29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
An alternative view from Herodotus of 'history',
This review is from: History of the Peloponnesian War (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
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.