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It’s Still All Greek to Us: on the Timelessness of Thucydides

ISSUE:  Winter 1992

At the outset of his History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides declares that his work “is not a piece of writing designed to meet the taste of an immediate public, but was done to last for ever”.* This declaration makes us moderns wince. Our pain is less for the hubris shown by the Greek historian than for the lost illusions of our profession. Imagine an academic starting a work of history with such a proud, almost swaggering affirmation today: monographs are usually written for an audience of half a dozen specialists in the same field and to last long enough to qualify the author for tenure.

The historical profession, along with the rest of the humanities, has been bashed about a good deal recently. Some of the criticism has been sensationalist and unjust; much of it has been telling and on the mark. The future of the past is in doubt. A glib formula, perhaps, but one which is charged with truth. As a novice in the teaching of history, I have been forced to question not just Thucydides’ calm assurance on the everlastingness of his own work, but on the relevance of our profession tout court. My students have been bemused and irritated by his account of how and why the Athenians and Spartans came to blows. They have come away from the work, as they have from that of his immediate predecessor Herodotus, the chronicler of the Persian War, with the belief that the ancients have little to tell us. They shake their heads and tell one another with knowing smiles: “It’s still all Greek to us.”

Their indifference, if not antipathy, to the Greek historians is, I believe, symptomatic of our age. The relish with which Herodotus careens from myth to story to opinion, the assiduity with which Thucydides describes the ineluctable logic of imperialism and war, are products of a society which had world and time enough to listen. Just as the Greeks took politics too seriously to leave it to professional politicians, so, too, did they take time too seriously to be pressed for it. As usual, it is a question of perspective but one whose order we ought to reverse. Rather than trying to think our way back to 5th-century B.C. Athens, we ought to consider the plight of a typical Athenian trying to imagine his way forward to our time. Would he not be stunned by a democratic nation whose citizens are asked to consider issues of war and peace through the medium of sound bites and photo opportunities?

It is the sound bite, this emblem of fin-de-siècle politics in America, that underscores, in a paradoxical fashion, the justice of my students’ complaint. It still is all Greek to us, but not in the way the barb is intended. Athenian thinkers were the first to apprehend the close ties between language and reason, and how the debasement of one in the realm of politics ineluctably befouls the other. In fact, though reason and language are two distinct concepts for us, the Greeks had one word for both—logos. Thucydides, for one, was terribly aware of the ways in which language both reflects and acts upon man and the world—that language is, in a very real sense, the world. An increasing number of historians, most recently W. Robert Connor (whose interpretation lies at the heart of this essay), have cast light on this aspect to Thucydides’ work. More than 2,000 years before Karl Kraus and Hannah Arendt and George Orwell, this Athenian citizen revealed the knotted bonds between language and politics and the ways in which the violation of one recoils upon the other. If Thucydides has one great concern, it is to show that as the world goes, so the logos.


The dominant figure in the “Golden Age” of Athens was of course Pericles. As strategos (or general and political leader), he was the principal architect of both the city’s imperial expansion and strengthening of her democratic structures. In fact, from 461 B.C. until his death in 429 B.C., Pericles’ dominance in the Assembly was undisputed. We need only recall Thucydides’ estimate of this Athenian noble who had galvanized the energy of the popular classes: “In what was nominally a democracy, power was really in the hands of the first citizen.”

Yet the power exercised by this citizen, according to Thucydides, was generous and balanced and true. These qualities are manifest in the famous epitaphios logos, or funeral oration, given by Pericles soon after the start of the Peloponnesian War. It has been recently argued that the general practice of the funeral oration was a means by which Athenians “invented” Athens—in other words, created an Athens which cleaved less to reality than to certain ideals. According to the French historian of antiquity, Nicole Loraux, it is from the funeral oration, an institution unique to Athens, that “a certain idea that the city wishes to have of itself emerges; beyond the needs of the present there is a certain gap between Athens and Athens.” The question is a complex one, and one beyond the scope of this essay. That Athens did fall short of the picture sketched by Pericles is a certainty; we need only look at other passages of Thucydides to confirm this. Pericles’ portrayal—not to mention Thucydides’ “filtering” of this depiction—was idealized and biased, and “his” Athens is not exactly the “real” Athens of 431 B.C.

Yet the funeral oration was not meant to be a faithful depiction of the polis; the Athenians had no need for such analyses in time of war. Instead, it was designed to exhort and point to the ideals that all Athenians should strive for, sacrifice for, die for. What Pericles and Thucydides sought to achieve through the funeral oration is the glorification of not just the Athens of their day but of what Athens could become. Not just her present reality but her extraordinary potential. And, in this respect, the oration, no less than the subject, is unsurpassed. Though it is crafted from words and not marble, the oration rivals the Parthenon as one of the greatest monuments given to us by ancient Greece; it represents one of the “everlasting memorials of good” wrought by Athens to which Pericles refers in his speech. It also provides an ideal starting point for the study of language and reason; it can be argued that, for Thucydides, the oration represents the logos in its most pristine and desirable state. To appropriate a phrase from Heidegger (or perhaps misappropriate, since he was critical of the tradition of Western rationalism), the logos of Pericles stands “in the clearing of being.”

More prosaically, of course, the funeral oration identifies the characteristics of Athenian democracy—”the way of life which has made us great,” as Pericles frames it. Some of the traits of Athenian life are well known: its openness, its tolerance, its ideal of equality, its moderation and sense of balance. Yet Athens owes its greatness not only to these characteristics but also to the sheer energy that its democratic form of government has released. Pericles’ oration is a portrayal of a revolutionary state—revolutionary because, as the historian Steven Forde affirms, “it is based to an unprecedented extent upon the discovery of nature and the liberation of natural impulses as far as possible from traditional restraints. . . . The city discovers the impact of universal natural forces on international politics; it also discovers and liberates human nature within the city. . . . It is an experiment in “enlightenment,” dispelling many of the public illusions that are part of all ordinary politics.” It is this revolutionary experiment that Pericles justly thought should serve as an “education to Greece.”

Yet it may well be inherent to revolutionary movement— this, at least, is the fatalistic view of history that one occasionally glimpses in Thucydides’ thought—that the chain of events eventually surpasses the ability of even the most prescient and powerful of leaders. This logic of violence is first seen clearly in the Mytilenean revolt and debate. Situated at the start of Book Three, the debate is emblematic of the growing political and moral confusion in Athens, and represents, if only in heuristic terms, the first step away from the Periclean balance between language and politics. Very briefly, in 428 B.C. the polis of Mytilene sought to break away from its alliance with Athens. Though the city’s oligarchs had enlisted the help of the Spartans, Athens learned about the plans for the revolt and succeeded in blockading the city before the Spartan reinforcements could arrive. The blockade was a success, and Mytilene was forced to surrender. The Athenian assembly, incensed that one of their remaining two “autonomous” allies should have revolted, and frightened by the fact that a Peloponnesian fleet actually sailed into Ionian waters, voted that all adult male Mytileneans be put to death and the women and children be sold off into slavery. The following day, however, some Athenians expressed doubts over the enormity of the previous day’s decision, and a new debate was held to determine if the motion should be withdrawn.

This, then—fear, anger, and political confusion—is the backround to the debate between the opposing figures of Cleon and Diodotus. The composite portrait of Cleon, pieced together from the hostile accounts of Thucydides and Xenophon, as well as the caricature drawn by Aristophanes, is unrelievedly black: he is portrayed as a violent and boastful demagogue. As for Diodotus, we know next to nothing: his sole appearance on the stage of history takes place in this debate. Yet it is no mere cameo appearance. As we shall see, Diodotus embodies an element critical to the character of this debate—an event which casts light on the moral and political changes in post-Periclean Athens. We need to keep in mind Robert Connor’s point that the debate takes place not just on the level of immediate practical decision—in other words, whether or not to carry out the original decision against Mytilene—but that there is a second level, as well—that of the nature and legitimacy of political discourse. The life of the logos is no less at stake than the lives of the Mytilene population.

Irate over the hesitations and qualms of his fellow citizens, Cleon argues that Athens could change her decision only at her own peril. He declares that the “empire is a tyranny exercised over subjects who do not like it”; the only alternative to carrying out the decision “is to surrender the empire, so that you can afford to go in for philanthropy.” The only way to insure stability is by applying a harsh hand, even if it is in support of bad laws, for a “city is better off with bad laws, so long as they remain fixed, than with good laws that are constantly being altered.”

At the same time, he also questions the practicality or desirability of a democracy. As he thunders in his opening sentence: “Personally I have had occasion often enough already to observe that a democracy is incapable of governing others, and I am all the more convinced of this when I see how you are now changing your minds about the Mytilenians.” He then goes on to question the value of free and open discourse. In his own words, the Athenians “are simply victims of [their] own pleasure in listening, and are more like an audience sitting at the feet of a professional lecturer than a parliament discussing matters of state.” The impatience with debate, the advocacy of violence for the sake of consistency, the suspicion of ideas, and the repudiation of moderation all seen in Cleon’s speech thus make for a dark contrast with the values expressed in the Periclean discourse. (The parallels between Cleon’s reasoning and the neo-conservatism of the 1970’s are disquieting. The latter long sounded, for the very same reasons as Cleon, the death knell of democracies vis-à-vis authoritarian or totalitarian regimes. Their obituaries proved premature, of course—as may well their current euphoria over the West’s having won against the East the race of history).

The response of Diodotus is revealing. First, he defends the justness of reconsidering the motion—and thus indirectly reaffirms the legitimacy of open political discourse. He then addresses the issue of the motions’s immediate practicality. Recall that Diodotus had been placed on the defensive by Cleon, who warned the assembly against those who would try to pull a sophistic trick and show that “the harm done to us by Mytilene is really a good thing.” As a result, he must avoid any appeal to common decency and simple morality and instead frame his speech in the vocabulary of sheer self- and national interest.

And this he does, pretending to show a greater sense of realpolitik than Cleon. Diodotus argues that the question of right and wrong, either in moral or legal terms, is irrelevant to the issue at hand. Instead, the Assembly must consider if the motion would be to Athens’ advantage. Drawing upon contemporaneous sophistic reasoning concerning human nature, Diodotus insists upon the futility of any punitive action that the Athenians might take against the Mytileneans. He argues that “cities and individuals alike, all are by nature disposed to do wrong, and there is no law that will prevent it. . . . So long as poverty forces men to be bold, so long as the insolence and pride of wealth nourish their ambitions, and in the other accidents of life they are continually dominated by some incurable master passion or another, so long will their impulses continue to drive them into danger. . . . In a word, it is impossible for human nature, when once seriously set upon a certain course, to be prevented from following that course by the force of law or by any other means of intimidation whatever.”

We hear in Diodotus’ reasoning echos of the contemporary debate on capital punishment, particularly his observation that “in human societies the death penalty has been laid down for offences less serious than this one. Yet people still take risks when they feel sufficiently confident [and, one may add, sufficiently desperate].” But Diodotus’ solution is not based on a progressive and liberal belief in the ability to change man. Instead, he considers the springs of man’s behavior to be irrational and unchanging; the most Draconian of punishments would not only fail to dam future surges from this source, but might even provoke more dangerous floods. As Diodotus argues, if Cleon’s methods are adopted, “every city will not only make much more careful preparations for revolt, but will also hold out against siege to the very end, since to surrender early or late means the same thing.” So he concludes that it would be in Athens’ brute interest to show leniency to the Mytileneans, since that is the only way in which the good will of the masses could be maintained.

Diodotus succeeds in swaying the Assembly, and they send a second ship “in all haste” to overtake the first one which had been sent, in Thucydides’ words, on the “distasteful mission.” The men of the second ship row tirelessly, the winds are with them, and they arrive at the very moment that the commander of the first ship had just finished reading the decree and was about to put it into force. An ending worthy of Hollywood, if not Herodotus, no? All’s well that ends well, right? Wrong.

We earlier referred to the vulnerability of the logos — the dangers, in other words, which the changing political climate in Athens posed to reason and language. At first glance, the enemy of reasoned and reasonable language seems to be Cleon; the violence that Thucydides attributes to him bursts out in the nature of his speech. He represents, despite some superficial and misleading parallels, the antithesis of Pericles; and his speech, with its violence, harangues, immoderation, and intolerance, is the opposite of the Periclean model.

Yet does this entail that Diodotus’ speech falls into the Periclean mode? No: far from it. Recall Thucydides’ description of Pericles’ leadership: “it was he who led [the Athenians], rather than they who led him, and, since he never sought power from any wrong motive, he was under no necessity to flatter them: in fact he was so highly respected that he was able to speak angrily to them and to contradict them.” Clearly, this is not the case in the Mytilenean debate. This applies not just to the demagoguery of Cleon, but perhaps even more so to Diodotus. The very fashion in which he is forced to frame his response reflects the changes in Athenian politics and the distance which the polis has traveled in the three years since the death of Pericles (a victim of the plague which swept through Athens in 430).

The frankness and candor of the Athenians—qualities praised by Pericles in his funeral oration—are notably absent from Diodotus’ speech. The directness of political discourse, the transparency of language, and self-transparency of political leaders which, Thucydides suggests, marked the Periclean period have now been replaced by a language which is devious and cunning. The ends of Diodotus’ argument are just, but the means by which he is obliged to achieve them are cynical; in order to safeguard moral decency, he is reduced to using the language of self-interest and calculation. Rather than directly challenging the Assembly as Pericles would have done, Diodotus, undoubtedly aware of the metamorphosis which had taken place and the popular support of which Cleon could boast, rallies the demos to the Good by appealing to their base interests.

And so, Diodotus achieves what is just, but the means by which he does so are both a reflection and reinforcement of the debasement of political life and discourse in Athens. The paradox at the heart of his speech is disturbing: Diodotus is advocating a course we know to be morally right and just, but he is doing so in a language which rejects the validity of such categories. As he declares in his conclusion: “Do not be swayed too much by pity or by ordinary decent feelings. I, no more than Cleon, wish you to be influenced by such emotions.” This “disturbance”—which is both linguistic and moral—is compounded by Diodotus’ assertion concerning the nature of man: namely, that he will be what he will be, that he will do wrong when he wants to do wrong, regardless of laws and threats. That there is, in short, a remorseless working to the human will against which reason is powerless. Needless to say, this applies no less to the Athenians, who are about to embark on the expedition to Sicily, than to those they would pretend to punish.

Thus we come away from the Mytilenean episode with a feeling of discomfort. The lives of the Mytileneans have been saved, but only through deceit; the Athenians have been narrowly rescued from committing an act of moral treachery, but thanks only to rhetorical treachery on the part of Diodotus. Just as Teisias in Plato’s Phaedrus argues that one is occasionally obliged to lie in order to build a stronger case, Diodotus “lies” about the reasons why the Mytileneans have to be spared, and instead argues along the lines of practical advantage. Mytilene has been spared, but not morality; ethical justice has ceded to sheer self-interest; and Diodotus has accepted the Athenians as they are, not what they should be.

Though it is a bit too schematic, the Mytilenean debate may be said to represent the second stage in the transformation of political language. It marks the first step away from the realm of Periclean discourse—language which is built on a one-to-one correspondence between words and the things denoted by the words; it is an almost transparent language that treats men as if they are moral and virtuous beings. With Diodotus, we have slid to a new and more familiar kind of discourse—one which panders and deceives, albeit for good ends.


With Thucydides’ description of the civil war in Corcyra, the logos undergoes yet another change. The immediate historical background to the outbreak of stasis in Corcyra is here irrelevant; suffice it to say that the polis becomes the arena of factional strife—the factions being, as was usually the case, the “few”—i.e., the well-to-do merchants and oligarchs pitted against the “many”—the “commons,” or the demos. The conflict soon deepens and spreads through the city, with the results so graphically depicted by Thucydides. As he observed: “There was death in every shape and form. And, as usually happens in such situations, people went to every extreme and beyond it.” As he recounts, fathers were killing sons, some men were butchered on temple altars and yet others were walled up alive. In a few terse sentences notably free of adjectives and adverbs, Thucydides delivers a portrayal of the nightmare of civil war which can hardly be bettered.

As in the Mytilenean debate, Thucydides lays bare the effects that social and political decay have upon language. The collapse of political institutions and social conventions is reflected in the collapse of meaning; words which have traditionally denoted one thing have now come to mean things terribly different. Thucydides goes right to the heart of the matter: “To fit in with the change of events, words, too, had to change their usual meanings. What used to be described as a thoughtless act of aggression was now regarded as the courage one would expect to find in a party member; to think of the future and wait was merely another way of saying one was a coward; any idea of moderation was just an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character; ability to understand a question from all sides meant that one was totally unfitted for action.”

Yet language in Corcyra is not just a mirror of political and moral anarchy; it is also an agent and accessory to the confusion of factions and the reversal of values. As Thucydides remarks, “If an opponent made a reasonable speech, the party in power, so far from giving it a generous reception, took every precaution to see that it had no practical effect.” In short, reason has been transformed into unreason and language has been twisted into a tool of violence; Corcyra represents the subversion of the logos — of reason and language. As George Orwell pointed out in his famous essay “Politics and the English Language,” not only does language deteriorate when the political climate does, but debased language, in turn, reinforces the corruption of thought. And so, we have reached yet another step in the degradation of language—a process which parallels, it needs to be emphasized, the deterioration of political life in the course of the Peloponnesian War. From the deliberately misleading use of language for good and praiseworthy ends with Diodotus, we now witness the even more blatant misuse of language, but this time to conceal outrageous ends. The stasis, or civil dissension, in the city is matched by a kind of semantic stasis in which words and meanings are at loggerheads. Political language, to quote Orwell again, is now “designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.”

The final phase in the transformation of the logos can be seen in the Melian dialogue in Book Five. In a way, it represents a closing of the circle because we are returned to a language as transparent as that used by Pericles. The vital difference, now, however, is that words correspond to a world which has been stripped clean of political ideals and moral imperatives. The context is simple: by 416, the Athenians, who had become frustrated in their inability to carry out a successful land campaign in the Peloponnesus, reaffirmed with a passion their old naval strategy and sought to lay claim to the entire Aegean Sea. It was a great misfortune of Melos to fall within this zone of control. A small island some 70 miles off the eastern coast of Laconia, Melos had succeeded in maintaining a precarious form of neutrality and independence during the war, even though it had been included by Athens in its imperial assessments starting in 425. As the last island in the Aegean free of her control, Athens decided to send a naval expedition to Melos in order to force her into the empire. And it is the commanders of this expedition who meet the leaders of Melos and engage in the dialogue “recorded” by Thucydides.

The gist of the dialogue is stark and straightforward. The Athenians immediately impose limits on the argument: the only questions they have the time or desire to entertain are those of expediency and advantage: the issues of justice and right simply don’t interest them. The reason for this is clear: according to the Athenians, “the standard of justice depends on the equality of power to compel and that in fact the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept.”

The Melians, forced to argue within the narrow boundaries set by the Athenians, respond with the warning that any act of unjustifiable aggression on Athens’ part, raising fears in other neutral states, would only create more enemies. This, of course, was the reasoning used by Diodotus—namely, that it would not be to Athens’ advantage to show unmerited severity towards smaller states. And it is telling that the Athenian reply to this line of reasoning smacks of Cleon. They reply, in effect, that fear alone can guarantee the integrity of the empire. As they say: “If we were on friendly terms with you, our subjects would regard that as a sign of weakness in us, whereas your hatred is evidence of our power.” They go on to say that if they allow the Melians to maintain their neutrality, the other states will conclude that they do so “because they are strong, and if we fail to attack [you] it is because we are afraid. So that by conquering you we shall increase not only the size but the security of our empire.”

Unable to convince the Athenians that it would be in their interest to allow Melos to remain neutral, the Melian representatives next insist that fortune may side with them. The Athenians scoff at this, remarking that “hope is an expensive commodity” and that as far as the gods as concerned, there is divine sanction that the strongest have the right to rule: “This is not a law we made ourselves, nor were we the first to act upon it when it was made. We found it already in existence, and we shall leave it to exist for ever among those who come after us.”

Finally, the Melians are ruled out of order—ruled out of reason — on the grounds of both self-interest and of expediency. These two forms of argument were derived from the sophists’ bag of rhetorical turns. Rut what about the sophistic argument based on the grounds of human nature? The Athenians seem to preempt this argument by insisting that the sole law of human nature, and thus the central rule of international relations, is that of power; and, since they are stronger than the Melians, they have every right to expect that the latter bow to their demands. But this axiom of human nature carries a corollary overlooked by the Athenians: they have forgotten that just as the will to power springs from the sources of human nature, so, too, does the will to resist. The increasingly harsh hegemony exercised by Athens gives birth to increasingly determined efforts at resistance; as we shall see, these efforts will ultimately succeed with the Syracusans.

The refusal of the Melians to submit to Athens is, in this light, both “irrational” and very predictable: their resistance is foolhardy, but as natural as is Athens’ aggression. But the phrasing of the final exchange suggest that Athens’ power play may be no less foolish and short-sighted. The Melians declare to the Athenians that they “are not prepared to give up in a short moment the liberty which our city has enjoyed from its foundation for 700 years.” The Athenians, astounded by the foolhardiness of the Melians, who dare talk about honor, liberty and other irrelevancies when their very survival is at stake, say to the Melians “you are quite unique in your ability to consider the future as something more certain than what it is before your eyes, and to see uncertainties as realities, simply because you would like them to be so.” A siege follows, Melos is ultimately forced to surrender and, as Thucydides drily concludes: the Athenians “put to death all the men of military age whom they took, and sold the women and children as slaves.”

But are the Melians unique? As Thucydides’ audience would have immediately understood, the entire dialogue is all too reminiscent of earlier behavior, and earlier dialogues in an earlier war: namely, the confrontation of the Athenians and the Persians in the Persian Wars. The restlessness, the sense of manifest destiny (excuse the anachronism), the insolent and delusive intelligence, and the blinding self-confidence of the Athenians match that of Xerxes on the eve of his invasion of Greece in 480: in a phrase recounted by Herodotus, the Persian king tells his counselors: “Never yet, as our old men assure me, has our race reposed itself.” Similarly, the Melian response to the Athenians parallels the answer the Athenians themselves made two generations before to the Persian demands to surrender: “We know . . . that the power of the Mede is many times greater than our own: we did not need to have that cast in our teeth. Nevertheless we cling so to freedom that we shall offer what resistance we may. Seek not to persuade us into making terms with the barbarian—say what you will, you will never gain our assent.”

The parallels are so striking that they hardly merit commentary: the oppressed has been transformed into the oppressor; the defender of liberty has now become its nemesis. And just as Xerxes uttered his words on the eve of the disasters of Salamis and Plataea, so, too, do the Athenians utter theirs on the eve of the equally disastrous Sicilian expedition. But I want to return to the matter of language. In the Melian dialogue we see the reappearance of words and reason in all their transparency—of, in the words of Robert Connor, “pure logos in operation.” Yet Connor goes on to argue that the logos, despite its clarity and power, is itself “distorted and perverted.” Yet it is not language that is disturbed, but the universe. The, language of the Athenian commanders reflects a world which, morally and politically, has undergone something of a metamorphosis. The humanistic values which are transparently clear in the Periclean discourse 15 years before have now been eclipsed by the imperatives of sheer power and self-interest, which are no less transparent in the language of the Athenians on Melos. Connor is surprised that the logos now fails to avert violence. But is it so surprising? After all, the logos has now become an instrument of this violence. How could it be otherwise in a world of discourse in which Periclean values have been edited out? In which a transvaluation of values has taken place? And so, we have and have not come full circle. From the candor and frankness of the Periclean discourse we return to a discourse which is equally transparent—but in its transparency provides a window into a world that, under the pressure of war, has changed greatly and changed for the worse.


So, too, has this essay come full circle; we again confront the issue of cultural pessimism and the value of history. Milan Kundera, for example, has painted a bleak and powerful portrait of an unretrievable past. He tells us that at some point in the far past a group of people had something important to tell us, but that their meaning has been reduced to beautiful and incomprehensible gestures: “Their message will never be deciphered not only because there is no key, but because people lack the patience to listen in an age when the accumulation of messages old and new is such that their voices cancel one another out.” History, he concludes, will inevitably shrink into a “handful of senseless schematic signs.”

This is no small matter. It was the aim of this essay to show the relevance (an ugly, but unavoidable word) of Thucydides. We have seen how his literary and analytic genius, which, by the relentless tracking of language, bared the revolution of values in democratic Athens. It may well be that herein lies the timeless quality of his history and the sensefulness of its schematic signs. Less a manual for would-be statesmen or a blueprint for aspiring imperialists, this historia, as the literal Greek meaning of the word implies, is an inquiry into the incestuous knot formed by language and politics. Rather than disedging its importance, the very antiquity of the investigation sharpens our awareness of the constants which perdure through human history. Thucydides provides the key not just to the decoding of his own history but to that of ours as well.


* All quotations are taken from the Rex Warner translation of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War (Penguin, 1954).


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