Thucydides And The Peloponnesian War

1578 Words 6 Pages
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 portrayals of the war’s key characters, it is evident that Thucydides sought to compose a text about human nature as much as he sought to write “the war.” …show more content…
He ends the section by explaining the policies of both Athens and Sparta – a natural jumping off point into the main focus of his text – before briefly launching into an explanation of his methodology and purpose for writing. It is at this early juncture where Thucydides sets up the secondary purpose of his work – to educate future generations about human nature and its weaknesses. Thucydides saw his history as “an aid to the understanding of the future, which in the course of human things must resemble if it does not reflect it.” This statement is reinforced throughout his preceding historical exploration, where Thucydides established the trends in human nature that would later be repeated when he described the war of his own

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