Thucydides is one of the most difficult Greek authors. As I’ve noted elsewhere The Histories of Herodotus are much more fun (both in Greek and English translation). Reading Thucydides is like reading a textbook written by a very pedantic professor. I found it very slow going when I only had to translate a few pages back 40 years ago as a student. The Peloponnesian War is recounted battle by battle, march by march and season by season. Only intermittently is there some nugget of historical interest. But the ones you find are sometimes priceless. Hanson is a Classics Professor and actually can read Thucydides in the original Greek so at least he knows what the text is trying to say. Back in high school (or I guess college nowadays) you were given passages from Thucydides such as the Funeral Oration of Pericles or the Melian Dialog. Well the reason we still read Thucydides is because people keep doing the same stupid things war after war. Whether the US and China are fated to battle for supremacy like Sparta and Athens or Rome and Carthage is an important question. If studying the Peloponnesian War teaches us what has failed in the past maybe we can spare the world another bloody catastrophe. That some of the Trump White House is reading it isn’t bad news. Anyway, an interesting read.
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