“Athenae” and “Thebae”; but I write “Carchedon” and “Tarns,” not “Carthage” and “Tarentum.” This is (I trust) a reasonable, though undeniably an inconsistent, method. The scheme of the present series does not contemplate a commentary; only the briefest notes, therefore, have been added to this translation, and only where the “general reader” may be supposed to stand in urgent need of a word of explanation.
It was by their conquest of Lydia that the Persians were first brought into contact with the Greeks. Hence it is necessary to Herodotus’ plan to trace the history of the line of Lydian kings which ended with Croesus; this, with many attendant digressions, occupies chapters 1–44 of Book I. On the same principle, the history of the Medes and Persians, and the early life of Cyrus himself, must be narrated (ch. 45–140). Then follows the story of Cyrus’ dealings with the Greeks of Asia Minor (ch. 14–177). The rest of the book is concerned with the wars of Cyrus against the Assyrians and the Massagetae; a descriptive digression on Babylonian civilisation naturally forms a part of this section.
Cyrus, killed in battle by the Massagetae, was succeeded by his son Cambyses; and Cambyses, soon after the beginning of his reign, resolved to attack Egypt. This resolve gives the cue for Herodotus’ memorable digression on the history and customs of that country.
The second book falls into two parts The first