I have enjoyed reading all of the responses to reading Thucydides. It is a very inspirational book for Phil and me. I hope that your reading is continuing to be as enjoyable as mine is. I have been thinking much on how Thucydides wraps up his first Book, probably the most difficult book to read in the whole history. We will of course talk more about Book I in detail about a week from now, but I want to leave you with this thought as I depart incommunicado to Kansas for Thanksgiving week.
Why does Thucydides take the time to digress on the fates of both Pausanius, the Spartan hero of Plataea, and Themistocles, the Athenian hero of Salamis in I.129-138? Is this really necessary to the unfolding of the root causes of the Peloponnesian War? I really am not sure about this.
Below are Thucydides’ final words for Book I. They are deliberate and I believe ironic.
“These were the charges and differences existing between the rival powers before the war, arising immediately from the affair at Epidamnus and Corcyra. Still intercourse continued in spite of them, and mutual communication. It was carried on without heralds, but not without suspicion, as events were occurring which were equivalent to a breach of the treaty and matter for war” (I. 146).