Article

Thucydides

Jeffrey S. Rusten

in Classics

ISBN: 9780195389661
Published online December 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0086
Thucydides

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Thucydides is known as the historian of the “Peloponnesian” war (431–404 bce, between Athens with its subject cities and the league of cities in the Peloponnese led by Sparta), the first historian to write about his own times, and a paradigm for accuracy in Antiquity and for vivid narrative as well as unsentimental “realist” political analysis today. He documents the height of Athenian greatness under Pericles and his idealistic “funeral oration” (II.34–47, speech for the war dead), but also portrays the cold brutality of its imperialism in the “Melian dialogue” (V.84–116, the surrender negotiations between Athens and the neutral island of Melos), and the agony endured by the city during a plague (II.47–54) and in the aftermath of its disastrous invasion of Sicily (VI–VII). It is the first great work of political history and still a fundamental text for political science and international relations today. It is also a compelling story, with vivid characters, brilliant strategy and ideas, and tragic miscalculations.

Article.  8681 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Art and Architecture ; Classical History ; Classical Literature ; Classical Philosophy

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