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Classical and Historical Societies: Justin Marozzi on Herodotus

 The Classical Society joined forces with the History Society for an evening with Justin Marozzi, the highly respected historian and travel writer. His topic was the tale of his journey in search of traces of the subject of his latest book, The Man Who Invented History. Only three (almost) indisputable words about this mysterious traveller have survived the intervening two-and-a-half millennia. They are the first three of his epic prose work: “Herodotus of Halicarnassus.”

The charismatic Mr Marozzi’s lively talk was consciously in the style of this first ever work of history: filled with entertaining digressions and anecdotes about the people he encountered, his narrative somehow got there in the end. His journey to three continents started in Turkey, naturally enough in Halicarnassus. It continued through occupied Iraq, antiquity-focused Egypt and finally Greece, victor of the Persian Wars which were Herodotus’s principle theme.

Because Mr Marozzi’s story was so personal, it was equally interesting to people highly familiar with Herodotus as it was to people who knew nothing about the topic. He managed well with questions which were nearly unanswerable because of the scarcity of details about Herodotus and his world. Stories of compelling personalities such as Patrick Leigh Fermor coloured and completed the evening, and the occupants of the crowded Porson Library were thankful for the chance to listen to Mr Marozzi’s words of wisdom firsthand.

 

Dominic Buscall (CJD) and Constantine Louloudis KS 

DATE POSTED: 04 November 2009

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