalkokondyles and other late writers but obviously Herodotus is on there. Well I accidentally re-read the Iliad like an idiot and now I'm worried I won't have enough time.

With Herodotus I basically have:

1) OCT text - not the new one, alas, my old UG copy. I shan't be purchasing the new one but I look forward to reading Wilson's textual notes when they're out.

2) The student's old trusty How's and Well's 2 vol commentary. It's not up to date in terms of actual history (you'll need proper monographs for that), or even the best commentary (commentaries on individual vols, whether Ascheri on 1-V or Hornblower etc etc) will all be better for their books but I think these books are a very good, cheap, compromise....Unfortunately mine are beginning to smell a bit. I don't think a reprint would be as cool, no pop-out maps and stuff.

I don't think you really need much to get into him, I think in most cases bothering with, say, Enoch Powell's (yes, THAT one!) lexicon is a bit much.

Seriously, H&Ws! It's got nice brown hardboards! It's got maps! Plural! The Aegean, dispositions at Thermopylae and Salamis etc etc, It goes into random detail about Sybaris! or on apais = no sons.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:18 pm

I'm replying here to a question asked by Bart in another thread.
Bart wrote:Glad to see you're persisting in reading the Histories, Paul.
I was distracted by Real Life & Latin (in that order) these last few weeks, but I'm picking up the threads again: still some way to go in book I and then I'm off to Egypt!
Since Asheri covers only the first four books, what will you use from book V onwards commentarywise?

Real Life I understand, but how could you forsake Herodotus for Vyrgil? :D

Actually, I thought that after book IV I'll read something else for a change. I was mostly thinking about either the Ajax (which I started some months ago) or Aristophanes (either Birds or Clouds). But after that, I'm back to Herodotus. Basically, there are Cambridge Green & Yellows for books V, VIII and IX, so I think I'll go with them. For books VI & VII, I really don't know, I suppose I'll have to try out How & Wells.

In Asheri's commentary, I find the part on book IV clearly weaker than the rest, not as engaging. And do scholars still actually believe in Dumézil's Indo-European trifunctional hypothesis (a society divided into three functions: priests, warriors, farmers), or consider it helpful?
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Bart » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:05 am

Paul Derouda wrote:Real Life I understand, but how could you forsake Herodotus for Vyrgil? :D


Haha! You almost make me feel guilty about it. But yes, I have acquired a taste for epic poetry. After Vergil, I think I will start with Dante.
Actually, I'm a bit suprised you don't feel the lure of Vergil's Aeneid yourself. It's no doubt the most important literary offspring of Homer so to say, reflecting the original in a thousand ways. In that way it also enhances the enjoyment of the original (or so I think).

Paul Derouda wrote:And do scholars still actually believe in Dumézil's Indo-European trifunctional hypothesis (a society divided into three functions: priests, warriors, farmers), or consider it helpful?


Are you telling us Finish society isn't organised along these lines? Now there's a shock! :D
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Timothée » Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:30 am

Bart wrote:After Vergil, I think I will start with Dante.

I too feel the lure of Dante, and obviously Dante duly has Vergil in his Divina Commedia. In fairness I think one has to read Dante with ample notes, as he refers so much to the contemporary political situation and major political figures of his time. Or maybe we should read Boccaccio or Petrach. I don't really know Italian that well, but that shouldn't be a major hindrace. :D

But still. "Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita". In the middle point of my life I found myself walking in a dark forest...
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Bart » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:57 am

Timothée wrote:Or maybe we should read Boccaccio or Petrach. I don't really know Italian that well, but that shouldn't be a major hindrace.


If that's an invitation, count me in!
My Italian isn't that good either, but I'm working on it with the Duolingo-app. Quite a clever little thing; they even have a Latin course in the making.

"nel mezzo del cammin....", best opening sentence ever. Well, maybe Anna Karenina's is on par.
But we're drifting too far away from Herodotus, I'm affraid.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Markos » Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:50 pm

Bart wrote:"nel mezzo del cammin....", best opening sentence ever.

Ἐν τῷ μέσῳ τῆς τρίβου τοῦ βίου τούτου
Εὑρέθην ἐν σκοτεινῷ τινι δρυμῶνι.
Τῆς γὰρ εὐθείας ὁδοῦ παρεξετράπην...

https://books.google.com/books?id=z-IGA ... &q&f=false
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:51 pm

Bart wrote:
Paul Derouda wrote:And do scholars still actually believe in Dumézil's Indo-European trifunctional hypothesis (a society divided into three functions: priests, warriors, farmers), or consider it helpful?


Are you telling us Finish society isn't organised along these lines? Now there's a shock! :D

Finnish isn't indo-European... :)

"In the middle of the journey of our life..."

It's not so long then, life, is it? I'm 35, the same age as Dante supposedly was when he was wandering in that forest. I actually tried to read Vyrgil in translation to be able to read Dante, though not in Italian. Dante is more to my liking.

Boccaccio has been translated very well into Finnish, Timothée, or at least it's very pleasurable to read – I can't tell if it's accurate.

Back to Herodotus: any idea for commentaries on books 6&7?
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby seneca2008 » Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:56 pm

There is a brill commentary by Lionel Scott on book 6. A review is here http://www.sehepunkte.de/2006/09/9372.html
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:33 pm

Enoch Powell's Lexicon to Herodotus can be found here:

http://stephanus.tlg.uci.edu/powell/#eid=1&context=lsj

I can't tell yet how useful it is for an occasional reader compared to, say, Cunliffe's Homeric Lexicon, but I'll certainly try it out!
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:40 pm

Another note: Here and there, I've read claims that Stein's commentary has been largely superseded by Asheri. I've had a look slightly more often at Stein now, and I'm increasingly convinced that nothing has replaced it. As a philological commentary, Asheri offers close to nothing. Too bad my German isn't too good.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby mwh » Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:25 pm

Enoch Powell’s Herodotus lexicon is excellent, as good as Slater’s more challenging Pindar lexicon (which is on the Perseus site; perhaps Powell is too?). And the lexicographical principles that inform it seem to me superior to those of the new Cambridge Greek Lexicon.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Hylander » Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:43 am

Stupid puerile joke deleted.
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:34 pm

Hylander - that's not fair! You shouldn't delete your "stupid jokes" before I've seen them. And now you changed it to "stupid puerile joke", which piques my curiosity even more. My loss must be enormous.

Perseus doesn't seem to have Powell, but that doesn't matter, since the TLG interface is so much better. (follow my link above)
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Re: Materials for reading Herodotus

Postby jeidsath » Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:12 pm

Hylander can leave his joke deleted if he wants, but I'm envious because I was trying to come up with Enoch Powell puns to add to the thread and came up dry.
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