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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An alternative view from Herodotus of 'history'
Thucydides follows self-consciously on from Herodotus as a 'historian' but takes a very different tack. Partly this is due to their place in history: Herodotus was the product of a triumphant Athens leading the mediterannean world after shockingly defeating the huge Persian invasion of Greece, while Thucydides lives through the decline of Athens from her high point under...
Published on 26 July 2006 by Roman Clodia

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loebs have pros and cons. 3 stars if your are poor, 4 if you are rich.
Loebs are bilingual - on the left-hand page you get Greek in the green volumes and Latin in the red, and on the right-hand page an English translation, varying from modern (e.g. Henderson's Aristophanes) to awful old tripe written by some minor Edwardian scholar in imitation of a 17th century metaphysical poet (actually I've only just realised some of them are or were...
Published on 6 Dec. 2010 by Fuficius Fango


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loebs have pros and cons. 3 stars if your are poor, 4 if you are rich., 6 Dec. 2010
Loebs are bilingual - on the left-hand page you get Greek in the green volumes and Latin in the red, and on the right-hand page an English translation, varying from modern (e.g. Henderson's Aristophanes) to awful old tripe written by some minor Edwardian scholar in imitation of a 17th century metaphysical poet (actually I've only just realised some of them are or were actual 17th century translations, but I'm getting perverse pleasure from reading Thornley's Longus). 10 years ago they were supposedly in the process of renewing every edition, but they've got a long way to go, not that a revision of their Thucydides should be high priority.

On the plus side, if you are learning the language and need to refer to the translation constantly, then Loebs are incredibly convenient, especially for commuters (assuming the translation is a usable one, and C. F. Smith's translation of Thucydides is perfectly adequate). If the text you are interested in comes in one volume, then Loebs are excellent value for money, especially as they are all hardbacks with sewn spines.

On the minus side, this Greek text of Thucydides is a little bit inferior to Enoch Powell's revised Oxford Classical Text (Loeb texts have been error-prone, e.g. Goold's Catullus, but their reputation for good texts is growing all the time), the punctuation is a little excessive and once even in the wrong place. Also Thucydides' books 1 to 4 (one OCT volume) form a single narrative which is best left intact (not to mention the Sicilian Expedition in books 6 and 7), whereas Loeb split the eight books up into four volumes. As I've said, individually Loebs are very good value for money, but four volumes are very expensive indeed.

If you have no Greek, you should buy something like the Penguin edition, although Rex Warner's translation is inferior to Smith's, or perhaps the Oxford World Classics edition is better (I've just noticed Amazon claim the translator of the Loeb is Benjamin Jowett - they are wrong. OWC is Benjamin Jowett, and they are planning a revision of him by Simon Hornblower). If you have Greek and you don't need the Loebs' convenience, then the two OCT volumes (second-hand) plus Perseus for a crib represent better value for money, better Greek text and better narrative continuity.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An alternative view from Herodotus of 'history', 26 July 2006
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Thucydides follows self-consciously on from Herodotus as a 'historian' but takes a very different tack. Partly this is due to their place in history: Herodotus was the product of a triumphant Athens leading the mediterannean world after shockingly defeating the huge Persian invasion of Greece, while Thucydides lives through the decline of Athens from her high point under Pericles through to her final defeat under Sparta. A critic of Athenian democracy and the rise of the demagogues, Thucydides is also a participant in the 37 years long war, as strategos (General) who was defeated at Amphipolis and exiled from Athens. What is amazing is his ability to stay detached and analytical, despite his personal involvement in events.
This is a heart-breaking story of the decline of a great city-state through her own folly, and a good antidote to all the people who still claim classical Athens as the high point of civilisation - yes, there was a lot that was great, but Athens was also guilty of horrendous massacres, putting whole islands of fellow Greeks to death or to be sold into slavery.
A wonderful 'must read' for anyone interested in ancient history, politics, democracy, war, and human nature - and it also includes a portrait of the maverick, brilliant and ruthless Alcibiades and shows him to be a product of his times.
Unmissable.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot recommend this book too highly, 11 Jun. 2006
By 
Marshall Lord (Whitehaven, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Who should read this book ?

* Anyone who wants to understand how free societies can descend into tyranny:

* Anyone who does not realise that merely holding free elections is not enough to preserve a society worth living in, especially if you don't combine democracy with the rule of law:

* Anyone who needs to understand how two or more nations can stumble into a war devastating to both:

* Anyone who imagines that genocide and ethnic cleansing were limited to our own era:

* Anyone interested in reading one of the first works of true history ever written.

In other words this history of a terrible war nearly two and half thousand years ago is as relevant in the first decade of the third millenium as it was when it was written, four centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ.

If I had to nominate one historical work for my son and daughter to read, I would think carefully between this volume, Suetonius's "The 12 Caesars", and Herodotus's "Histories", but Thucydides "History of the Peloponnesian war" would edge it.

The Wordsworth Classics version includes an introduction by Lorna Hardwick which I found most helpful in understanding the importance of Thucydides and the context in which his writing needs to be understood.

You cannot take every word in this book for granted, but Herodotus and Thucydides came closer to an objective search for truth than any writer whose works survive and was writing before them or for centuries afterwards.

The story of the tragic wars, initially between Athens and Sparta, which decimated Greek civilisation between 431BC and 404 BC is absolutely gripping, and Thucydides brings the story to life for me.

This translation by Richard Crawley was written more than 130 years ago, and slightly revised by R.C. Feetham in 1903. Despite being more than a century old, I found the translation to be accessible and easy to understand. I understand from those who know more about history than I do that Crawley's translation is now preferred by current experts to the rival Victorian translation by Benjamin Jowett which provides more of a general sense of Thucydides' writing but is less good at conveying the detail.

The most irritating thing about Thucydides book is that it stops suddently in the middle of a sentence in 411 BC, shortly after the overthrow of democracy in Athens and the Athenian naval victory at the Dardanelles. E.g. well before the actual resolution of the conflict between Athens and Sparta, let alone the subsequent struggle between both cities and Thebes.

If, like me, this leaves you wanting to learn more about what happened next, your best bet is to read Xenophon's "A history of my times" which was deliberately written to follow on from Thucydides, to such an extent that it actually starts with the words "And after this."

The reputation of Xenophon among historians as a reliable source has fallen dramatically over the past few decades, and he is undoubtedly not in the same class as Thucydides as a historian, but he certainly is in the same class as a storyteller and he does complete the story of the war.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably The Best History Book You'll Ever Read, 24 Aug. 2010
This review is from: History of the Peloponnesian War (Paperback)
If you did not heed it before heed it now. If there is only one history book you ever read, make it this one. Should you read it because the author was a general in the war and writes about military manoeuvres, tactics and strategy with blindingly vivid detail? Or should you read it because the pace makes your heart skip? Perhaps you should read it because the real events recounted ask difficult philosophical questions like what is fair and what is just? What is democracy and freedom and do they go together like roquefort and crackers? What is or should be the rule of law between people and between states? Then maybe you should read this book because it contains the best speeches for and against war you are ever likely to read. Certainly for all of the above, read dammit. Moreso, according to taste, you will marvel or shudder at how societies (i.e. like ours) are quite easily deceived by their own conceit, wealth and power into making war and not peace; at how smart, cunning, malevolent and ambitious people can turn situations on their heads and at one time bring a nation glory (and themselves much wealth and power) and at another time lead their nations to crushing humiliation; at how human nature reverts quickly to barbarism during revolutions and times of panic or in the euphoria that comes with conquest. Above all you may learn as I did that if "good" people don't put their fortune and often their life on the line, evil will prevail. Heavy stuff this life business.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Translation, 29 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: History of the Peloponnesian War (Paperback)
One of the better translations of Thucydides- maintains the rich language of the original- despite being written in the 19th century. It is a difficult text to read anyway but Crowley makes it enjoyable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quite fascinating but need time to trudge through, 5 May 2015
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I once was in the U.S. Army. As part of our job we were always encouraged to study history to see how people thought and wars were executed. No war is ever the same so what we are reading to learn is the why. There is also how people responded to different tactics and strategies.

I found this easy to read as the translation made it appear like we were reading today's news. Not just the actins but the politics of the time. There are great descriptions of the time and place. The only thing that is missing is visual maps to put the places in perspective. Luckily you can get maps of the time off the net as a supplement.

I have a paperback edition which is easily navigated and you can place sticky notes in. I also have a kindle version which you can put book marks in. the problem with the kindle is the text-to-speech has a horrible time translating place and people names. The advantage of the kindle is it moves you forward so you do not doddle. I am contemplating a hard copy for the library and reverence.

There is enough detail that it may require a second reading after you have digested the first. I am also looking for some good books to tell me what I would have noticed in this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Classic of Classics, 14 Dec. 2013
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Not much needs to be said about this book as I am sure much better reviews than this are here but this is a must have book for anyone interested in ancient war
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoying it and will post up a better review upon completion, 20 Nov. 2014
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Have only just started on it as I've a large amount of books on the go as usual. Enjoying it and will post up a better review upon completion.
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History of the Peloponnesian War
History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides (Paperback - 26 Nov. 2004)
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