Haarlem: Joh. Enschedé en Zonen for The Limited Editions Club, 1958. Thick octavo, original brown buckram, ivory portrait of Herodotus embossed on front board, ivory linen label lettered in gilt, boards beveled, cartographic endpapers. Ten double-page color chapter headings and numerous pen-and-ink drawings by Edward Bawden, original full-color patterned slipcase. Lightest shelfwear to slipcase.
Striking complete English translation of Herodotus, a landmark of classical literature, number 1046 of 1500 copies signed by illustrator Edward Bawden. In the fifth century B.C., Herodotus traveled widely through the Greek and Persian territories, gathering information about the rise of the vast Persian empire, which at its height stretched from the Mediterranean to India, from Egypt to Afghanistan. The Persian expansion had been surprisingly checked by Greek victories at Salamis, Plataea and Mycale, turning the tide of the Greco-Persian Wars and elevating Athens and Sparta, in particular, to new geopolitical prominence. Herodotus effectively invented “history” as a mode of writing, attempting to account for past events with reference not to the gods or to the idea of destiny, but to the conflicting testimony and evidence he recorded: “Here are set forth the researches of Herodotus of Halicarnassus that men's actions may not in time be forgotten nor things great and wonderful, accomplished whether by Greeks or barbarians, go without report.” Herodotus produced nine books, each named after one of the Greek muses, and accompanied here by a two-page color illustration. “Clio” deals with the rise of the Persians under Cyrus; “Euterpe” with Egypt before the Persians; “Thalia” with the Persian conquest of Egypt; “Melpomene” with the campaign of Darius; “Terpsichore” with the Second Ionian Revolt; “Erato” with the Greek victory at Marathon; “Polymnia” with Xerxes' invasion of Greece; “Urania” with the loss of Athens; and “Calliope” with the decisive victory of the Greeks. A fine copy of a beautiful book.