Reminder: Thucydides Book 1 call, July 11 8pm NYC time
A quick reminder – we have our Thucydides Book 1 call tomorrow, Wednesday, July 11 at 8pm NYC time.
[ ] Yes, I’ll be on the call
Thucydides Book 1
Wednesday, July 11
8pm New York time
The questions below will guide our discussion and several members have volunteered to get us going.
Andre and I look forward to it.
1. Thucydides’ goals
What does Thucydides lay out in Book 1 as his goals for writing this history? As far as we know, this is the second history ever written- the first being Herodotus’ history of the Persian Wars. For readers of Herodotus – how does Thucydides differ from Herodotus? How does he refer to Herodotus in this first book? What does he owe to Herodotus?
2. Dates of the war
What are the dates of this war between Athens and Sparta? How does this war fit into the contenxt of Ancient Greek history? What important events happened before and after this war?
3. People, place and identity
Let’s do a quick review of how Thucydides refers to Greeks, Corinthians, Pelopenesians, Spartans, Attica, Athens.
Note: Athenians refer to the wars as the “Peloponessian Wars” while the Spartans refer to the wars as the “Athenian Wars.”
4. Origins of the Athenian Empire
How did the Athenian Empire come to develop? What was the Delian League? For readers who just finished reading Herodotus – what can you share with us about the end chapters of Herodotus – the final moments of the Persian Wars – and the rise of Athens?
5. Thucydides philosophy
As you read the early sections of Book One – especially 1.1 to 1.23 – consider Thucydides’ philosophy and biases. Keep in mind that
Thucydides was a precise writer and that every word, every section serves a purpose. Ask yourself “why is he writing this”?
6. Athenian bias? Spartan bias?
Thucydides, an exiled Athenian general, certainly sought to understand the war from different perspectives. Yet, he was reportedly criticized within Athens for a Spartan bias in his writing. From this first book – what do you think? Does he have a bias? What is it?
7. Cause of the war?
Thucydides is well-known, in part, because of his analysis of deep-rooted causes (as opposed to popular or stated reasons for the war). Thucydides argues that because of growing Athenian power it was inevitable for Sparta and Athens to go to war – that the conflict with Corinth over Epidamnus was simply the “proximal” cause.
What do you think?