This book is based on the "Histories" of Herodotus and relates many stories concerning the Persian empire, including the histories of Croesus, Cyrus the Great, Cambyses, and Darius. Many interesting stories about Egypt, India, Scythia, Babylon, and Tyre are also given. This version preserves most of the detail and style of the original, but is rendered in simpler language. It is so well edited that it provides much of the benefit of reading Herodotus in the original, with only a fraction of the effort.
In these stories I have kept as close to my original as I could, but I do not profess to have translated it. Of course, nothing like criticism or correction has been attempted.
I should be sorry that readers who are not acquainted with the work of the "Father of History" should carry away from this book the impression that he is nothing more than a credulous and gossiping teller of stories. That he was often deceived, and that he writes with a simplicity which is quite remote from our ways of thinking, is manifest; but those who know him best are aware that he was nevertheless a shrewd and painstaking observer, whose credit has been distinctly increased by the discoveries of modern times.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to my relative, Miss E. L. Seeley, for the pains which she has bestowed on the illustrations to this volume.
September 30, 1830