The Sicilian Expedition: Alcibiades and Nicias in Thucydides’s Peloponnesian War (Books VI-VII)

Thucydides claims the Peloponnesian War is the greatest event or movement in human history, and the most important part of this great war takes place in Books VI-VII: The ill-fated Sicilian Expedition. The Sicilian Expedition represents the turning point in the war. Thucydides begins to explain the expedition by offering a history of the origins … Continue reading The Sicilian Expedition: Alcibiades and Nicias in Thucydides’s Peloponnesian War (Books VI-VII)

Reflections on Thucydides

Reading Thucydides is familiar to modern audiences. His succinct style of political and military history is perhaps the most commonly mirrored practice for writing contemporary history. However, his project is still somewhat elusive. Unlike Herodotus, Thucydides does not explicitly call his work a "history" (historia), and he calls his book a work for all time, … Continue reading Reflections on Thucydides

The Peloponnesian War, Book V: Battle Recommences and Melos Enslaved

Book V of Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War opens at the conclusion of the truce between Athens and the Spartans. Cleon leads the Athenians in an attack on Thrace. A double surprise attack is launched against Cleon and the Athenians by Brasidas of Sparta. The attack catches Cleon off guard and kills him en route, … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book V: Battle Recommences and Melos Enslaved

The Peloponnesian War, Book IV: Armistice and Mounting Losses

Book IV of Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War opens with yet another revolt from allies of the Athenians, this time in the city of Messana. Syracuse encourages the revolt to prevent Athens from a clear path to Sicily. Additionally, Athens is again invaded by the Spartans under King Agis, son of Archidamus. Meanwhile an Athenian … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book IV: Armistice and Mounting Losses

The Peloponnesian War, Book III: Invasion and Revolution

Book III of Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War begins as Archidamus, King of Sparta, invades Attica. This triggers a revolt, notably on the island of Lesbos, owing to Athens's enslavement of its allies. This rebellion in turn causes a proxy war for Athens with the Mytilenians. The Plataeans are attacked by Thebes and retreat to … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book III: Invasion and Revolution

The Peloponnesian War, Book II: Proxy Wars and Pericles’s Funeral Oration

Book II of edition of Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War examines the true origin of the war. The thirty year peace between Athens and Sparta ends when Thebes (allied with the Peloponnesus) attacks Plataea (allied with Athens) and the Thebans surrender. Both cities are located north of Athens in Boetia. Plataea executes its 180 captured … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book II: Proxy Wars and Pericles’s Funeral Oration