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In this book, Edith Foster compares Thucydides’ narrative explanations and descriptions of the Peloponnesian War in books one and two of the History with the arguments about warfare and war materials offered by the Athenian statesman Pericles in those same books. In Thucydides’ narrative presentations, she argues, the aggressive deployment of armed force is frequently unproductive or counter-productive, and even the threat to use armed force against others causes consequences that can be impossible for the aggressor to predict or contain. By contrast, Pericles’ speeches demonstrate that he shared with many others figures in the History a mistaken confidence in the power, glory, and reliability of warfare and the instruments of force. Foster argues that Pericles does not speak for Thucydides, and that Thucydides should not be associated with Pericles’ intransigent imperialism. On the contrary, Thucydides composed Pericles’ speeches to expose his character and views to the reader, and he both introduced and surrounded them with narrative illustrations that contrast Pericles’ claims.Read more
- Discusses Thucydides and Pericles, who are famous figures of ancient Athens
- Talks about Thucydides' view of warfare and imperialism, and about Pericles' contrasting view of these same things
- Provides a close reading of a large section of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War
Reviews & endorsements
"It is a testament to the richness and complexity of Thucydides’ work that scholars continue to produce fruitful new readings of it. Edith Foster’s book is an important contribution to this scholarship." --BMCRSee more reviews
"This is a promising, at times powerful, new look at decision-making in Thucydides. Impressively in command of Thucydidean language and narrative, F. analyses important passages (providing some wonderful interpretative grace notes), takes stands on important issues, and sometimes invites criticism." --The Classical Review
"Foster’s book is impressively erudite and meticulous in its attention to detail." --The Journal of Hellenic Studies
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- Date Published: October 2013
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107692329
- length: 256 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
- weight: 0.38kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. War materials and their glory in archaeology
2. Arms and passion: Corinth and Corcyra at war
3. The Athenian acme in book one of Thucydides: the Spartan War
4. Pericles in history
5. Pericles and Athens: Pericles' speech in indirect discourse in narrative context
6. Thucydides and Pericles' final speeches
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