Jim's Reviews > The History of the Peloponnesian War

The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
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Mar 11, 10

Read from March 03 to 11, 2010

What I love about the best ancient Greek literature is how startlingly modern it could be. This is particularly true of Euripides (whom I regard as a 21st century dramatist) and The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides. The accounts of the Corcycran revolution, the so-called Melian Dialogue (in which Athens shows itself to be somewhat less enlightened than reputed), and the utter disaster of the Sicilian Expedition can just as easily be taking place now in remote parts of the world.

The Peloponnesian War even had its own Neocon in Alcibiades. He was largely responsible for Athens undertaking the Sicilian Expedition, only to be called back by the Athenian leadership for sacrilege. Thereupon, he made his escape at Thurii, went over to the Spartans, where he gave them excellent advice in combating the Athenians. Then, when the Spartans began to suspect him, he went over to Tissaphernes, the Persian Governor of Asia Minor. (Later still, he returned to Athens.)

I recommend the Rex Warner translation but urge readers to have a copy of The Landmark Thucydides at hand for its numerous and excellent maps, if not for its somewhat archaic translation by Richard Crawley.
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