Travels with Herodotus By Richard Kapuscinski
I return to Herodotus. / The frequent reading of his work and even a certain kind of intimacy with it – a familiarity, a habit, a dependence even – started to exert an odd indefinable influence on me. What is certain is that I was no longer conscious of a barrier of time, of being separated from the events the Greek describes by 2,500 years – a veritable abyss in which lie Rome and the Middle Ages, the birth and development of the great religions, the discovery of America, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, the steam engine and electricity, the telegraph and the airplane, hundreds of wars, including two world wars, the discovery of antibiotics, the population explosion, thousands upon thousands of things and events which, when we read Herodotus, vanish as if they didn’t exist…. / Herodotus lives fully; he is not bothered by the lack of the telephone or the airplane, nor does he worry about not having a bicycle. These machines will appear only thousands of years later – and so what? It doesn’t occur to him that such things might have been useful to him, perhaps because he manages excellently without them. His world, his life have their own strength, their own undiminishing and self-sufficient energy.