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Herodotus and Thucydides: Inventing History | Gutenberg and the Printing Revolution in Europe | Henry Clay: Compromise and Union
Herodotus and Thucydides: Inventing History
Herodotus wrote about the wars between Persia and Greece. Thucydides wrote about the civil war between Athens and Sparta. Together these ancient Greek writers became the first true historians in Western civilization.
Herodotus and The Histories
We know little about the personal life of Herodotus. He was born around 485 B.C. in Halicarnassus, a city settled by Greeks on the western coast of Asia Minor (today’s Turkey). His family was probably aristocratic and wealthy. When he was a youngster, Herodotus and his family fled Halicarnassus after backing an unsuccessful revolt against the tyrant who ruled the city.
As a young man, Herodotus traveled widely, perhaps as a merchant. He visited Greek colonies along the northern coast of the Black Sea. He ventured into Eastern Europe where a nomadic people called Scythians lived. He spent a lot of time exploring Egypt. He toured the lands of the eastern Mediterranean, and maybe the city of Babylon in Mesopotamia (now Iraq). Herodotus was curious and learned everything he could about the non-Greek world.
At about age 35, Herodotus settled in Athens. For many years, he had been writing an account of the wars between Greece and Persia, which had ended when he was a small child. Herodotus entertained Athenians and other Greeks by reading parts of his work for a fee.
He did not finish his life’s work until he moved to Thurii, a Greek colony in southern Italy. The book is today known as TheHistories. It was first “published” on papyrus scrolls in Athens, probably in a series, starting around 430 B.C.Herodotus died in Thurii about 425 B.C.
He wrote The Histories in prose. Centuries earlier, Homer had used poetry to write The Iliad, which is about the Trojan Wars. No Greek had ever written a long narration of past events in prose.
Herodotus probably started writing intending just to cover the two Persian Wars. When he finished, however, he had added huge amounts of background material that filled the first half of The Histories.
Herodotus traced the conquests of Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius, who made the Persian Empire the dominant power in the “inhabited world.” He also wrote about the cultures, stories, and legends of the numerous peoples who made up the Persian Empire. Herodotus decided not to leave out anything he had learned about these foreign lands and peoples.
Herodotus pioneered many methods and sources that historians use today. He depended heavily on his own observations from his extensive travels. He also interviewed individual Greeks, Persians, and others.
Herodotus’ writing was not always reliable. He did not rigorously separate fact from fiction as modern historians try to do. He also composed long speeches, most of which had never been actually spoken. But Herodotus presented a balanced picture of the Greeks and Persians at war. Remarkably, much of his account was from the Persian point of view. Although he wrote about oracles and dreams influencing men, he did not put the gods in the middle of the action as Homer had done.Herodotus and the First Persian War
In the first sentence of The Histories, Herodotus explained why he wrote his monumental work:
Herodotus of Halicarnassus here presents his research so that human events do not fade with time. May the great and wonderful deeds—some brought forth by the Hellenes [Greeks], others by the barbarians [Persians]—not go unsung; as well as the causes that led them to make war on each other.
Early in The Histories, Herodotus told the story of King Croessus of Lydia in the western part of Asia Minor. Known for his vast riches, Croessus learned of an oracle who predicted he would destroy a great empire. This emboldened him to attack the Persians to the east. The Persian King Cyrus crushed his army and conquered Lydia. Only then did Croessus realize that the empire he would destroy was his own. Herodotus thus set the stage for the fall of great men who came too close to thinking of themselves as all-powerful gods.
Herodotus described a remarkable scene in Persian history following the sudden death of King Cambyses. Persian nobles debated whether they should continue the monarchy (rule by a king), or adopt a democracy (rule by the many) or an oligarchy (rule by the few). The noble Darius reminded his countrymen that King Cyrus had alone made the decisions that created the Persian Empire. This argument convinced the nobles to stay with a monarchy. They also agreed to make Darius the new king.
Herodotus told how Darius reorganized and expanded the Persian Empire so that it reached from western India in Asia to Thrace, north of Greece, in Europe. The Greeks, he wrote, spoke of Darius as the “Great King.”
Greece comprised many city-states. The most important were Athens, a democracy, and Sparta, an oligarchy. These city-states were not unified and thus were in danger if King Darius ever decided to conquer Greece.
In 499 B.C., with the help of Athens, Greek colonies along the west coast of Asia Minor revolted against Persian rule. Darius easily crushed the revolt. He then retaliated against Athens by mounting a massive seaborne invasion of Greece in 490 B.C. The Athenians with a few allies defeated Darius at the battle of Marathon. Herodotus described how the Athenians finally won:
In their victory there, they allowed the barbarian troops that they had routed to flee and then . . . as the Persians fled, the Athenians pursued them and cut them down until they reached the sea, where they called for fire and started to seize the [Persian] ships.
“Great King” Darius returned to Persia, vowing to come back to Greece, but he died before he could lead another invasion. His son, Xerxes, succeeded him in 486 B.C.Herodotus and the Second Persian War
A few years after Darius died, Xerxes decided to lead a second invasion of Greece. Herodotus quoted a long speech Xerxes made to the Persian nobles, stating his reasons and intentions. This speech, like others that Herodotus quoted in The Histories, probably never took place. He did, however, interview a number of Persians and probably captured the thinking of Xerxes, as indicated in this excerpt from Xerxes’ speech:
Persians, I am not about to introduce a new custom to you, instead I shall follow the tradition handed down to me. . . . I was struck by the realization that we could gain glory; take possession of lands fully as extensive, productive, and fertile as those which we have now; and at the same time obtain vengeance and retribution, too. . . . [I] shall not give up until I conquer Athens and set it on fire, since it is they who began the offenses against me and my father. . . .
In 480 B.C., Xerxes led the largest army the world had ever seen across a pontoon bridge over the Hellespont, a narrow strait between Asia Minor and Europe. He also assembled a navy that consisted of war ships from subject states.
As the massive army and navy moved toward Athens, 300 Spartans held a key pass in the mountains at Thermopylae. Xerxes asked an exiled Spartan if his countrymen would fight the overwhelming Persian army. Herodotus quoted the Spartan’s reply:
For though they are free, they are not free in all respects, for they are actually ruled by a lord and master: law is that master, and it is the law that they inwardly fear—much more so than your men fear you. They do whatever it commands, which is always the same: It forbids them to flee from battle, and no matter how many men they are fighting, it orders them to remain in their rank or perish.
Xerxes laughed at this, wrote Herodotus, but was stunned when the 300 Spartans repelled three assaults by his army. The Spartans were defeated only after a Greek betrayed them by showing the Persians a concealed path through the mountains.
Herodotus wrote that as Xerxes then marched toward Athens, the citizens debated the meaning of an oracle, predicting “wooden walls” would save the city. The Athenian leader Themistocles persuaded the others that this meant the Athenians should fight at sea with their wooden ships.
The Athenian navy destroyed the Persian fleet as Xerxes looked on in horror. The Spartans went on to win a great land victory over the Persian army, forcing it to march back across the pontoon bridge to Persia, never to returnThucydides and The History of the Peloponnesian War
After the defeat of Xerxes, many Greek city-states joined a league, headed by Athens with its superior navy, to defend Greece from any further Persian invasions. Athens, however, began to demand tribute—money, soldiers, or warships—from league members. In addition, Athens forced other city-states to join the league and prevented any member from leaving it. It also pressured league cities to adopt a democratic government like its own.
The combination of tribute and expanded trade created a wealthy Athenian Empire. This, in turn, enabled Pericles, the leader of the Athenian democracy, to launch a major building program in the city. One of his projects included the famous Parthenon, a temple to the goddess Athena. Pericles admitted that the Athenian Empire was a tyranny but argued the benefits it brought to Athens outweighed its evils.
Meanwhile, the Spartans with their dominant land army withdrew to their homeland of Peloponnesus, a wide peninsula connected to the Greek mainland by a narrow strip of land.
Sparta differed greatly from Athens. It was a regimented, militaristic society. All Spartan males, ages 20–60, were soldiers. Women and slaves performed most other tasks in Sparta. Its government was an oligarchy, drawn from the professional warrior class.
As Athens gathered more Greek city-states into its empire, the Spartans began to view the Athenians as a threat. Sparta formed its own defensive league, and before long sporadic fighting broke out with Athens and its allies. A peace treaty between Athens and Sparta did not last long, and in 431 B.C. the Peloponnesian War began. Fighting in Greece continued for most of the next 27 years.
Herodotus was still alive at the start of the Peloponnesian War, but another Greek, Thucydides, would write its history. Thucydides was born into a wealthy Athenian family about 460 B.C. Little else is known about the first 30 years of his life.
Shortly after the war began, the Athenians elected Thucydides as one of the city’s 10 generals. Assigned to command a fleet off the coast of Thrace, he failed to prevent the Spartans from capturing an Athenian colony. As was the custom, Athens punished Thucydides by exiling him from Athens for 20 years.
With lots of time on his hands, Thucydides decided to write a prose account of the war as it happened, almost like a modern news reporter. He traveled extensively into the war zones, observed battles, interviewed Athenian and Spartan military and political leaders, and read documents relating to the war. He was the first to analyze human behavior in wartime. He concluded that war was rooted in human nature and would be repeated in the future.
Unlike Herodotus, Thucydides rejected telling crowd-pleasing stories and concentrated on the facts of important events. He avoided writing about myths, oracles, and superstitions. He recognized that even eyewitnesses could not always be reliable sources. In general, he tried hard to be accurate, fair, and unbiased.
Like Herodotus, Thucydides quoted speeches, but these actually took place. Thucydides heard some of them himself. As for the rest, he wrote that he stuck “as closely as possible to the general sense of what they really said.”Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War
In the first sentence of hisHistory of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides wrote that he began writing about the war because he believed “it would be a great war, and more worthy of relation than any other that had preceded it.” He went on to identify what he believed to be the “real cause” of the war. “The growth of the power of Athens, and the alarm that this inspired in Sparta,” he wrote, “made war inevitable.”
Thucydides wrote how Corinth, a Spartan ally already fighting the Athenians, pushed Sparta to go to war against “the tyrant city” and liberate Greece. Typically slow to act, Sparta finally agreed to lead the fight against Athens, demanding that it restore independence to the Greek cities under its control.
In Athens, Pericles also called for war, but only under certain conditions since he recognized Sparta’s advantage on land with its larger professional army. He counseled the Athenians to fight a defensive war by remaining behind their city walls, depending on their superior navy and avoiding “schemes of fresh conquest.”
Thucydides wrote that only an honest leader like Pericles could make Athenian democracy work. But Pericles, whom Thucydides called “the first citizen,” died soon after the war began, probably in a plague that ravaged Athens. According to Thucydides, those who replaced Pericles ignored his defensive strategy and committed a series of blunders that eventually led to Sparta’s victory over Athens.
Thucydides was interested in how both soldiers and civilians behaved in wartime. In 427 B.C., rebels in Corcyra, one of the city-states under the thumb of Athens, revolted against the democratic government there. Athens quickly crushed the revolt, and the people of the city slaughtered the rebel faction. This incident prompted Thucydides to comment on the evils of revolution:
The sufferings that revolution entailed upon cities were many and terrible, such as have occurred and always will occur as long as the nature of mankind remains the same. . . . The cause of all these evils was the lust for power arising from greed and ambition. . . .
In 421 B.C., the war was at a stalemate, and the two sides agreed on a “Fifty Year Peace Treaty.” It lasted only about five years.
As the war resumed, Athenian leaders argued for a major military expedition to Sicily. They disregarded Pericles’ advice that the Athenians should stay close to home.
In 413 B.C., a large Athenian fleet carrying thousands of soldiers headed for Syracuse, a Spartan ally in Sicily. The expedition failed to attack Syracuse immediately, allowing the city to prepare strong defenses and get help from Sparta.
The Athenians failed in several assaults on the city, including an unusual night attack that Thucydides described. Then the Athenians lost most of their ships in a battle within Syracuse’s harbor. Trapped, Athenian troops panicked and tried to escape inland. The Syracusans followed them, killing and capturing many. Thucydides described how it all ended at a river crossing:
Meanwhile the opposite [river] bank, which was steep, was lined with Syracusans, who showered missiles down upon the Athenians, most of them drinking greedily and heaped together in disorder in the hollow bed of the river. The [Spartans] also came down and butchered them, especially those in the water, which was thus immediately spoiled, but which they went on drinking the same, mud and all, bloody as it was, most even fighting to have it. . . .
As the war dragged on, atrocities on both sides increased. Probably the worst was a massacre in the defenseless city of Mycalessus in 413 B.C. by Thracians allied with Athens. Thucydides described the horror:
The Thracians bursting into Mycalessus sacked the houses and temples and butchered the inhabitants, sparing neither youth nor age but killing all they fell in with, one after the other, children and women. . . . Everywhere confusion reigned and death in all its shapes; and in particular they attacked a boys’ school . . . into which children had just gone, and massacred them all.
In 411 B.C., Thucydides suddenly stopped writing. The war, however, continued for seven more years until Sparta won a decisive victory over the Athenian fleet, finally forcing Athens to surrender in 404 B. C. We do not know why Thucydides never finished his History. He died, some ancient sources say violently, around 400 B.C., after the war ended.
* * * * *
Herodotus and Thucydides invented history, or at least the writing of it, in the Western world. Before Herodotus, the Greeks had no word for history in the sense of writing a narration of past events in prose. Therefore, the Roman writer Cicero was correct when he called Herodotus the “Father of History.”
Herodotus may have been the first Western historian, but Thucydides was the first modern one. He explained the causes of events, analyzed political developments like revolutions, and evaluated leaders such as Pericles. In addition, like historians today, he was rigorous in searching for the truth and discarding information that he could not verify.For Discussion and Writing
1. According to Herodotus, what were the causes of the Persian Wars?
2. According to Thucydides, how did the Spartans and Athenians differ in their reasons for going to war with one another?
3. Compare Herodotus and Thucydides as historians.A C T I V I T Y
Greek Historians Meet the Press
In this activity, the class will hold two separate “news conferences.” In one, Herodotus will answer questions from the press on the Persian Wars. In the other, Thucydides will answer questions on the Peloponnesian War.
1. Choose two students to role play the Greek historians. Have the historians prepare by reading the article and preparing to answer questions that might be asked. They will answer reporters’ questions based on how Herodotus and Thucydides probably would have replied.
2. Divide the rest of the class into two groups—one group will role play reporters questioning Herodotus. The other will role play reporters and question Thucydides. They should read the article and prepare questions that seek the opinion of the historian.
To Herodotus: What do you think was the main cause of the Persian Wars?
To Thucydides: Why do you think the Peloponnesian War lasted so long?For Further Information
Herodotus | Athens | The Histories | First Persian War| Sparta | Second Persian War| Thucydides | Peloponnesian War | History of the Peloponnesian War | Books
Encyclopedia Articles on Herodotus:
Columbia Encyclopedia: Herodotus
1911 Britannica: Herodotus
Herodotus on the Web Comprehensive source including articles, images, and pop culture references.
Ancient History Sourcebook:11th Brittanica: Herodotus Biography of Herodotus.
Links on Herodotus:
Yahoo Directory: Herodotus
Open Directory Project: Herodotus
Google Directory: Herodotus
Encyclopedia Articles on Athens:
Columbia Encyclopedia: Athens
1911 Britannica: Athens
Ancient Greek Civilizations Information on the different areas of Athens and Athenian society.
Ancient Athens of Greece An illustrated history of Athens.
Links on Athens:
Yahoo Directory: Athens
Open Directory Project: Athens
Google Directory: Athens
Encyclopedia Articles on The Histories:
Wikipedia: The Histories
Answers.com: The Histories
Citizendium: The Histories
The History of Herodotus The complete text of The Histories.
Herodotus’ Histories: the 28 logoiText of “the Histories” divided into parts accompanied by short summaries.
Links on The Histories:Yahoo Directory: The Histories
Open Directory Project: The Histories
Google Directory: The Histories
First Persian War
Encyclopedia Articles on the First Persian War:
Wikipedia: First Persian War
Columbia Encyclopedia: First Persian War
Answers.com: First Persian War
The Persian War Flow chart showing the progression of the Persian Wars.
The First Persian War- Greek Wars Extensive history of the First Persian War.
Dr. J’s Illustrated Persian Wars History of the Persian Wars with accompanying images.
Links on the First Persian War:
Yahoo Directory: First Persian War
Open Directory Project: First Persian War
Google Directory: First Persian War
Encyclopedia Articles on Sparta:
Columbia Encyclopedia: Sparta
1911 Britannica: Sparta
Sparta Essay on the society of Sparta.
Sparta General overview of Sparta, with emphasis of the women of the civilization.
History of Sparta Extensive history of Sparta.
Links on Sparta:
Yahoo Directory: Sparta
Open Directory Project: Sparta
Google Directory: Sparta
Encyclopedia Articles on the Second Persian War:
Wikipedia: Second Persian War
Columbia Encyclopedia: Second Persian War
Answers.com: Second Persian War
The Second Persian War: The Great Invasion Descriptions of key battles of the Second Persian War.
The 2nd Persian War Story and consequences of the Second Persian War.
Persian Wars Timeline Timeline of major events.
Links on the Second Persian War:
Yahoo Directory: Second Persian War
Open Directory Project: Second Persian War
Google Directory: Second Persian War
Encyclopedia Articles on Thucydides:
Columbia Encyclopedia: Thucydides
1911 Britannica: Thucydides
Thucydides Short biography and explanation of the History of the Peloponnesian War.
Thucydides Detailed biography of Thucydides.
On the Life and History Thucydides Another biographical source.
Links on Thucydides:
Yahoo Directory: Thucydides
Open Directory Project: Thucydides
Google Directory: Thucydides
Encyclopedia Articles on the Peloponnesian War:
Wikipedia: Peloponnesian War
Columbia Encyclopedia: Peloponnesian War
Answers.com: Peloponnesian War
1911 Britannica: Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War Comprehensive resource complete with extensive timeline and translations.
The Peloponnesian War Audio descriptions of the Peloponnesian War.
Peloponnesian War Timeline Chronology of the Peloponnesian War.
Links on the Peloponnesian War:
Yahoo Directory: Peloponnesian War
Open Directory Project: Peloponnesian War
Google Directory: Peloponnesian War
History of the Peloponnesian War
Encyclopedia Articles on the History of the Peloponnesian War:
Wikipedia: History of the Peloponnesian War
Columbia Encyclopedia: History of the Peloponnesian War
Answers.com: History of the Peloponnesian War
The History of the Peloponnesian War The full text of the book.
The History of the Peloponnesian War Another version of the text with chapter summaries.
Links on the History of the Peloponnesian War:
Yahoo Directory: History of the Peloponnesian War
Open Directory Project: History of the Peloponnesian War
Google Directory: History of the Peloponnesian War
Dewald, Carolyn, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Herodotus 2006.
Kagen, Donald. The Peloponnesian War. 2004.
Powell, Anton.Athens and Sparta: Constructing Greek Political and Social History from 478 BCE. 2001.
Strassler, Robert B., ed. The Landmark Herodotus. 2007 and The Landmark Thucydides. 1996.
For other uses, see Thucydides (disambiguation).
Thucydides (; Ancient Greek: Θουκυδίδης, Thoukydídēs, [tʰuːkydídɛːs]; c. 460 – c. 400 BC) was an Athenianhistorian and general. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the fifth-century BC war between Sparta and Athens until the year 411 BC. Thucydides has been dubbed the father of "scientific history" by those who accept his claims to have applied strict standards of impartiality and evidence-gathering and analysis of cause and effect, without reference to intervention by the gods, as outlined in his introduction to his work.
He also has been called the father of the school of political realism, which views the political behavior of individuals and the subsequent outcomes of relations between states as ultimately mediated by and constructed upon the emotions of fear and self-interest. His text is still studied at universities and military colleges worldwide. The Melian dialogue is regarded as a seminal work of international relations theory, while his version of Pericles' Funeral Oration is widely studied by political theorists, historians, and students of the classics.
More generally, Thucydides developed an understanding of human nature to explain behaviour in such crises as plagues, massacres, and civil war.
In spite of his stature as a historian, modern historians know relatively little about Thucydides's life. The most reliable information comes from his own History of the Peloponnesian War, which expounds his nationality, paternity and native locality. Thucydides informs us that he fought in the war, contracted the plague and was exiled by the democracy. He may have also been involved in quelling the Samian Revolt.
Evidence from the Classical period
Thucydides identifies himself as an Athenian, telling us that his father's name was Olorus and that he was from the Athenian deme of Halimous. He survived the Plague of Athens that killed Pericles and many other Athenians. He also records that he owned gold mines at Scapte Hyle (literally "Dug Woodland"), a coastal area in Thrace, opposite the island of Thasos.
Because of his influence in the Thracian region, Thucydides wrote, he was sent as a strategos (general) to Thasos in 424 BC. During the winter of 424–423 BC, the Spartan general Brasidas attacked Amphipolis, a half-day's sail west from Thasos on the Thracian coast, instigating the Battle of Amphipolis. Eucles, the Athenian commander at Amphipolis, sent to Thucydides for help. Brasidas, aware of Thucydides's presence on Thasos and his influence with the people of Amphipolis, and afraid of help arriving by sea, acted quickly to offer moderate terms to the Amphipolitans for their surrender, which they accepted. Thus, when Thucydides arrived, Amphipolis was already under Spartan control.
Amphipolis was of considerable strategic importance, and news of its fall caused great consternation in Athens. It was blamed on Thucydides, although he claimed that it was not his fault and that he had simply been unable to reach it in time. Because of his failure to save Amphipolis, he was exiled:
I lived through the whole of it, being of an age to comprehend events, and giving my attention to them in order to know the exact truth about them. It was also my fate to be an exile from my country for twenty years after my command at Amphipolis; and being present with both parties, and more especially with the Peloponnesians by reason of my exile, I had leisure to observe affairs somewhat particularly.
Using his status as an exile from Athens to travel freely among the Peloponnesian allies, he was able to view the war from the perspective of both sides. Thucydides claimed that he began writing his history as soon as the war broke out, because he thought it would be one of the greatest wars waged among the Greeks in terms of scale:
"Thucydides, an Athenian, wrote the history of the war between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians, beginning at the moment that it broke out, and believing that it would be a great war, and more worthy of relation than any that had preceded it."
This is all that Thucydides wrote about his own life, but a few other facts are available from reliable contemporary sources. Herodotus wrote that the name Olorus, Thucydides's father's name, was connected with Thrace and Thracian royalty. Thucydides was probably connected through family to the Athenian statesman and general Miltiades and his son Cimon, leaders of the old aristocracy supplanted by the Radical Democrats. Cimon's maternal grandfather's name was also Olorus, making the connection exceedingly likely. Another Thucydides lived before the historian and was also linked with Thrace, making a family connection between them very likely as well. Finally, Herodotus confirms the connection of Thucydides's family with the mines at Scapté Hýlē.
Combining all the fragmentary evidence available, it seems that his family had owned a large estate in Thrace, one that even contained gold mines, and which allowed the family considerable and lasting affluence. The security and continued prosperity of the wealthy estate must have necessitated formal ties with local kings or chieftains, which explains the adoption of the distinctly Thracian royal name Óloros into the family. Once exiled, Thucydides took permanent residence in the estate and, given his ample income from the gold mines, he was able to dedicate himself to full-time history writing and research, including many fact-finding trips. In essence, he was a well-connected gentleman of considerable resources who, after involuntarily retiring from the political and military spheres, decided to fund his own historical investigations.
The remaining evidence for Thucydides's life comes from rather less reliable later ancient sources. According to Pausanias, someone named Oenobius was able to get a law passed allowing Thucydides to return to Athens, presumably sometime shortly after the city's surrender and the end of the war in 404 BC. Pausanias goes on to say that Thucydides was murdered on his way back to Athens. Many doubt this account, seeing evidence to suggest he lived as late as 397 BC. Plutarch claims that his remains were returned to Athens and placed in Cimon's family vault.
The abrupt end to Thucydides's narrative, which breaks off in the middle of the year 411 BC, has traditionally been interpreted that he died while writing the book, although other explanations have been put forward.
Inferences about Thucydides's character can only be drawn (with due caution) from his book. His sardonic sense of humour is evident throughout, as when, during his description of the Athenian plague, he remarks that old Athenians seemed to remember a rhyme which said that with the Dorian War would come a "great death". Some claimed that the rhyme was actually about a [death by] "famine" or "starvation" (λιμός, limos), and was only remembered as [death by] "pestilence" (λοιμός, loimos) due to the current plague. Thucydides then remarks that should another Dorian War come, this time attended with a great dearth, the rhyme will be remembered as "dearth," and any mention of "death" forgotten.
Thucydides admired Pericles, approving of his power over the people and showing a marked distaste for the demagogues who followed him. He did not approve of the democratic commoners nor the radical democracy that Pericles ushered in but considered democracy acceptable when guided by a good leader. Thucydides's presentation of events is generally even-handed; for example, he does not minimize the negative effect of his own failure at Amphipolis. Occasionally, however, strong passions break through, as in his scathing appraisals of the democratic leaders Cleon and Hyperbolus. Cleon has sometimes been connected with Thucydides's exile.
It has been argued that Thucydides was moved by the suffering inherent in war and concerned about the excesses to which human nature is prone in such circumstances, as in his analysis of the atrocities committed during the civil conflict on Corcyra, which includes the phrase "war is a violent teacher" (πόλεμος βίαιος διδάσκαλος).
The History of the Peloponnesian War
Main article: History of the Peloponnesian War
Thucydides believed that the Peloponnesian War represented an event of unmatched importance. As such, he began to write the History at the onset of the war in 431. His intention was to write an account which would serve as "a possession for all time". The history breaks off near the end of the 21st year of the war and does not elaborate on the final conflicts of the war. This facet of the work suggests that Thucydides died whilst writing his history and more so, that his death was unexpected.
After his death, Thucydides's History was subdivided into eight books: its modern title is the History of the Peloponnesian War. His great contribution to history and historiography is contained in this one dense history of the 27-year war between Athens and Sparta, each alongside their respective allies. This subdividing was most likely done by librarians and archivists, themselves being historians and scholars, most likely working in the Library of Alexandria.
The History of the Peloponnesian War continued to be modified well beyond the end of the war in 404, as exemplified by a reference at Book I.1.13 to the conclusion of the Peloponnesian War (404 BC), seven years after the last events in the main text of Thucydides' history.
Thucydides is generally regarded as one of the first true historians. Like his predecessor Herodotus, known as "the father of history", Thucydides places a high value on eyewitness testimony and writes about events in which he himself probably took part. He also assiduously consulted written documents and interviewed participants about the events that he recorded. Unlike Herodotus, whose stories often teach that a hubris invites the wrath of the gods, Thucydides does not acknowledge divine intervention in human affairs.
Thucydides exerted wide historiographical influence on subsequent Hellenistic and Roman historians, though the exact description of his style in relation to many successive historians remains unclear. Readers in antiquity often placed the continuation of the stylistic legacy of the History in the writings of Thucydides' putative intellectual successor Xenophon. Such readings often described Xenophon's treatises as attempts to "finish" Thucydides' History. Many of these interpretations, however, have garnered significant scepticism among modern scholars, such as Dillery, who spurn the view of interpreting Xenophon qua Thucydides, arguing that the latter's "modern" history (defined as constructed based on literary and historical themes) is antithetical to the former's account in the Hellenica, which diverges from the Hellenic historiographical tradition in its absence of a preface or introduction to the text and the associated lack of an "overarching concept" unifying the history.
A noteworthy difference between Thucydides's method of writing history and that of modern historians is Thucydides's inclusion of lengthy formal speeches that, as he himself states, were literary reconstructions rather than actual quotations of what was said—or, perhaps, what he believed ought to have been said. Arguably, had he not done this, the gist of what was said would not otherwise be known at all—whereas today there is a plethora of documentation—written records, archives and recording technology for historians to consult. Therefore, Thucydides's method served to rescue his mostly oral sources from oblivion. We do not know how these historical figures actually spoke. Thucydides's recreation uses a heroic stylistic register. A celebrated example is Pericles' funeral oration, which heaps honour on the dead and includes a defence of democracy:
The whole earth is the sepulchre of famous men; they are honoured not only by columns and inscriptions in their own land, but in foreign nations on memorials graven not on stone but in the hearts and minds of men. (2:43)
Stylistically, the placement of this passage also serves to heighten the contrast with the description of the plague in Athens immediately following it, which graphically emphasizes the horror of human mortality, thereby conveying a powerful sense of verisimilitude:
Though many lay unburied, birds and beasts would not touch them, or died after tasting them [...]. The bodies of dying men lay one upon another, and half-dead creatures reeled about the streets and gathered round all the fountains in their longing for water. The sacred places also in which they had quartered themselves were full of corpses of persons who had died there, just as they were; for, as the disaster passed all bounds, men, not knowing what was to become of them, became equally contemptuous of the gods' property and the gods' dues. All the burial rites before in use were entirely upset, and they buried the bodies as best they could. Many from want of the proper appliances, through so many of their friends having died already, had recourse to the most shameless sepultures: sometimes getting the start of those who had raised a pile, they threw their own dead body upon the stranger's pyre and ignited it; sometimes they tossed the corpse which they were carrying on the top of another that was burning, and so went off. (2:52)
Thucydides omits discussion of the arts, literature or the social milieu in which the events in his book take place and in which he himself grew up. He saw himself as recording an event, not a period, and went to considerable lengths to exclude what he deemed frivolous or extraneous.
Philosophical outlook and influences
Paul Shorey calls Thucydides "a cynic devoid of moral sensibility". In addition, he notes that Thucydides conceived of human nature as strictly determined by one's physical and social environments, alongside basic desires.
Thucydides' work indicates an influence from the teachings of the Sophists that contributes substantially to the thinking and character of his History. Possible evidence includes his skeptical ideas concerning justice and morality. There are also elements within the History—such as his views on nature revolving around the factual, empirical, and the non-anthropomorphic—which suggest that he was at least aware of the views of philosophers such as Anaxagoras and Democritus. There is also evidence of his knowledge concerning some of the corpus of Hippocratic medical writings.
Thucydides was especially interested in the relationship between human intelligence and judgment, Fortune and Necessity, and the idea that history is too irrational and incalculable to predict.
Scholars traditionally view Thucydides as recognizing and teaching the lesson that democracies need leadership, but that leadership can be dangerous to democracy. Leo Strauss (in The City and Man) locates the problem in the nature of Athenian democracy itself, about which, he argued, Thucydides had a deeply ambivalent view: on one hand, Thucydides's own "wisdom was made possible" by the Periclean democracy, which had the effect of liberating individual daring, enterprise and questioning spirit; but this same liberation, by permitting the growth of limitless political ambition, led to imperialism and, eventually, civic strife.
For Canadian historian Charles Norris Cochrane (1889–1945), Thucydides's fastidious devotion to observable phenomena, focus on cause and effect, and strict exclusion of other factors anticipates twentieth-century scientific positivism. Cochrane, the son of a physician, speculated that Thucydides generally (and especially in describing the plague in Athens) was influenced by the methods and thinking of early medical writers such as Hippocrates of Kos.
After World War II, Classical scholar Jacqueline de Romilly pointed out that the problem of Athenian imperialism was one of Thucydides's central preoccupations and situated his history in the context of Greek thinking about international politics. Since the appearance of her study, other scholars further examined Thucydides's treatment of realpolitik.
More recently, scholars have questioned the perception of Thucydides as simply "the father of realpolitik". Instead they have brought to the fore the literary qualities of the History, which they see as belonging to the narrative tradition of Homer and Hesiod and as concerned with the concepts of justice and suffering found in Plato and Aristotle and problematized in Aeschylus and Sophocles.Richard Ned Lebow terms Thucydides "the last of the tragedians", stating that "Thucydides drew heavily on epic poetry and tragedy to construct his history, which not surprisingly is also constructed as a narrative." In this view, the blind and immoderate behaviour of the Athenians (and indeed of all the other actors) – though perhaps intrinsic to human nature – ultimately leads to their downfall. Thus his History could serve as a warning to future leaders to be more prudent, by putting them on notice that someone would be scrutinizing their actions with a historian's objectivity rather than a chronicler's flattery.
The historian J. B. Bury writes that the work of Thucydides . . . "marks the longest and most decisive step that has ever been taken by a single man towards making history what it is today.”
Historian H. D. Kitto feels that Thucydides wrote about the Peloponnesian War not because it was the most significant war in antiquity but because it caused the most suffering. Indeed, several passages of Thucydides' book are written "with an intensity of feeling hardly exceeded by Sappho herself."
In his Open Society and Its Enemies, Karl R. Popper writes that Thucydides was the "greatest historian, perhaps, who ever lived." Thucydides' work, however, Popper goes on to say, represents "an interpretation, a point of view; and in this we need not agree with him." In the war between Athenian democracy and the "arrested oligarchic tribalism of Sparta," we must never forget Thucydides' "involuntary bias," and that "his heart was not with Athens, his native city:"
"Although he apparently did not belong to the extreme wing of the Athenian oligarchic clubs who conspired throughout the war with the enemy, he was certainly a member of the oligarchic party, and a friend neither of the Athenian people, the demos, who had exiled him, nor of its imperialist policy."
Thucydides and his immediate predecessor Herodotus both exerted a significant influence on Western historiography. Thucydides does not mention his counterpart by name, but his famous introductory statement is thought to refer to him:
To hear this history rehearsed, for that there be inserted in it no fables, shall be perhaps not delightful. But he that desires to look into the truth of things done, and which (according to the condition of humanity) may be done again, or at least their like, shall find enough herein to make him think it profitable. And it is compiled rather for an everlasting possession than to be rehearsed for a prize. (1:22)
Herodotus records in his Histories not only the events of the Persian Wars but also geographical and ethnographical information, as well as the fables related to him during his extensive travels. Typically, he passes no definitive judgment on what he has heard. In the case of conflicting or unlikely accounts, he presents both sides, says what he believes and then invites readers to decide for themselves. The work of Herodotus is reported to have been recited at festivals, where prizes were awarded, as for example, during the games at Olympia.
Herodotus views history as a source of moral lessons, with conflicts and wars as misfortunes flowing from initial acts of injustice perpetuated through cycles of revenge. In contrast, Thucydides claims to confine himself to factual reports of contemporary political and military events, based on unambiguous, first-hand, eye-witness accounts, although, unlike Herodotus, he does not reveal his sources. Thucydides views life exclusively as political life, and history in terms of political history. Conventional moral considerations play no role in his analysis of political events while geographic and ethnographic aspects are omitted or, at best, of secondary importance. Subsequent Greek historians—such as Ctesias, Diodorus, Strabo, Polybius and Plutarch—held up Thucydides's writings as a model of truthful history. Lucian refers to Thucydides as having given Greek historians their law, requiring them to say what had been done (ὡς ἐπράχθη). Greek historians of the fourth century BC accepted that history was political and that contemporary history was the proper domain of a historian.Cicero calls Herodotus the "father of history;" yet the Greek writer Plutarch, in his Moralia (Ethics) denigrated Herodotus, notably calling him a philobarbaros, a "barbarian lover', to the detriment of the Greeks. Unlike Thucydides, however, these authors all continued to view history as a source of moral lessons.
Due to the loss of the ability to read Greek, Thucydides and Herodotus were largely forgotten during the Middle Ages in Western Europe, although their influence continued in the Byzantine world. In Europe, Herodotus become known and highly respected only in the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth century as an ethnographer, in part due to the discovery of America, where customs and animals were encountered even more surprising than what he had related. During the Reformation, moreover, information about Middle Eastern countries in the Histories provided a basis for establishing Biblical chronology as advocated by Isaac Newton.
The first European translation of Thucydides (into Latin) was made by the humanist Lorenzo Valla between 1448 and 1452, and the first Greek edition was published by Aldo Manuzio in 1502. During the Renaissance, however, Thucydides attracted less interest among Western European historians as a political philosopher than his successor, Polybius, although Poggio Bracciolini claimed to have been influenced by him. There is not much trace of Thucydides's influence in Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince (1513), which held that the chief aim of a new prince must be to "maintain his state" [i.e., his power] and that in so doing he is often compelled to act against faith, humanity and religion. Later historians, such as J. B. Bury, however, have noted parallels between them:
If, instead of a history, Thucydides had written an analytical treatise on politics, with particular reference to the Athenian empire, it is probable that ... he could have forestalled Machiavelli. . . .[since] the whole innuendo of the Thucydidean treatment of history agrees with the fundamental postulate of Machiavelli, the supremacy of reason of state. To maintain a state said the Florentine thinker, "a statesman is often compelled to act against faith, humanity and religion." ... But ... the true Machiavelli, not the Machiavelli of fable ... entertained an ideal: Italy for the Italians, Italy freed from the stranger: and in the service of this ideal he desired to see his speculative science of politics applied. Thucydides has no political aim in view: he was purely a historian. But it was part of the method of both alike to eliminate conventional sentiment and morality.
In the seventeenth century, the English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, whose Leviathan advocated absolute monarchy, admired Thucydides and in 1628 was the first to translate his writings into English directly from Greek. Thucydides, Hobbes, and Machiavelli are together considered the founding fathers of political realism, according to which, state policy must primarily or solely focus on the need to maintain military and economic power rather than on ideals or ethics.
Nineteenth-century positivist historians stressed what they saw as Thucydides's seriousness, his scientific objectivity and his advanced handling of evidence. A virtual cult following developed among such German philosophers as Friedrich Schelling, Friedrich Schlegel, and Friedrich Nietzsche, who claimed that, "[in Thucydides], the portrayer of man, that culture of the most impartial knowledge of the world finds its last glorious flower." The late-eighteenth-century Swiss historian Johannes von Müller described Thucydides as 'the favourite author of the greatest and noblest men, and one of the best teachers of the wisdom of human life.'  For Eduard Meyer, Macaulay and Leopold von Ranke, who initiated modern source-based history writing, Thucydides was again the model historian.
Generals and statesmen loved him: the world he drew was theirs, an exclusive power-brokers' club. It is no accident that even today Thucydides turns up as a guiding spirit in military academies, neocon think tanks and the writings of men like Henry Kissinger; whereas Herodotus has been the choice of imaginative novelists (Michael Ondaatje's novel The English Patient and the film based on it boosted the sale of the Histories to a wholly unforeseen degree) and—as food for a starved soul—of an equally imaginative foreign correspondent from Iron Curtain Poland, Ryszard Kapuscinski.
These historians also admired Herodotus, however, as social and ethnographic history increasingly came to be recognized as complementary to political history. In the twentieth century, this trend gave rise to the works of Johan Huizinga, Marc Bloch and Braudel, who pioneered the study of long-term cultural and economic developments and the patterns of everyday life. The Annales School, which exemplifies this direction, has been viewed as extending the tradition of Herodotus.
At the same time, Thucydides's influence was increasingly important in the area of international relations during the Cold War, through the work of Hans Morgenthau, Leo Strauss and Edward Carr.
The tension between the Thucydidean and Herodotean traditions extends beyond historical research. According to Irving Kristol, self-described founder of American neoconservatism, Thucydides wrote "the favorite neoconservative text on foreign affairs"; and Thucydides is a required text at the Naval War College, an American institution located in Rhode Island. On the other hand, Daniel Mendelsohn, in a review of a recent edition of Herodotus, suggests that, at least in his graduate school days during the Cold War, professing admiration of Thucydides served as a form of self-presentation:
To be an admirer of Thucydides' History, with its deep cynicism about political, rhetorical and ideological hypocrisy, with its all too recognizable protagonists—a liberal yet imperialistic democracy and an authoritarian oligarchy, engaged in a war of attrition fought by proxy at the remote fringes of empire—was to advertise yourself as a hardheaded connoisseur of global Realpolitik.
Another author, Thomas Geoghegan, whose speciality is labour rights, comes down on the side of Herodotus when it comes to drawing lessons relevant to Americans, who, he notes, tend to be rather isolationist in their habits (if not in their political theorizing): "We should also spend more funds to get our young people out of the library where they're reading Thucydides and get them to start living like Herodotus—going out and seeing the world."
Another contemporary historian believes that while it is true that critical history "began with Thucydides, one may also argue that Herodotus’ looking at the past as a reason why the present is the way it is, and to search for causality for events beyond the realms of Tyche and the Gods, was a much larger step."
- ^Cochrane, p. 179; Meyer, p. 67; de Sainte Croix.
- ^Korab-Karpowicz, W. Julian. "Political Realism in International Relations". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Retrieved 2016-03-23.
- ^Strauss, p. 139.
- ^Harloe, Katherine, Morley, Neville, Thucydides and the Modern World: Reception, Reinterpretation and Influence from the Renaissance to the Present. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press (2012). p. 12
- ^Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War 1.117
- ^Thucydides 4.104
- ^Thucydides 2.48.1–3
- ^Thucydides 4.105.1
- ^Thucydides 4.104.1
- ^Thucydides 4.105–106.3
- ^Thucydides 4.108.1–7
- ^Thucydides 5.26.5
- ^"Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, book 1, chapter 1, section 1". data.perseus.org. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
- ^Herodotus, Histories 6.46.1
- ^Pausanias, 1.23.9.
- ^Plutarch, Cimon 4.1.
- ^"Μετάφραση Google". google.com. Retrieved 2016-03-23.
- ^"Μετάφραση Google". google.com. Retrieved 2016-03-23.
- ^Thucydides 2.54.3
- ^Thucydides 2.65.1
- ^Thucydides 3.36.6
- ^Thucydides 4.27, 5.16.1
- ^Thucydides 8.73.3
- ^Marcellinus, Life of Thucydides 46
- ^Thucydides 3.82–83
- ^Thucydides 1.1.1
- ^Thucydides 1.1
- ^Zagorin, Perez. Thucydides. (Princeton University Press, 2015), p. 9
- ^Thucydides 1.22.4
- ^Thucydides. " Book 11#1:13". History of the Peloponnesian War. Wikisource.
- ^Mynott, Jeremy, The War of the Peloponnesians and Athenians. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press (2013). p. 11
- ^Grant, Michael (1995). Greek and Roman Historians: Information and Misinformation. London: Routledge. pp. 55–56. ISBN 0415117704.
- ^Hornblower, Simon, Spawforth, Antony, Eidinow, Esther, The Oxford Classical Dictionary. New York, Oxford University Press (2012). pp. 692–693
- ^Dillery, John, Xenophon and the History of His Times. London, Routledge (2002).
- ^Zagorin, Perez. Thucydides. (Princeton University Press, 2015), p. 144.
Endnote cites: Paul Shorey, “On the Implicit Ethics and Psychology of Thucydides”
- ^Zagorin, Perez. Thucydides. (Princeton University Press, 2015), p. 144.
- ^Zagorin, Perez. Thucydides. (Princeton University Press, 2015), p. 22
The page itself refers to an endnote detailing that this conclusion is inspired by multiple works, including but not limited to: Athens as A Cultural Center by Martin Ostwald; Thucydides by John H. Finley; Intellectual Experiments of Greek Enlightenment by Friedrich Solmsen
- ^Zagorin, Perez. Thucydides. (Princeton University Press, 2015), p. 152.
- ^Zagorin, Perez. Thucydides. (Princeton University Press, 2015), p. 147.
- ^Zagorin, Perez. Thucydides. (Princeton University Press, 2015), p. 156.
- ^Zagorin, Perez. Thucydides. (Princeton University Press, 2015), p. 157.
- ^Zagorin, Perez. Thucydides. (Princeton University Press, 2015), p. 160.
- ^Russett, p. 45.
- ^Charles Norris Cochrane, Thucydides and the Science of Medicine (1929).
- ^Clifford Orwin, The Humanity of Thucydides, Princeton, 1994.
- ^Richard Ned Lebow, The Tragic vision of Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 20.
- ^See also Walter Robert Connor, Thucydides (Princeton University Press, 1987).
- ^Bury, J. B. (1958). The Ancient Greek Historians. New York: Dover Publications. p. 147.
- ^Bowker, Stan (1966). "Kitto At BC". The Heights. XLVI, Number 16.
- ^Lucian, How to write history, p. 42
- ^Thucydides 1.22
- ^Momigliano, pp. 39, 40.
- ^Lucian: Herodotus, pp. 1–2.
- ^Ryszard Kapuscinski: Travels with Herodotus, p. 78.
- ^Thucydides 1.23
- ^Lucian, pp. 25, 41.
- ^Momigliano, Ch. 2, IV.
- ^Cicero, Laws 1.5.
- ^Plutarch, On the Malignity of Herodotus, Moralia XI (Loeb Classical Library 426).
- ^Momigliano Chapter 2, V.
- ^J. B. Bury, The Ancient Greek Historians (London, MacMillan, 1909), pp. 140–143.
- ^Johannes von Müller, The History of the World, (Boston: Thomas H. Webb and Co., 1842), Vol. 1, p. 61.
- ^See Anthony Grafton, The Footnote, a Curious History (Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press, 1999)
- ^Momigliano, p. 50.
- ^For his part, Peter Green notes of these historians, the fact "That [Thucydides] was exiled for military incompetence, did a hatchet job on the man responsible and praised as virtually unbeatable the Spartan general to whom he had lost the key city of Amphipolis bothered them not at all." Peter Green (2008) cit.
- ^(Green 2008, op cit)
- ^Momigliano, p.52.
- ^Stuart Clark (ed.): The Annales school: critical assessments, Vol. II, 1999.
- ^See essay on Thucydides in The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism: An Introduction to the Thought of Leo Strauss – Essays and Lectures by Leo Strauss, edited by Thomas L. Pangle (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989).
- ^See, for example, E.H. Carr's The Twenty Years' Crisis.
- ^"The Neoconservative Persuasion". weeklystandard.com.
- ^"Arms and the Man: What was Herodotus trying to tell us?" (The New Yorker, April 28, 2008)
- ^"The American Prospect". The American Prospect. Archived from the original on July 5, 2009.
- ^Sorensen, Benjamin (2013). "The Legacy of J. B. Bury, 'Progressive' Historian of Ancient Greece". Saber and Scroll. 2 (2).
References and further reading
- Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton (1910). . The classic translation by Richard Crawley. Reissued by the Echo Library in 2006. ISBN 1406809845OCLC 173484508
- Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War. Indianapolis, Hackett (1998); translation by Steven Lattimore. ISBN 9780872203945.
- Herodotus, Histories, A. D. Godley (translator), Cambridge: Harvard University Press (1920). ISBN 0-674-99133-8 perseus.tufts.edu.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece, Books I-II, (Loeb Classical Library) translated by W. H. S. Jones; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. (1918). ISBN 0-674-99104-4. perseus.tufts.edu.
- Plutarch, Lives, Bernadotte Perrin (translator), Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. London. William Heinemann Ltd. (1914). ISBN 0-674-99053-6 perseus.tufts.edu.
- The Landmark Thucydides, Edited by Robert B. Strassler, Richard Crawley translation, Annotated, Indexed and Illustrated, A Touchstone Book, New York, NY, 1996 ISBN 0-684-82815-4
- Cochrane, Charles Norris, Thucydides and the Science of History, Oxford University Press (1929).
- Connor, W. Robert, Thucydides. Princeton: Princeton University Press (1984). ISBN 0-691-03569-5
- Dewald, Carolyn. Thucydides' War Narrative: A Structural Study. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0-520-24127-4).
- Finley, John Huston, Jr., Thucydides, Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 1947.
- Forde, Steven, The ambition to rule : Alcibiades and the politics of imperialism in Thucydides. Ithaca : Cornell University Press (1989). ISBN 0-8014-2138-1.
- Hanson, Victor Davis, A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War. New York: Random House (2005). ISBN 1-4000-6095-8.
- Hornblower, Simon, A Commentary on Thucydides. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon (1991–1996). ISBN 0-19-815099-7 (vol. 1), ISBN 0-19-927625-0 (vol. 2).
- Hornblower, Simon, Thucydides. London: Duckworth (1987). ISBN 0-7156-2156-4.
- Kagan, Donald. (1974). The Archidamian War. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-801-40889-XOCLC 1129967
- Kagan, Donald. (2003). The Peloponnesian War. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 0-670-03211-5.
- Luce, T.J., The Greek Historians. London: Routledge (1997). ISBN 0-415-10593-5.
- Luginbill, R.D., Thucydides on War and National Character. Boulder: Westview (1999). ISBN 0-8133-3644-9.
- Momigliano, Arnaldo, The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography. Sather Classical Lectures, 54 Berkeley: University of California Press (1990).
- Meyer, Eduard, Kleine Schriften (1910), (Zur Theorie und Methodik der Geschichte).
- Orwin, Clifford, The Humanity of Thucydides. Princeton: Princeton University Press (1994). ISBN 0-691-03449-4.
- Podoksik, Efraim. "Justice, Power, and Athenian Imperialism: An Ideological Moment in Thucydides’ History", History of Political Thought. 26(1): 21–42, 2005.
- Romilly, Jacqueline de, Thucydides and Athenian Imperialism. Oxford: Basil Blackwell (1963). ISBN 0-88143-072-2.
- Rood, Tim, Thucydides: Narrative and Explanation. Oxford: Oxford University Press (1998). ISBN 0-19-927585-8.
- Russett, Bruce (1993). Grasping the Democratic Peace. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-03346-3.
- de Sainte Croix. The origins of the Peloponnesian War (1972). London: Duckworth. 1972. pp. xii, 444.
- Strassler, Robert B, ed. The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War. New York: Free Press (1996). ISBN 0-684-82815-4.
- Strauss, Leo, The City and Man Chicago: Rand McNally, 1964.
- Zagorin, Perez. Thucydides: an Introduction for the Common Reader. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press (2005). ISBN 069113880XOCLC 57010364