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WHOEVER wishes to become acquainted with the history of the times and countries of which Herodotus wrote, will read his writings either in the original, or some translation which may be found to represent his meaning with the greatest fidelity. Those who wish to acquire a knowledge of the author himself, other than that which they may glean from incidental remarks in his history, will have recourse to some one of the authors who have given an account of his life and writings. These are so numerous, and so easy of access, that it seems unnecessary, by adding to their number, to increase the bulk of the present volume.
It will be sufficient to inform the student in what respect the present translation professes to differ from those which have preceded it. Five have, at intervals, made their appearance. The first was that by Beloe, which, though flowing and easy in style, was rather a translation from an indifferent French version than from the original Greek. The second, by Littlebury, was a
poor rendering from a bad Latin version. The third was a revision of Littlebury's translation, bearing the appearance of having been made by one, who, though he understood his author, contented himself with merely removing Littlebury's grosser faults, without attempting to correct him uniformly and throughout. The fourth and most elegant version, was that by Mr. Isaac Taylor ; which, however, has met with less notice than its merit deserves, probably owing to the circumstance, that the usually received division by chapters has been departed from, whereby the facility of reference has been much diminished, and also because, in too many instances, the translator has sacrificed the meaning of his author to purity of thought or elegance of diction. The last English version was that by Laurent, in making which the translator laboured under the twofold disadvantage of being an inaccurate Greek scholar, and a far worse Eng
Nor can the present translator hope to be free from some defect, equal perhaps in extent to those which he has pointed out in his predecessors. His object, however, has been to keep as closely to the sense of his author as the idioms of the two languages would allow. He has adopted throughout the readings of Baehr, and, except in some few instances, which are pointed out in the notes, his interpretation also.
Oxford, Nov. 10th, 1847.