`War is a harsh teache' wrote Thucydides in the fifth-century BC. Rood analyses the techniques through which Thucydides' narrative explains the origin and course of the Peloponnesian War and exposes harsh truths about how individuals and states behave. Rood concentrates on how the use of techniques, such as selectivity, interaction of speech and narrative, and manipulation of time and perspective, points at one level to general human constraints, at another to the self-destructiveness of Athens' imperial power. The book explores some techniques that have received little attention and offers new ways of reading others; it gives new insight into Thucydides' sophistication and the way he relates to his predecessors. It is also important for its attempts to refute views that Thucydides' History is made up of different compositional strata or inspired by pro-Athenian bias. And it addresses directly the way modern historians use Thucydides, contributes to the contemporary debate over narrative history, and shows the value of applying some of the concepts of recent narrative theory to historical texts.
As a sustained analysis of the connections between narrative structure and meaning in the History of the Peloponnesian War, Carolyn Dewald's study revolves around a curious aspect of Thucydides' work: the first ten years of the war's history are formed on principles quite different from those shaping the years that follow. Although aspects of this change in style have been recognized in previous scholarship, Dewald has rigorously analyzed how its various elements are structured, used, and related to each other. Her study argues that these changes in style and organization reflect how Thucydides' own understanding of the war changed over time. Throughout, however, the History's narrative structure bears witness to Thucydides' dialogic efforts to depict the complexities of rational choice and behavior on the part of the war's combatants, as well as his own authorial interest in accuracy of representation. In her introduction and conclusion, Dewald explores some ways in which details of style and narrative structure are central to the larger theoretical issue of history's ability to meaningfully represent the past. She also surveys changes in historiography in the past quarter-century and considers how Thucydidean scholarship has reflected and responded to larger cultural trends.
In the nine chapters of this book the function of the Historical Present in Thucydides is investigated. By its rich and detailed analyses this collective volume provides important new insights into Thucydides’ narrative technique.
For all of the recent debates over the methods and theoretical underpinnings of the historical profession, scholars and laypeople alike still frequently think of history in terms of storytelling. Accordingly, historians and theorists have devoted much attention to how historical narratives work, illuminating the ways they can bind together events, shape an argument and lend support to ideology. From ancient Greece to modern-day bestsellers, the studies gathered here offer a wide-ranging analysis of the textual strategies used by historians. They show how in spite of the pursuit of truth and objectivity, the ways in which historians tell their stories are inevitably conditioned by their discursive contexts.
Divided into four sections-History, Historiography, Political Theory, and Context and Reception-The Oxford Handbook of Thucydides provides a comprehensive introduction to Thucydides' ideas and their ancient influence. It bridges traditionally divided disciplines, and offers both solid explanation and innovative approaches.
This ebook is a selective guide designed to help scholars and students of the ancient world find reliable sources of information by directing them to the best available scholarly materials in whatever form or format they appear from books, chapters, and journal articles to online archives, electronic data sets, and blogs. Written by a leading international authority on the subject, the ebook provides bibliographic information supported by direct recommendations about which sources to consult and editorial commentary to make it clear how the cited sources are interrelated. A reader will discover, for instance, the most reliable introductions and overviews to the topic, and the most important publications on various areas of scholarly interest within this topic. In classics, as in other disciplines, researchers at all levels are drowning in potentially useful scholarly information, and this guide has been created as a tool for cutting through that material to find the exact source you need. This ebook is just one of many articles from Oxford Bibliographies Online: Classics, a continuously updated and growing online resource designed to provide authoritative guidance through the scholarship and other materials relevant to the study of classics. Oxford Bibliographies Online covers most subject disciplines within the social science and humanities, for more information visit www.aboutobo.com.
Author: Professor of Classics and Ancient History Simon Hornblower
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
Simon Hornblower demonstrates a thematic and literary kinship between Thucydides, one of the greatest of the ancient Greek historians, and Pindar, one of the greatest Greek poets who specialized in celebratory odes for victors in the Olympic Games.
Few works can claim to form the foundation stones of one entire academic discipline, let alone two, but Thucydides's celebrated History of the Peloponnesian War is not only one of the first great works of history, but also the departure point from which the modern discipline of international relations has been built. This is the case largely because the author is a master of analysis; setting out with the aim of giving a clear, well-reasoned account of one of the seminal events of the age – a war that resulted in the collapse of Athenian power and the rise of Sparta – Thucydides took care to build a single, beautifully-structured argument that was faithful to chronology and took remarkably few liberties with the source materials. He avoided the sort of assumptions that make earlier works frustrating for modern scholars, for example seeking reasons for outcomes that were rooted in human actions and agency, not in the will of the gods. And he was careful to explain where he had obtained much of his information. As a work of structure – and as a work of reasoning – The History of the Peloponnesian War continues to inspire, be read and be taught more than 2,000 years after it was written.
John T. Hogan’s The Tragedy of the Athenian Ideal in Thucydides and Plato assesses the roles of Pericles, Alcibiades, and Nicias in Athens’ defeat in Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War. Comparing Thucydides’ presentation of political leadership with ideas in Plato’s Statesman as well as Laches, Charmides, Meno, Symposium, Republic, Phaedo, Sophist, and Laws, it concludes that Plato and Thucydides reveal Pericles as lacking the political discipline (sophrosune) to plan a successful war against Sparta. Hogan argues that in his presentation of the collapse in the Corcyraean revolution of moral standards in political discourse, Thucydides shows how revolution destroys the morality implied in basic personal and political language. This reveals a general collapse in underlying prudential measurements needed for sound moral judgment. Furthermore, Hogan argues that the Statesman’s outline of the political leader serves as a paradigm for understanding the weaknesses of Pericles, Alcibiades, and Nicias in terms that parallel Thucydides’ direct and implied conclusions, which in Pericles’ case he highlights with dramatic irony. Hogan shows that Pericles failed both to develop a sufficiently robust practice of Athenian democratic rule and to set up a viable system for succession.
The emergence of Thucydides as an influential political thinker in the first half of the 20th century has been astonishingly neglected by modern scholars. This volume examines how, why, and when the Athenian historical came to occupy such a prominent position in political discourse in the US and Europe today. It argues that in the years before, during, and after the Great War Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War was mined for the insights that it could offer into contemporary politics, and that it was also used as part of the justification for the academic and cultural relevance of Classics at this time of great political upheaval. Academic classicists and classically trained commentators were instrumental in this 'turn' in academic focus onto Thucydides' contemporary relevance. Among the former were several prominent figures, such as Francis Cornford, Gilbert Murray, and Enoch Powell, who attempted to find in Thucydides a dark depiction of human nature and the passions that drove politics to justify his contemporary relevance. The latter included International Relations scholars and journalists such as Alfred Zimmern, Albert Toynbee, and George Abbott, who 'turned' to Thucydides in order to better understand contemporary global and European politics. A final chapter demonstrates how this British 'turn' to Thucydides was received and reinterpreted in America on the eve of the Second World War.
From the early modern period, Greek historiography has been studied in the context of Cicero's notion historia magistra vitae and considered to exclude conceptions of the future as different from the present and past. Comparisons with the Roman, Judeo-Christian and modern historiography have sought to justify this perspective by drawing on a category of the future as a temporal mode that breaks with the present. In this volume, distinguished classicists and historians challenge this contention by raising the question of what the future was and meant in antiquity by offering fresh considerations of prognostic and anticipatory voices in Greek historiography from Herodotus to Appian and by tracing the roots of established views on historical time in the opposition between antiquity and modernity. They look both at contemporary scholarly argument and the writings of Greek historians in order to explore the relation of time, especially the future, to an idea of the historical that is formulated in the plural and is always in motion. By reflecting on the prognostic of historical time the volume will be of interest not only to classical scholars, but to all who are interested in the history and theory of historical time.