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The History Of The Peloponnesian War Paperback – 15 Feb 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (15 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1438284411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438284415
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.9 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,877,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Thucydides (c. 460 BC400 BC) was a general who was exiled for his failure to defend the Greek city of Amphipolis in Thrace. During his exile, he began compiling histories and accounts of the war from various participants.Rex Warner was a Professor of the University of Connecticut from 1964 until his retirement in He was born in 1905 and went to Wadham College, Oxford, where he gained a first in Classical Moderations, and took a degree in English Literature. He taught in Egypt and England, and was Director of the British Institute, Athens, from 1945 to 1947. He has written poems, novels and critical essays, has worked on films and broadcasting, and has translated many works, of which Xenophon s History of My Time and The Persian Expedition, Thucydides The Peloponnesian War, and Plutarch s Lives (under the title Fall of the Roman Republic) and Moral Essays have been published in Penguin Classics.M. I. Finley was a professor of ancient history and master of Darwin College, Cambridge. He died in 1986. M. I. Finley was a professor of ancient history and master of Darwin College, Cambridge. He died in 1986. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: 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.
Unmissable.
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Format: Hardcover
Note: this Loeb is not translated by Benjamin Jowett, it is translated by C. F. Smith.

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 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 (although I remember when they were about £7 each new).

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 text 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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For anyone who wonders how an unfinished manuscript from the 4th century BC became one of the seminal works of military history, influencing people from Machiavelli, all the way to analysts of our present day, one only has to indulge in Thucydides highly readable, and extremely eventful narrative.
The first book explains the treaty system that preceded the outbreak of hostilities, describing a diplomatic process between Corinth, Athens, Lacedaemon and other city states within the Greece of its day, henceforth referred to as Hellas.
Early on Thucydides posits the cause of the war as the growth of the power of Athens, and from the ensuing pages, it becomes clear that many states joined the anit-Athenian alliance more out of fear of subjugation, rather than pursuit of particular grievances. Corinth had a particular grievance against Athens, namely that they fought against them with the Corcyraeans at the time of the original treaty. As Thucydides states, "the love of gain would reconcile the weaker to the dominion of the stronger, and the possession of capital enabled the more powerful to reduce the smaller towns to subjection."
Much detail is given to the deliberations and consideration of war, such as manpower, naval power, and logistical control of sea and land. One can evince from this 2,400 year old text that rational considerations of real politik played just as an important part in war and peace back then as they do today.
The Peloponnesian war, we learn, was often beset with a variety of natural disasters, such as a wide outbreak of disease, earthquakes, and the eruption of Mount Etna.
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