A Commentary on Thucydides, Volume 2: Books IV-V. 24

A Commentary on Thucydides, Volume 2: Books IV-V. 24

Simon Hornblower

Language: English

Pages: 538

ISBN: 2:00245679

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This is the second volume of a three-volume historical and literary commentary of the eight books of Thucydides, the great fifth-century BC historian of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Books iv-v.24 cover the years 425-421 BC and contain the Pylos-Spakteria narrative, the Delion Campaign, and Brasidas' operations in the north of Greece. This volume ends with the Peace of Nikias and the alliance between Athens and Sparta. A new feature of this volume is the full thematic introduction which discusses such topics as Thucydides and Herodotus, Thucydide's presentation of Brasidas, Thucydides and kinship, speech-direct and indirect-in iv-v.24, Thucydides and epigraphy (including personal names), iv-v.24 as a work of art: innovative or merely incomplete? Thucydides intended his work to be "an everlasting Possession" and the continuing importance of his work is undisputed. Simon Hornblower's commentary, by translating every passage of Greek commented on for the first time, allows readers with little or no Greek to appreciate the detail of Thucydides' thought and subject-matter. A full index at the end of the volume.


















we are advising are getting the upper hand, the first thing to say is that sensible people (τους νουν έχοντας) should not wait till they have a fall, and next that it is of the nature of war to ruin many even of those who are success­ ful in i t . . . and we must point out how many and how incalculable are the changes of fortune that occur in war.' See above, p. 83. 4. σ ω φ ρ ό ν ω ν δ ε α ν δ ρ ώ ν οϊτινες τ α γ α θ ά ες ά μ φ ί β ο λ ο ν α σ φ α λ ώ ς εθεντο (και ταΐς ξ υ μ φ ο ρ α ί ς οί α υ

(Babut, Connor)? If so. such exceptional features as the verbatim inclusion of treaties at iv. 118 and v. 18 and 23, or the oratio obliqua at iv. 96-97. need an artistic explanation. Or should we stick with Andrewes* 1981 analyst view that the whole is a fragment needing further work from Thucydides which it never got? Or can we disregard compositional questions and treat the text narratologically as a unit, accepting that the man Thucydides might have left it incomplete but regarding biograph­

walls of Amphipohs Brasidas. too. is killed, fighting courageously, and is buried splendidly and honoured with a heroic CUIL Thus, the lucky fulfilment of Cleon's mad promise to take Sphacteria is like the luck of the man who acts wickedly and is saved by good luck from the charge of madness in Solon's Prayer to the Musts (K13W. 69 f). Any version, known or conceivable, more creditable to Cleon is eliminated by the motif of chance in the manner of Pindaric myth-revision or llerodotean apologia.

have looked at several Thucydidean passages already: iii. 86 on Leontini and Rhegion; Hermocrates at iv. 64; and vi. 6 on the excuse for the Sicilian expedition. But perhaps the most important Thucydidean use of the kinship motif 169 170 171 172 ' * A. J. S. Spawlorth and S. Walker, T h e World of the Han hellen ion, JRS 75 (1985). 78-104. and 4 76(1986). 88-105. In addition to Argos and Sparta, there is (as Christopher J ones reminds me) Arkadia: L Robert. A trover* tAsie Simeurt (Paris.

There are even some dated by anticipatory use of the 42nd regnal year. But Thucydides himself, by his mention of the eclipse of 52. 1 (21 March 424) after his mention of Artaxerxes'death, had been thought to provide hard evidence for the king's death-date: the king must have died before 21 March 424. What then of the documents? Does Thu­ cydides undermine them? Or do they undermine him? Or what? The whole period was one of dynastic convulsion, and lewis's preferred suggestion was Ed. Meyer's old

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