Thucydides's History On The Peloponnesian War Summary

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Intended as a literary masterpiece about the history of the greatest war ever faced by the Hellenic race, Thucydides’ history on the Peloponnesian War has been noted for its objectivity and theoretical approach since antiquity. Indeed, its impact on Western civilization was anticipated by the author himself, who strove to write an accurate account of the war, free from romance. However, Thucydides’ work is not without its limitations, and historians today are aware of inconsistencies and omissions that exist within the text. To this end, the history of Thucydides cannot be judged strictly for its historical merit as a primary source for the Peloponnesian War, but must also be judged for the author’s more far-reaching intentions. By considering his attempts to demonstrate repetitions in the history of Hellas, his deliberate placement of the narratives, and his …show more content…
In his eulogy to Pericles in chapter 65, Thucydides places the Athenian leader above his successors. Throughout the chapter, Thucydides portrays Pericles as an ideal leader because of his moderate and conservative policy in peace and his deliberative plan of action during the war. Pericles was a man who led people instead of being led by them, who, “by his rank, ability, and known integrity, was enabled to exercise an independent control over the multitude.” In contrast, Thucydides describes the men who succeed Pericles as demagogues who led on the “whims of the multitude.” Placed directly after his depiction of Pericles, Thucydides deliberately emphasizes the extreme variation in character between the general who governed with ability and integrity and his successors. The latter spending more time “grasping at supremacy” and causing internal unrest than governing their people. Thus Thucydides defines the qualities of an ideal leader, instilling in his readers yet another lesson on human

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