Thucydides' Peloponnesian War

Thucydides’ /Peloponnesian War/: History, Poetry, and Philosophy in Fifth-Century Athens
Athens and Sparta fought a fratricidal war during the last quarter of the fifth century B.C., and Thucydides’ account of it is our most important source for knowledge about Greece during that period. While Thucydides emphasizes his concern for facts, he admits he invented all of the speeches he attributes to historical persons in his narrative; he never calls himself an “historian” in our sense of the term.  He compares himself favorably to the poet Homer, while making a claim that is arguably philosophic: no one need write up any future human event, Thucydides says, because his account of the Peloponnesian War reveals what will happen everywhere and always, as long as human nature remains the same.  Through a close reading of Thucydides’ text, we will examine the interrelation of history, poetry, and philosophy in the ancient Greek setting in which these disciplines first came to be distinguished in the West. 
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CLAS 1001

All Sections in Winter 2016

Winter 2016

CLAS1001A-W16 Lecture (Witkin)