Monday, July 19, 2010

The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War
The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War

by Thucydides

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
- Thucydides

This is the first history in the modern sense (apologies to Herodotus who invented the genre). Thucydides, and Athenian general, wrote this history of the Peloponnesian Wars; admirable in its objectivity in discussing contemporary events, in its direct and descriptive style, and the author's grasp of cause and effect. It covers the history of the Hellenic race and ends, unfinished, in 411 B.C., seven years before the wars ended. The best-known passages are those relating Pericles' Funeral Oration, the plague at Athens, and the Sicilian expedition. The detailed reporting and acute political analysis vindicate Thucydides claim that the work is a "possession for all time." In fact, the parallels with modern international political history abound making this one classic relevant for our own day.

This edition of the classic is particularly useful as edited by Robert B. Strassler, with a fine introduction by the classical scholar Victor Davis Hanson, and voluminous maps, notes, appendices; and a glossary and index. It uses the Crawley translation which some consider on a par with the more recent translation by David Greene.

The Landmark Thucydides, Robert Strassler, ed. The Free Press, New York. 1996.

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