Herodotos

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Herodotos

1astropi
Nov 9, 2020, 8:44pm

The FS has released a new limited edition, which to my mind is rather an imitation (I don't mean that negatively) of the LEC edition!
https://www.foliosociety.com/usa/the-histories.html
Apparently the FS says that the illustrations "recall the British linocut tradition embodied by Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious" ...well, the LEC's illustrations are by Bawden himself! What a lovely edition. The one thing I have never found out, is exactly who is Harry Cater (the translator)? Is he this person:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Carter_(typographer)
How "good" is the translation? Anyway, it's one of my favorite LECs. I will also add, I found this absolutely hilarious - the dedication of the book

2RuefulCountenance
Nov 9, 2020, 9:16pm

Yes, that would be the man. According to the ML: "Harry Carter, it will have been noted, had quite a lot to do with this book. He made the translation, he wrote the highly satisfying introduction, he composed the marginalia, he assembled the index, and he was co-designer." The ML also described Carter as "a typographical consultant to Oxford University Press, and a distinguished classical scholar in his own right." I am curious also as to how adept he was at translating.

3astropi
Editado: Nov 9, 2020, 10:17pm

>2 RuefulCountenance: right, I saw that in the ML :)
as you pointed out, how good was the translation? Why did Macy deem him worthy of translating, and again how does it stand next to other translations?

Having a bit of a discussion on translations now in the FS forum
https://www.librarything.com/topic/325974#7310794

4clymbouris
Editado: Nov 10, 2020, 1:40am

>1 astropi: As soon as I saw the wonderful pictures you posted on that other thread I replaced the FS LE with the LEC (within my wishlist that is). I'm Greek, so this is purely an aesthetic craving - I still use my schoolbooks for reference :)

5astropi
Nov 10, 2020, 1:17am

>4 clymbouris: I think the LEC is very affordable! Of course a NF book will as I said probably be $200-300, and if that is too much, go for the Heritage Press edition :)
Although I do think the signature is very special so I would encourage everyone to purchase the LEC, but I'm a sucker for autographs...

6WildcatJF
Nov 10, 2020, 8:26am

In case anyone wanted to compare the LEC and Heritage Press editions of the Histories, I have them both on my blog here: https://georgemacyimagery.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/heritage-press-the-histories-...

7Django6924
Nov 11, 2020, 9:55pm

As for the translation, I believe Carter probably had access to the most up-to-date texts of the original, so accuracy is probably his strong suit. The first time I read Herodotus many years ago, it was the translation done by George Rawlinson in the late 19th century. I don't know if the texts he was using were the same Carter used, but the basic thought is the same, though the English-ing of the matter is different. Here is where I probably differ from many others who are interested primarily in a scrupulous rendering; I tend to prefer a translation which renders the content in the most agreeable manner.

Here is a sample of Rawlinson and Carter, translating one of my favorite passages in Book II; the arrival of Alexander (Paris) in Egypt with Helen:

Thereupon Thonis seized Alexander and secured his ships; then he conducted the Trojan and Helen with all the wealth and the suppliants to Memphis. When they were all before the king, Proteus asked Alexander who he was and whence his voyage. Alexander told him of his lineage, his country, his name and his voyage, what Port he had left. Next, Proteus asked him whence he had taken Helen. Alexander made an evasive and untruthful answer, and the men who had become suppliants disproved him and gave full account of his offence. When they had made an end of their story, Proteus pronounced this judgment. 'Had I not determined upon no account to slay such strangers as come to my country driven by the winds, I would have avenged the Greek upon you, wickedest of men, who have done a most impious wrong to one who gave you hospitality, going in to his wife. This was not enough: you must even stir up her desires and carry her away by stealth. And not even that was enough: you have come laden with the plunder of your host's house. Being determined on no account to slay a stranger, I yet will not suffer you to take this woman or this wealth: those I will guard for your host in Greece until such time as he come to claim them. As for you and those who sail with you my sentence is that you depart from. this land within three days for some other land, and if you do not, that you be looked upon as enemies.

Thonis, on receiving these orders, arrested Alexander, and stopped the departure of his ships; then, taking with him Alexander, Helen, the treasures, and also the fugitive slaves, he went up to Memphis. When all were arrived, Proteus asked Alexander, "Who he was, and whence he had come?” Alexander replied by giving his descent, the name of his country, and a true account of his late voyage. Then Proteus questioned him as to how he got possession of Helen. In his reply Alexander became confused, and diverged from the truth, whereon the slaves interposed, confuted his statements, and told the whole history of the crime. Finally, Proteus delivered judgment as follows, "Did I not regard it as a matter of the utmost consequence that no stranger driven to my country by adverse winds should ever be put to death, I would certainly have avenged the Greek by slaying you, basest of men, after accepting hospitality, to do so wicked a deed! First, you did seduce the wife of your own host—then, not content therewith, you must violently excite her mind, and steal her away from her husband. Nay, even so you were not satisfied, but on leaving, you plundered the house in which you had been a guest. Now then, as I think it of the greatest importance to put no stranger to death, I suffer you to depart; but the woman and the treasures I shall not permit to be carried away. Here they must stay, till the Greek stranger comes in person and takes them back with him. For yourself and your companions, I command you to leave my land within the space of three days—and I warn you, otherwise at the end of that time you will be treated as enemies."


As you can see, you can get the gist of the story from both.

8astropi
Nov 12, 2020, 5:37pm

>7 Django6924: Macy mentions Rawlinson (and others) in the Monthly Letter. It's reasonable to assume he could easily have used that translation but preferred Carter's. If anyone also gets the FS LE I would like to hear what they think of Robin Waterfield's translation.

9Django6924
Nov 13, 2020, 11:08pm

Here is yet another translation of the same passage, this one from 1890 by G.C.Macaulay (the father of Rose Macaulay who wrote the wonderful Towers of Trebizond. his is from an edition which has the original text en face, like the Loeb Classics, and was probably used as a "crib" so is probably quite literal (I say "probably" because when it comes to understanding the original, I'm with Casca).

Macaulay translation

Hearing this, Thonis seized Alexander and detained his ships, and after that he brought the man himself up to Memphis and with him Helen and the wealth he had, and also in addition to them the suppliants. So when all had been conveyed up thither, Proteus began to ask Alexander who he was and from whence he was voyaging; and he both recounted to him his descent and told him the name of his native land, and moreover related of his voyage, from whence he was sailing. After this Proteus asked him whence he had taken Helen; and when Alexander went astray in his account and did not speak the truth, those who had become suppliants convicted him of falsehood, relating in full the whole tale of the wrong done. At length Proteus declared to them this sentence, saying, "Were it not that I count it a matter of great moment not to slay any of those strangers who being driven from their course by winds have come to my land hitherto, I should have taken vengeance on thee on behalf of the man of Hellas, seeing that thou, most base of men, having received from him hospitality, didst work against him a most impious deed. For thou didst go in to the wife of thine own host; and even this was not enough for thee, but thou didst stir her up with desire and hast gone away with her like a thief. Moreover not even this by itself was enough for thee, but thou art come hither with plunder taken from the house of thy host. Now therefore depart, seeing that I have counted it of great moment not to be a slayer of strangers. This woman indeed and the wealth which thou hast I will not allow thee to carry away, but I shall keep them safe for the Hellene who was thy host, until he come himself and desire to carry them off to his home; to thyself however and thy fellow-voyagers I proclaim that ye depart from your anchoring within three days and go from my land to some other; and if not, that ye will be dealt with as enemies."


It's interesting that the Rawlinson translation seems less old-fashioned than this one although it is the older of the two. For me, Rawlinson's still is the best read. Although the original may be using the familiar pronoun forms which Macaulay translates as "thee" and "thou" (the T-V Distinction, with the appropriate verb conjugation), in English this sounds archaic, and I don't know if the original was intended to be archaic in its own time, as Sir Walter Scott deliberately used archaisms to create an aura of the historical past. Carter's is the most modern sounding, and probably the most literal, but for me lacks "flavor." Notice how when Proteus asks Alexander how he came to have Helen with him, Macaulay renders the response, "Alexander went astray in his account and did not speak the truth," Carter says "Alexander made an evasive and untruthful answer" and Rawlinson has "In his reply Alexander became confused, and diverged from the truth." There is something delightfully evocative of Alexander, being put on the spot, "becoming confused and diverging from the truth."

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