Book Meme: Mel’s Day Ten

Book Meme Challenge:

Favorite Classic Book

As we have in general been assuming that Generally Accepted Cannon of Literature was part of the pool from which we drew our selections, this category is in need of a better definition.

How about the original classics, actual Ancient Classics?

I have not read nearly enough of these books. I love the Illiad, and have journeyed through the Odyssey. I found the Aeneid to be a bit overly political, but I understand that the artistry comes through better in the original Latin. The Oresteia is majestic. Antigone and Alcestis will always be some of my heroines. The Satyricon was amusing once I got past the grotesqueness, and Ovid is just, well, Ovid.

I considered declaring Seneca’s “Apocolocyntosis” my favorite Classic; “The Pumpkinification” (which is a pun on the Latin word for ‘deification’) of Emperor Claudius is so witty, absurd, and geeky that I cannot help but be delighted. It is an instance of Menippean Satire, where it calls attention to the mental attitudes and social conventions through literary structural plays and mocking wit. But it is so short that I do not know if it can really be called a complete work of literature.

Instead, the work that stands out to me among the Classics that I have read, is

The Histories of Herodotus

This is a work that I read in high school, and it absolutely enchanted me.

It made me love history.

It created a whole new way of seeing the world, through the aspects of culture, time, and philosophies.

It had adventures, romance, war, life, humanity.

I think that this might be the single book that inspired most of the stories that I wrote in high school. There was such a wealth of exotic detail, dramatic potential, and mortal pathos. In fact, even before I fell in love with Egyptology, Herodotus gave me an appreciation for Ancient Civilizations.  And the imagination to sympathize with alien cultures. And sense of the arc and momentum of history and consequence.

In short, everyone needs to read this book.

And then go write awesome historical fiction inspired by Herodotus.


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