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The Peloponnesian War Paperback – October 15, 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0226801063 ISBN-10: 0226801063 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 668 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (October 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226801063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226801063
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #449,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek

About the Author

David Grene (1913–2002) taught classics for many years at the University of Chicago. He was a founding member of the Committee on Social Thought and coedited the University of Chicago Press’s prestigious series The Complete Greek Tragedies.


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#89 in Books > History
#89 in Books > History

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Vicer-eal on February 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have extensively studied Thucydides over the past few months, and have read four different translations: Hobbes twice and three other translations once each. No other translation captures the justice and fluidity of Ancient Greek eloquence as naturally as Hobbes. I thank Grene for such an honest gift to scholarship. The Hobbes version is the best translation you will find in english, accept it. If you cannot get past the now esoteric 17th contrary prose, I recommend the Walter Blanco translation. The Blanco translation is superb, but i will warn you of the concrete dust dryness embedded in each and every sentence, it makes you cough and turn your head from the page.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Guillermo Maynez on February 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
For all we know, Thucydides was the first real historian in the Western world, and possibly the first in the world, period. Unlike Homer (a poet, not a historian) and Herodotus, who mixed folk tales and myths with factual reports, Thucydides sticks to facts, with the advantage of having been a contemporary and even a participant himself in the Peloponnesian War. So it makes for a credible reading. But this book is also important for other reasons. This war terminated the glory of Athens and in fact precluded its development as an empire. The war between only two "superpowers" and their allies has also served to illustrate bipolar conflict, such as the Cold War, and there are even whole courses about this book to illuminate a bipolar situation.
This translation by master political thinker Thomas Hobbes ("Leviathan") is not an easy read, yet it conveys the power of Thucydides's prose. Famous episodes of the war include, of course, Pericles's funeral oration, one of the best speeches ever recorded (if T. made it up, then he was one of the best speechwriters); the plague in Athens, a most unfortunate development for their side; rebellion in Corcyra; and the disastrous and worth-learning-from invasion of Sicily. One of the best history and politics books you can read.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By D. Roberts VINE VOICE on September 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
Homer filled his pages mostly with myth, with some general facts which remotely relate to history. Herodotus wrote mostly history, with a few myths and prophecies interspersed here & there.
With Thucydides, we get the first book in western culture that is 100% purely devoted to history. The historian expresses his disinterest in speculation about the will of the gods while turning his attention solely to factual accounts of the Peloponnesian War.
The present text discloses T's history, all dressed up in the eloquent, occasionally verbose prose of the 17th century philosopher, John Hobbes. David Grene of the university of Chicago does a credible job of auditing Hobbes' translation, pointing out errors, mis-interpretations & omissions in the text.
This work contains all of the most salient episodes of the war, from the funeral oration of Pericles (Book II), the unsteady truce between Athens & Sparta (Book V) and the disastrous Sicilian expedition (VI & VII). The latter proved to be the crippling blow which sealed the defeat of Athens. Less known, but equally poignant, is what Princeton's Michael Sugrue would call the "Big Fish Eat Little Fish" oration which the Athenians deliver to the Melians (Book V) before wiping them out.
Hobbes metes out ample attention to each major event, carefully crafting his diction with the efficacy of delivering the desired effect. However, there are times when his sentences get a bit syrupy & are a bit long. It does not help matters that Thucydides constantly skips around to diverse engagements, both major & minor, not always making it clear whom or what he is referring to. While it is fairly simple to keep track of the major players in the war (i.e.
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This is a classic, so it's hard to critique. Hobbes' translation is good; the book is just a challenging read. The best part for me was actually the essay Hobbes wrote about Thucydides, taking on those who were critical of Thucydides' approach to writing history.
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