Written by one of the fathers of Western history, Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War is a landmark literary and scholarly achievement documenting the pivot point in the golden age of Athenian democracy. The conflict, fought between the Athenian-led Delian League and the Spartan-led Peloponnesian League, signaled the end of Athenian dominance in Greece at the close of the fifth century BC. A devastating plague (that Thucydides himself survived) hastened this end, especially after, in 429 BC, it claimed the life of Pericles—the man Thucydides called “first citizen of Athens.” Thucydides created one of the West’s first scholarly histories by examining and recording the slow defeat of the nation he once fought for.
Though he was a contemporary of Socrates, Sophocles, Aristophanes, and Herodotus, Thucydides style was drastically different, and his writing set the tone for historiographical work for centuries to come. His methods are characterized by a strict adherence to chronology, a diminutive role for the divine pantheon, an objective account of events, and a literal writing style that stands in stark contrast to the poetic Greek tradition. Thucydides’ accounts of classical Greek belligerence—emphasizing the strength found in utilitarian ideals and a coldly rational state with a strong leader—foreshadow the political theory of realists such as Thomas Hobbes and the similarly outcast Niccolò Machiavelli. Offering unparalleled detail, Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War provides a glimpse into the ancient world— it’s a literary and scholarly gem that students, scholars, historians, and classicists will value and enjoy.
This collection contains the complete texts in their Loeb Classical Library editions. Each volume is included in its original Greek, with an English translation for easy side-by-side comparison. Logos’ language tools help you to go deeper into the Greek text and explore Thucydides’ challenging language. Use the dictionary lookup tool to examine difficult Greek words and find every appearance of the same word in your library. There’s never been a better way for students of history, culture, and literature to absorb these works.
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Thucydides (460–395 BC) was a Greek historian and Athenian general, who was exiled after his failure to save the city of Amphipolis near the beginning of the Peloponnesian war. He used his status as an exile to move freely among Spartan allies during the way, giving him perspective from both sides. He returned to Athens only after its fall in 404 BC, having lived in exile for 20 years.