The History of the Peloponnesian War
, by Thucydides
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A monumental work unsurpassed for its brilliant description, accuracy, and penetrating insights, Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War is a spectacular eyewitness report of the war between Greece’s two most powerful city-states, Athens and Sparta, as it unfolded during the fifth century B.C.
The first recorded political and moral analysis of a nation’s war policies, the History is a tragic story of virtue, ambition, and failed deterrence. All aspects of the conflictfrom the battlefield strategies and the political landscape to the peoples’ thoughts and feelings as the long war dragged onare presented in startlingly vivid detail.
From the treachery of Alcibiades and the disastrous invasion of Sicily to the plague that devastated Athens and Pericles’ famous funeral oration, Thucydides has written more than a mere account of war. His History is nothing less than a classic Greek drama about the rise and fall of Athens. More than two thousand years have passed since the History was written, but its impact on modern politics, military strategy, and foreign relations has been timeless.
Donald Lateiner teaches Greek, Latin, Ancient History and Comparative Folklore in the Humanities-Classics department at Ohio Wesleyan University. His scholarship focuses on Homer and Herodotus, and he has published a book on each. He also researches nonverbal behaviors in ancient literature.