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Hamel takes us on a delightful, audacious romp through The History of the Persian Wars.Debra Hamel’s book is a lively introduction to The History of the Persian Wars, Herodotus's account of Persia's expansion under four kings—Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius, and Xerxes—and its eventual collision with the city-states of Greece. The History can be a long slog for modern readers, but it is full of salacious tales about sex, violent death, divine prophecies, and cannibals. Following the structure of the original work, Hamel leads the reader through a colorful tour of the central stories that compose The History. She highlights the more interesting and important parts of the story while providing readers who are new to Herodotus with the background information necessary to appreciate the author’s wide-ranging subject matter. At once academic and cheeky, the experience of this book is like reading Herodotus while simultaneously consulting a history of Greece and a scholarly commentary on the text.

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-xii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xiii-xvi
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  1. Timeline
  2. pp. xv-xviii
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  1. Maps
  2. pp. xix-xxvi
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-6
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  1. 1 How to Destroy a Mighty Empire: The Story of Croesus of Lydia
  2. pp. 7-34
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  1. 2 Cannibals and Conquests: The Story of Cyrus the Great
  2. pp. 35-59
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  1. 3 Horny Goats and Medicinal Urine: The Egyptian Logos
  2. pp. 60-77
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  1. 4 Madness and Mummies: The Reign of Cambyses
  2. pp. 78-97
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  1. 5 Meanwhile, Elsewhere in the Mediterranean: The Stories of Polycrates and Periander
  2. pp. 98-110
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  1. 6 Earless Imposters and Randy Mounts: The Early Reign of Darius the Great
  2. pp. 111-135
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  1. 7 The Trouble with Nomads: Darius’ Scythian Campaign
  2. pp. 136-148
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  1. 8 Stuttering Kings and Lousy Deaths: The Libyan Logos
  2. pp. 149-158
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  1. 9 Tattooed Slaves and Ousted Tyrants: The Ionian Revolt and Post-Pisistratid Athens
  2. pp. 159-180
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  1. 10 Miltiades, Madness, and Marathon: The First Persian War
  2. pp. 181-205
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  1. 11 Feats of Engineering and Doomed Valor: The Second Persian War to the Battle of Thermopylae
  2. pp. 206-239
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  1. 12 Trial by Trireme: The Battles at Artemisium and Salamis
  2. pp. 240-268
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  1. 13 Concluding Scenes: The Battles of Plataea and Mycale and the Siege of Sestus
  2. pp. 269-290
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  1. Appendix: Xerxes’ Heralds and the Medizing of the Greek States (7.131–132)
  2. pp. 291-292
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 293-300
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  1. Translations
  2. pp. 301-302
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 303-316
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  1. Index of Literary Texts Cited
  2. pp. 317-318
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  1. General Index
  2. pp. 319-329
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