Life[ edit ] The name of Aesop is as widely known as any that has come down from Graeco-Roman antiquity [yet] it is far from certain whether a historical Aesop ever existed
He was an Athenian, old enough when the war began to estimate its importance and judge that it was likely to be a long one and to write an account of it, observing and making notes from its beginning.
He was probably born, therefore, not later than —perhaps a few years earlier since Thucydides and herodotus depictions of themistocles in the story of sparta detailed narrative begins, just beforewith the events which provoked the war. Hence, he belongs to the generation younger than that of the Greek historian Herodotus.
Thucydides was related in some way to the great Athenian statesman and general Miltiadeswho had married the daughter of a Thracian prince of this name.
He himself had property in Thraceincluding mining rights in the gold mines opposite the island of Thasosand was, he tells us, a man of influence there. He was in Athens when the great pestilence of — raged; he caught the disease himself and saw others suffer.
He failed to prevent the capture of the important city of Amphipolis by the Spartan general Brasidas, who launched a sudden attack in the middle of winter. Because of this blunder, Thucydides was recalled, tried, and sentenced to exile. This, he says later, gave him greater opportunity for undistracted study for his History and for travel and wider contacts, especially on the Peloponnesian side—Sparta and its allies.
He lived through the war, and his exile of 20 years ended only with the fall of Athens and the peace of The time and manner of his death are uncertain, but that he died shortly after is probable, and that he died by violence in the troubled times following the peace may well be true, for the History stops abruptly, long before its appointed end.
His tomb and a monument to his memory were still to be seen in Athens in the 2nd century ad. This much at least is known: Xenophon, one might say, began the next paragraph nearly as abruptly as Thucydides ended his.
It may also be inferred that parts of the History, and the last book in particular, are defective, in the sense that he would have written at greater length had he known more and that he was trying still to learn more—e. It may be assumed, then, that there are three fairly definable stages in his work: Thucydides supplemented his note stage throughout the project; even the most elaborated parts of the History may have been added right up to the time of his death—certainly many additions were made after the war was over.
All this is significant because Thucydides was writing what few others have attempted—a strictly contemporary history of events that he lived through and that succeeded each other almost throughout his adult life. He endeavoured to do more than merely record events, in some of which he took an active part and in all of which he was a direct or indirect spectator; he attempted to write the final history for later generations, and, as far as a man can and as no other man has, he succeeded.
It is obvious that he did not rush his work; the last of the complete narrative stage three, above took him to the autumn ofeight and a half years before the end of the war, the last of stage two, to six and a half years before. During these last years he was observing, inquiring, writing his notes, adding to or modifying what he had already written; at no time before the end, during all the 27 years of the war, did he know what that end would be nor, therefore, what would be the length and the final shape of his own History.
It is evident that he did not long survive the war since he did not leave any connected account, even at stage two, of the last six years. But in what he lived to complete, he wrote a definitive history.
Character studies Besides the political causes of the war, Thucydides was interested in and emphasized the conflict between two types of character: Besides depicting by their words and deeds the characters of some who influenced events—such as Cleonthe harsh demagogue of Athens; Hermocrates, the would-be moderate leader in Syracuse; the brave Nicostratus; and the incompetent Alcidas—he goes out of his way to give a clear picture of the characters and influence of four men: All four of them were of the active, revolutionary type.
Pericles of Athens was indeed unique for Thucydides in that he combined caution and moderation in action and great stability of character with a daring imagination and intellect; he was a leader of the new age. During the war each of them—Pericles and Alcibiades in Athens, Brasidas in Sparta—was in conflict with a conservativequietist opposition within his own country.
The conflict between the revolutionary and the conservative also extended between the generally daring Athenian state and the generally cautious Peloponnesians.
It is a great loss that Thucydides did not live to write the story of the last years of the war, when Lysanderthe other great revolutionary Spartan, played a larger part than any other single man in the defeat of Athens.
The most important problems in the war, besides protecting food supplies during land fighting, centred around the difficulties and possibilities of war between an all-powerful land force Sparta and its allies and an all-powerful naval force Athens.
Thucydides also studied the details of siege warfare; the difficulties of the heavily armed combat in mountain country and of fighting against the fierce but unruly barbarians of the north; an army trying to force a landing from ships against troops on shore; the one great night battle, at Syracuse; the skill and the daring maneuvers of the Athenian sailors and the way these maneuvers were overcome by the Syracusans; the unexpected recovery of the Athenian fleet after the Sicilian disaster—in all these aspects of the war he took a keen professional interest.
Style and historical aims Thucydides was himself an intellectual of the Athenian kind; markedly individualistic, his style shows a man brought up in the company of Sophocles and Euripidesthe playwrights, and the philosophers AnaxagorasSocratesand the contemporary Sophists. His writing is condensed and direct, almost austere in places, and is meant to be read rather than delivered orally.
He explains in a scientific and impartial manner the intricacies and complexities of the events he observed. Only in his speeches does he sometimes fall short of the lucidity of the narrative prose; his fondness for abstract expressions and the obscurity of his rhetorical antithesis often make the passages difficult to understand.History of the Peloponnesian War, by Thucydides.
CHAPTER V. for which they believe the great earthquake at Sparta to have been a retribution. The Athenians also ordered them to drive out the curse of the goddess of the Brazen House; the history of which is as follows.
Disease was the real cause of his death; though there is a story of. Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae: Herodotus's Real History Students may be familiar with this famous battle from its depiction in Zack Snyder's movie , based on Frank Miller's graphic novel.
Ancient Greece is the birthplace of Western philosophy (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle), literature (Homer and Hesiod), mathematics (Pythagoras and Euclid), history, drama (Sophocles, Euripedes, and Aristophanes), the Olympic Games, and democracy.
Rivaling any best-selling potboiler of today, there are numerous depictions of savage and barbaric acts, of arrogance and hubris winning out over caution, of rage, envy, lust, greed, corruption, insanity, and other human failings that make up the fabric of history.
Further connections between Thucydides’ Plataea story and Herodotus’ Thermopylae narrative exist, moreover, since in his Thermopylae story Herodotus mentions the very Theban attack on Plataea that Thucydides describes in detail (Hdt.
; Thuc. –7), relating that the attack on Plataea was captained by the son of that Leontiades who. Athenian, sent by Athens to Sparta to reply to Sparta's request to buy Athens time to finish building the wall.
Pericles Leader in Athens (statesman), rebuilt the Acropolis and rebuilding in general.