History of the Peloponnesian War

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History of the Peloponnesian War is an account of the battles, conflicts, and politics of the Peloponnesian War in Ancient Greece, fought between the Peloponnesian League (led by Sparta) and the Delian League (led by Athens), written by an Athenian general who served in the war, Thucydides. It is widely considered a classic and regarded as one of the earliest scholarly works of history.

Thucydides' History begins almost exactly where Herodotus' Histories leaves off. Unlike Herodotus, the gods play no role in Thucydides' work, unlike the many appearances they make in the writings of Herodotus (and their near ubiquity in Homer's work). Instead, Thucydides shows history as caused by the choices and actions of the actors.

Thucydides' masterpiece is divided into eight books and is roughly chronological, although the commentary occasionally oscillates wildly between the various theatres of conflict. One major feature of the work are the dozens of speeches by the principal figures engaged in the war. These include addresses given to troops by their generals before battles and numerous political debates, both amongst Athenian and Spartan leaders and between them. Of the speeches, the most famous is the funeral oration of Pericles, which is found in Book Two. Thucydides undoubtedly heard some of these speeches himself while for others he relied on eye witness accounts. Some of the speeches are probably fabricated according to his expectations of what must have been said.

Despite being an Athenian and a participant in the conflict, Thucydides is regarded as having written a generally unbiased account of the conflict and all the sides involved in it. In Book One he states that he wrote his History "not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as a possession for all time."

The History of the Peloponnesian War is unfinished, ending in mid-sentence. While it is possible Thucydides might have died before he could complete the work (in which case other sections would likely have been changed and edited had he lived longer), other alternatives have been proposed by scholars for the abrupt end of the work.

The History concentrates on military and political matters. However, it uses these events as a medium to deal specifically with the socially and culturally degenerative effects of war on men themselves (focusing on the lawlessness and atrocities committed by Greek citizens). It largely leaves matters like art and architecture untouched. The History, for example in the Melian dialogue, describes early instances of realpolitik or power politics, as well as the breakdown of social and cultural norms under the stress of warfare.

Xenophon wrote his Hellenica as a continuation of Thucydides' work.

Outline of Chapters

  1. The state of Greece from the earliest Times to the Commencement of the Peloponnesian War
  2. Causes of the War - The Affair of Epidamnus - The Affair of Potidaea
  3. Congress of the Peloponnesian Confederacy at Lacedaemon
  4. From the End of the Persian to the Beginning of the Peloponnesian War - The Progress from Supremacy to Empire
  5. Second Congress at Lacedaemon - Preparations for War and Diplomatic Skirmishes - Cylon - Pausanias - Themistocles
  6. Beginning of the Peloponnesian War - First Invasion of Attica - Funeral Oration of Pericles
  7. Second Year of the War - The Plague of Athens - Position and Policy of Pericles - Fall of Potidaea
  8. Third Year of the War - Investment of Plataea - Naval Victories of Phormio - Thracian Irruption into Macedonia under Sitalces
  9. Fourth and Fifth Years of the War - Revolt of Mytilene
  10. Fifth Year of the War - Trial and Execution of the Plataeans - Corcyraean Revolution
  11. Sixth Year of the War - Campaigns of Demosthenes in Western Greece - Ruin of Ambracia
  12. Seventh Year of the War - Occupation of Pylos - Surrender of the Spartan Army in Sphacteria
  13. Seventh and Eighth Years of the War - End of Corcyraean Revolution - Peace of Gela - Capture of Nisaea
  14. Eighth and Ninth Years of the War - Invasion of Boeotia - Fall of Amphipolis - Brilliant Successes of Brasidas
  15. Tenth Year of the War - Death of Cleon and Brasidas - Peace of Nicias
  16. Feeling against Sparta in Peloponnese - League of the Mantineans, Eleans, Argives, and Athenians - Battle of Mantinea and breaking up of the League
  17. Sixteenth Year of the War - The Melian Conference - Fate of Melos
  18. Seventeenth Year of the War - The Sicilian Campaign - Affair of the Hermae - Departure of the Expedition
  19. Seventeenth Year of the War - Parties at Syracuse - Story of Harmodius and Aristogiton - Disgrace of Alcibiades
  20. Seventeenth and Eighteenth Years of the War - Inaction of the Athenian Army - Alcibiades at Sparta - Investment of Syracuse
  21. Eighteenth and Nineteenth Years of the War - Arrival of Gylippus at Syracuse - Fortification of Decelea - Successes of the Syracusans
  22. Nineteenth Year of the War - Arrival of Demosthenes - Defeat of the Athenians at Epipolae - Folly and Obstinacy of Nicias
  23. Nineteenth Year of the War - Battles in the Great Harbour - Retreat and Annihilation of the Athenian Army
  24. Nineteenth and Twentieth Years of the War - Revolt of Ionia - Intervention of Persia - The War in Ionia
  25. Twentieth and Twenty-first Years of the War - Intrigues of Alcibiades - Withdrawal of the Persian Subsidies - Oligarchical Coup d'Etat at Athens - Patriotism of the Army at Samos
  26. Twenty-first Year of the War - Recall of Alcibiades to Samos - Revolt of Euboea and Downfall of the Four Hundred - Battle of Cynossema

External links

pl:Wojna Peloponeska (książka)


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