The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides

The History of the Peloponnesian War

By Thucydides

  • Release Date: 2017-06-13
  • Genre: Antike
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This edition of Thucylides epic chronicle, The History of the Peloponnesian War, contains all eight books in the authoritative English translation of Richard Crawley.
Thucylides himself was an Athenian general who personally bore witness to the various skirmishes of the war. Ordering all of the events chronologically - a first for any work of history - he offers a straightforward account of the conflict, straying little to personal opinions or permitting his history to be influenced by the prevailing politics of the era. For this, Thucylides' is lauded for his methodical telling of each battle, which offers the reader unequaled insight into Greek and Spartan military tactics and cultures. 
Throughout the history, we are given transcripts of various speeches. Although the inclusion of such lengthy quotations of sources is unheard of in modern history books, the presence of lengthy oratory in Thucylides' history is considered to be a cultural trait: speech and rhetoric were prized in Greece as the prime means of transferring knowledge. To this end we may read the words of Greek and Spartan generals, and the goings in within the political factions of the time. 
Notably, Thucylides' account of the Peloponnesian War has no mention of the Greek Gods or their pantheon. Thucylides was of the personal opinion that history was the cause of people, their choices and their actions and was under no influence by the divine. However, as was custom for scholars in Ancient Greece, the works of Homer are referenced in support of a given point. Yet Thucylides places qualification upon his citations of Homer; variously noting that respective points are only true assuming Homer's writings themselves are trusted. 
With his circumspect caution, Thucylides demonstrates his nature as a historian; mythology, while of some credence, must not be drawn upon unquestionably. The principle of established facts derived from sources is amply expressed in The History of the Peloponnesian War, which is unflinching in its detail of battles, technology, and the characters of the principle leaders. It is also notable for framing the Malian Gulf tsunami of 426 BC in overtly scientific terms. 
In the modern day, scholarly analysis is divided between those who consider Thucylides' masterwork a pure example of a precise, clinical history and those who think it both historical and literary in nature for its telling of the war.