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The History of the Peloponnesian War

Thucydides

Book Overview: 

The History of the Peloponnesian War is an account of the Peloponnesian War in Ancient Greece, fought between the Peloponnesian League (led by Sparta) and the Delian League (led by Athens) in the 5th Century BC. It was written by Thucydides, an Athenian general who served in the war. It is widely considered a classic and regarded as one of the earliest scholarly works of history. The History is divided into eight books. These book divisions are the work of editors in later antiquity.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .e; while the mother country has been furnished by us with everything that can enable her to depend on her own resources whether for war or for peace. That part of our history which tells of the military achievements which gave us our several possessions, or of the ready valour with which either we or our fathers stemmed the tide of Hellenic or foreign aggression, is a theme too familiar to my hearers for me to dilate on, and I shall therefore pass it by. But what was the road by which we reached our position, what the form of government under which our greatness grew, what the national habits out of which it sprang; these are questions which I may try to solve before I proceed to my panegyric upon these men; since I think this to be a subject upon which on the present occasion a speaker may properly dwell, and to which the whole assemblage, whether citizens or foreigners, may listen with advantage.

"Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighbouring states. . . Read More

Community Reviews

What I love about the best ancient Greek literature is how startlingly modern it could be. This is particularly true of Euripides (whom I regard as a 21st century dramatist) and The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides. The accounts of the Corcycran revolution, the so-called Melian Dial...more

3.5 stars

Finally I could finish reading this book after many intervals of being content with what I knew, I didn’t claim I enjoyed all of eight-book Thucydides’s account. Compared to the other history classic of similar stature, Herodotus’s “The Histories” translated by Aubrey de Selincourt, I th...more

It has been said that Earthling civilization, so far, has created ten thousand wars, but only three intelligent commentaries on war—the commentaries of Thucydides, of Julius Caesar and of Winston Niles Rutherfoord.
—Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
Some years ago, I waded through the Barnes &a...more

If you are going to read Thucydides, the Landmark version is the best place to start. I read this after I became a fan of Strassler's The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories. For me, there is not much better than Thucydides' speeches. "The Funeral Oration of Pericles", "Diodotus to the Athenian Ecc...more

Courage in the face of reality ultimately distinguishes such natures as Thucydides and Plato: Plato is a coward in the face of reality--consequently he flees into the ideal; Thucydides has himself under control--consequently he retains control over things. ------Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols

If you ever wanted to tackle Thucydides, this is the way to do it. It's beautifully laid out, with helpful maps and other material. The reading experience is profoundly moving, not really for the style but for the sheer weight of human folly on display. This should be required reading for politic...more

This book is impossible to review but I still wanted to give my opinion on this as I try to do with every outstanding book I come across. I mean impossible because this book is the cornerstone for different disciplines, mainly History and International Relations. This is no surprise as Thucydides...more

Probably 4.5 stars due to Thucydides dry narrative but an awesome read. Political stupidity has not changed.

Συγνώμη για ότι γράφω αλλά... Υπάρχουν δύο μεταφράσεις στα νέα ελληνικά που αγγίζουν το τέλειο στην απόδοση του πνεύματος, της ιδέας και της μορφής της πολιτικής ιστορίας του Πελοποννησιακού πολέμου όπως την απεικονίζει ο Θουκυδίδης.
Η μία είναι η μετάφραση του Ελευθερίου Βενιζέλου, έργο που εξυψ...more

I first read Thucydides in college, using Rex Warner's translation in the Penguin edition. As a frosh with little background in ancient history and political science, I didn't have the proper perspective to realize Th.'s critical place in western historiography and political thought. As a junior,...more

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