READING ASSIGNMENTSHomer, The Iliad
Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War
Plato, The Republic
Virgil, The Aeneid
WRITING TECHNIQUESThe Basics
Close and Critical Reading
CORC 1110 FACULTY WEBSITESRoger Dunkle
John Van Sickle
OTHER LINKSCORC 1110 Study Guide
Greek Mythology Link
Glossary of Terms
History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
absence of romance from my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from
its interest; but if it be judged useful by those inquirers who desire
an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the
future, which in the course of human things must resemble if it does
not reflect it, I shall be content. In fine, I have written my work,
not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as a
possession for all time"
Thucydides was born between 460 and 455 B.C. and lived between one home in Athens and one in Thrace. The son of Olorus, the wealthy king of Thrace, Thucydides was a member of a family that owned goldmines on the Tracian coast. Before 431, he had no interest in Athenian politics. But that soon changed after the start of the Peloponnesian War in 424 B.C.
In 424, Thucydides was elected as an Athenian general. Shortly after, he was exiled for failing to stop the Spartans from progressing over the Athenian Empire. From the onset of war, Thucydides knew that this war was more significant than any other war in his lifetime. He decided to write the history of this war.
Unlike other accounts of history of wars, Thucydides distinguished between the truth and fiction. Any evidence he collected, he would analyze its validity and retain for future use in his recordings. Thucydides wrote, "My work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the taste of the immediate public, but was done to last forever." (Book I, 22). One reason for this is Thucydides felt that by knowing what caused previous wars, one could understand, how to prevent war in the future.
Introduction to the Plot Summary:
The Peloponnesian War began in 431 B.C. and lasted until about 404 B.C. with the defeat of the Athenians. Fighting took place from Sicily to the coast of Asia Minor and from the Hellespoint and Thrace to Rhodes. Many cities in between took sides with Athens or Sparta. Argos remained neutral because of a treaty they had with Sparta, but eventually sided with the Athenians. Because of their greed, the Athenians had many enemies among their own empire.
Main Characters and Places of History:
Additional Resources for the History:
Life of Thucydides Perseus
Causes of the War Perseus
Thucydides, Peloponnesion War Roger Dunkle, Study Guide
The Peloponnesian War Internet Ancient History Sourcebook