Written four hundred years before the birth of Christ, this detailed contemporary account of the long life-and-death struggle between Athens and Sparta stands an excellent chance of fulfilling its author's ambitious claim. Thucydides himself (c.460-400 BC) was an Athenian and achieved the rank of general in the earlier stages of the war. He applied thereafter a passion for accuracy and a contempt for myth and romance in compiling this factual record of a disastrous conflict.
'The greatest historian that ever lived' Such was Macaulay's verdict on Thucydides (c. 460-400 BC) and his history of the Peloponnesian War, the momentous struggle between Athens and Sparta as rival powers and political systems that lasted for twenty-seven years from 431 to 404 BC, involved virtually the whole of the Greek world, and ended in the fall of Athens. Thucydides himself was a participant in the war; to his history he brings an awesome intellect, brilliant narrative, and penetrating analysis of the nature of power, as it affects both states and individuals. Of his own work Thucydides wrote: 'I shall be content if [my history] is judged useful by those who will want to have a clear understanding of what happened - and, such is the human condition, will happen again ... It was composed as a permanent legacy, not a showpiece for a single hearing.' So it has proved. Of the prose writers of Greece and Rome Thucydides has had more lasting influence on western thought than all but Plato and Aristotle. This new edition combines a masterly translation with comprehensive supporting material. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
The first volume of Donald Kagan's acclaimed four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War offers a new evaluation of the origins and causes of the conflict, based on evidence produced by modern scholarship and on a careful reconsideration of the ancient texts. He focuses his study on the question: Was the war inevitable, or could it have been avoided? Kagan takes issue with Thucydides' view that the war was inevitable, that the rise of the Athenian Empire in a world with an existing rival power made a clash between the two a certainty. Asserting instead that the origin of the war "cannot, without serious distortion, be treated in isolation from the internal history of the states involved," Kagan traces the connections between domestic politics, constitutional organization, and foreign affairs. He further examines the evidence to see what decisions were made that led to war, at each point asking whether a different decision would have been possible.
The second book of Thucydides is of particular interest because it contains important sections on the funeral oration, the account of the plague at Athens and the obituary of Pericles. His exceptionally complex structure and techniques make Thucydides one of the most difficult as well as one of the most profound of ancient historians. Professor Rusten aims to assist students at all levels in learning to read Thucydides. The text, in Greek, is supported by a valuable introduction and commentary in English. In his commentary, Rusten scrutinizes the historical, literary, and philosophical aspects. The introduction surveys biographical interpretations of the text, suggests a new approach to fictive elements in the speeches, and sketches the main features of Thucydidean style.
Thucydides was labelled the 'greatest historian that ever lived' by Macauley and no study of Classical Greece is complete without encountering his history of the Peloponnesian War, the greatest war of Greeks against Greeks in the late fifth century BCE, which ended in the fall of Athens. This concise introductory guide sets Thucydides in context as a Greek historian writing about the Peloponnesian War; as an intellectual in the era of the 'sophists', who were willing to question a variety of traditional assumptions; and as an upper-class Athenian who lived through and was actively involved in the Peloponnesian War as a general. Including a survey and summary of Thucydides' work, P. J. Rhodes explores the principles and practices of historiography which Thucydides originated and implemented throughout his History: his narrative insight, an almost scientific judgment and exposition of sources and prejudices, and a strictly defined and authoritative view of what was required in a history of a war. In addition to examining Thucydides' work, the volume provides an overview of the social, political and intellectual contexts Thucydides was writing in, and looks at his impact in antiquity and beyond, from forming modern concepts of impartial history to his effect on popular culture.
A Comparative Study of the Korean War and the Peloponnesian War
Author: David Richard McCann,Barry S. Strauss
Publisher: M.E. Sharpe
Why do societies go to war and what happens to them when they do? What are the factors that make wars occur and take the form they do, and what are the factors that could have led to outcomes other than armed conclict? This fascinating book examines the cultural and political/institutional dimensions of war's impact on society. Distinguished scholars, policymakers, and journalists compare the effects of prolonged war on ancient Athens during the war with Sparta, and on the United States and the two Koreas, North and South, during the Korean War.Despite the very different circumstances of the two conflicts and the radically different way each was viewed in its own time, the contributors point to many underlying similarities between the two wars.
Victory at Sea and Its Tragic Aftermath in the Final Years of the Peloponnesian War
Author: Debra Hamel
Publisher: JHU Press
A pivotal skirmish involving nearly three hundred Athenian and Spartan ships toward the end of the Peloponnesian War, the Battle of Arginusae was at the time the largest naval battle ever fought between warring Greeks. It was a crucial win for the Athenians, since losing the battle would have led to their total defeat by Sparta and, perhaps, the slaughter and enslavement of their entire population. Paradoxically, the win at Arginusae resulted in one of the worst disasters to befall the Athenians during the brutal twenty-seven-year war. Due to a combination of factors—incompetent leadership, the weariness of the sailors, a sudden storm—the commanders on the scene failed to rescue the crews of twenty-five Athenian ships that had been disabled during the battle. Thousands of men, many of them injured, were left clinging to the wreckage of their ships awaiting help that never came. When the Athenians back home heard what had happened, they deposed the eight generals who had been in command during the battle. Two of these leaders went into exile; the six who returned to Athens were tried and eventually executed. The Battle of Arginusae describes the violent battle and its horrible aftermath. Debra Hamel introduces readers to Athens and Sparta, the two thriving superpowers of the fifth century B.C. She provides a summary of the events that caused the long war and discusses the tactical intricacies of Greek naval warfare. Recreating the claustrophobic, unhygienic conditions in which the ships’ crews operated, Hamel unfolds the process that turned this naval victory into one of the most infamous chapters in the city-state’s history. Aimed at classics students and general readers, the book also provides an in-depth examination of the fraught relationship between Athens’ military commanders and its vaunted sovereign democracy. -- Lawrence A. Tritle, Loyola Marymount University, author of A New History of the Peloponnesian War
Xenophon's History recounts nearly fifty turbulent years of warfare in Greece between 411 and 362 BC. Continuing the story of the Peloponnesian War at the point where Thucydides finished his magisterial history, this is a fascinating chronicle of the conflicts that ultimately led to the decline of Greece, and the wars with both Thebes and the might of Persia. An Athenian by birth, Xenophon became a firm supporter of the Spartan cause, and fought against the Athenians in the battle of Coronea. Combining history and memoir, this is a brilliant account of the triumphs and failures of city-states, and a portrait of Greece at a time of crisis.
Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War is the earliest surviving realist text in the European tradition. As an account of the Peloponnesian War, it is famous both as an analysis of power politics and as a classic of political realism. From the opening speeches, Thucydides' Athenians emerge as a new and frightening source of power, motivated by self-interest and oblivious to the rules and shared values under which the Greeks had operated for centuries. Gregory Crane demonstrates how Thucydides' history brilliantly analyzes both the power and the dramatic weaknesses of realist thought. The tragedy of Thucydides' history emerges from the ultimate failure of the Athenian project. The new morality of the imperialists proved as conflicted as the old; history shows that their values were unstable and self-destructive. Thucydides' history ends with the recounting of an intellectual stalemate that, a century later, motivated Plato's greatest work. Thucydides and the Ancient Simplicity includes a thought-provoking discussion questioning currently held ideas of political realism and its limits. Crane's sophisticated claim for the continuing usefulness of the political examples of the classical past will appeal to anyone interested in the conflict between the exercise of political power and the preservation of human freedom and dignity.
Selections from The History of the Peloponnesian War
Publisher: Hackett Publishing
Designed for students with little or no background in ancient Greek language and culture, this collection of extracts from The History of the Peloponnesian War includes those passages that shed most light on Thucydides’ political theory--famous as well as important but lesser-known pieces frequently overlooked by nonspecialists. Newly translated into spare, vigorous English, and situated within a connective narrative framework, Woodruff’s selections will be of special interest to instructors in political theory and Greek civilization. Includes maps, notes, glossary.