The Athenian historian Thucydides observed and chronicled the greatest military conflict of his day: the epic contest between Athens and Sparta known as the Peloponnesian War (431-404BC). Much more than just a straightforward history, his work is a study of the struggle between democracy and oligarchy, as well as a meditation on the dangers of populism and political polarization. Perhaps for this reason, Thucydides' work has experienced a surge in popularity over recent years as polarization and civil strife have spread throughout the developed world.
In this episode we are joined by Emily Greenwood, professor of classics at Yale University and author of Thucydides and the Shaping of History. Our conversation covers Thucydides' historical context, his ambition and purpose in writing his history, his insights and blindspots, and his relevance to our world.
Stick around at the end of the episode for a chance to win an autographed edition of Thucydides and the Shaping of History.
Support Ancient Greece Declassified on Patreon:
Or make a one-time donation:
Scholarly works mentioned during the conversation:
The Blinded Eye: Thucydides and the New Written Word, by Greg Crane (particularly Chapter 4: “Thucydidean Exclusions and the Language of Polis II: Oikos, Genos, and Polis”)
The intro to this episode was provided by Dr. Greenfield and Dr. Radford of The Partial Historians podcast. Dr. G and Dr. Rad both hold PhD's in Roman history and they offer a unique take on the Roman world that combines humor, storytelling, and scholarly rigor. Check out their pod at partialhistorians.com