Thucydides: An Introduction for the Common Reader by Perez Zagorin

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By Perez Zagorin

This booklet is a concise, readable creation to the Greek writer Thucydides, who's generally considered as one of many finest historians of all time.

Why does Thucydides proceed to subject at the present time? Perez Zagorin solutions this query through studying Thucydides' landmark History of the Peloponnesian War, one of many nice classics of Western civilization. This heritage, Zagorin explains, is much greater than an insignificant chronicle of the clash among Athens and Sparta, the 2 superpowers of Greece within the 5th century BCE. it's also a amazing tale of politics, decision-making, the makes use of of energy, and the human and communal adventure of warfare. Zagorin continues that the paintings is still of everlasting curiosity as a result of the extraordinary mind that Thucydides delivered to the writing of historical past, and to the originality, penetration, and the breadth and depth of imaginative and prescient that tell his narrative.

The first half Zagorin's booklet discusses the highbrow and old history to Thucydides' paintings and its procedure, constitution, and consider of the explanations of the warfare. the next chapters care for Thucydides' portrayal of the Athenian chief Pericles and his account of a few of the most episodes of the conflict, akin to the revolution in Corcyra and the Athenian invasion of Sicily. The booklet concludes with an insightful dialogue of Thucydides as a philosopher and philosophic historian.

Designed to introduce either scholars and basic readers to a piece that's an important a part of a liberal schooling, this ebook seeks to inspire readers to discover Thucydides--one of the world's maximum historians--for themselves.

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20). Thucydides’ exceptional 18 THE HISTORY AND ITS BACKGROUND intellectuality, the use he made of the speeches in his history, and the penetrating political analyses they contain, have no parallel in the work of the older historian. 16 Unlike Herodotus, he doesn’t take pleasure in telling good stories, but relates the incidents of the years of war in ways that are often deeply moving. 17 The originality of Thucydides’ work is connected with the extraordinary ferment of thought and the varied intellectual influences to which he was exposed in his formative years in Athens.

He began to write when they first took up arms, believing that it would be great and memorable above any previous war. For he argued that both states were then at the full height of their military power, and he saw the rest of the Hellenes either siding or intending to side with one or the other of them. No movement ever stirred Hellas more deeply than this; it was shared by many of the Barbarians, and might be said even to affect the world at large. The character of the events which preceded, whether immediately or in more remote antiquity, owing to the lapse of time cannot be made out with certainty.

They would be likely to say that it is impossible due to the fact that the evidence necessary for such an undertaking would be very insufficient if not mostly unavailable. That is why worthy contemporary histories of the First or Second World Wars of the twentieth century, for example, could not have been written while they were in progress. Although journalists might have tried to produce such accounts, these would have fallen well short of being adequate histories. Not until scholars had gained reasonably full access to the collections of sources and documents pertaining to the origins, course, conduct, and conclusion of these wars, and been able to make use of additional materials such as the private papers, memoirs, and biographies of the leading figures, politicians, military men, and others who played a role in affairs, would they have considered it possible to write the history of either of these wars.

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