- Reading level: 18+ years
- Paperback: 648 pages
- Publisher: Penguin; Reprint edition (31 December 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140440399
- ISBN-13: 978-0140440393
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.8 x 19.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,21,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
History Of The Peloponnesian War (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 30 Sep 1954
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Text: English, Greek (translation)
About the Author
Thucydides is known as the father of scientific research. He was a political philosopher and historian. He has been known to discover the School of Political Realism for his views on how nations should be run.
Rex Warner, a classicist and translator, was the author of The Aerodrome, which was later adapted into a BBC film in 1983. He has written numerous other novels, poems and nonfiction books along with his translations.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Thucidides has been labeled as the first scientific historian. His account is incredibly objective, even-handed , and non-partisan. He participated personally in the Peloponesian wars as a minor strategos (military leader or general) and was banished for not achieving what he was supposed to do. From that point on, he retired to his extensive family holdings in Tracia and gave all his time (presumably) to research the war and interview the witnesses. His account ends abruptly, probably due to his sudden death, and covers the first 21 years of the 27-year war. The best parts are the speeches of the leaders, generals and representatives of various countries or factions. Obviously, Thucidides had not been present on these occasions and considering the poor records available 2400 years ago, had no access to recordings or stenograms. Most are therefore hearsay, at best, or the authors conviction that what he related should have been said. Nevertheless, the speeches are a marvelous exmple of how human nature did not change one bit in more than two thousand years. The people we observe through Thusidides' words are intelligent, educated, ambitious, demagogues and true lovers of their countries, heroes and rogues, many times could be perceived by us as both good and bad, depending on circumstances. The squabling, cultured, even effeminate democratic Athenians prove to be exceedingly good at war and barely fail to subjugate the whole Peloponesian league led by the harsh warlike Spartans. For Thucidides, however, there are no moral judgements, only cold examination of circumstances. Even Alcybiades, a rare example of turncoat, double-dealer, demagogue and villain is not censured. Rather Thucidides raises his eyebrows questioningly at the naivete of the people who continued to believe and follow, nay even invite this man despite all the evidence available.
Only in one case, that of Cleon, Thucidides looses his admirable cool. Cleon, the cowardly demagogue and cheat who instigates a doomed military campaign and is forced to lead it by the more responsible Athenian general. Thucidides describes that campaign how Cleon hesitates, stumbles, always puts his worst foot forward, and then wins by an unbelivable fluke. His description of thea rguments presented by the Athenian envoys to the representatives of Melos precede Macchiavelli's "The Prince" by two thousand years. The Melians choose honor and love of their freedom. Their cause being right, they are consequently slaughtered and the women and children sold into slavery.
Do not omit his moving description of the Athenian plague. It is a rare gem!
And by all means, do read it!