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The Peloponnesian War Paperback – June 1, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0872203945 ISBN-10: 0872203948

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Pub Co (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872203948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872203945
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Thucydides' The Peloponnesian War mixes tragedy and intellection, profound emotion and painstaking analysis. Steven Lattimore has met the most daunting challenge to a translator of Thucydides, which is to provide a sense of this combination. Written in clear American English that never oversimplifies the original, this translation will be useful both to the novice intent on learning 'what happened' and to the returning reader seeking to savor high points like the Funeral Speech of Pericles. --David P. Tompkins, Temple University

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek

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Customer Reviews

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I could not put down Steven Lattimore's translation.
Amazon Customer
A recommended read for anyone, and a very informative and accuarate book and a wondrful translation by Steven Lattimore.
THe Neuro
It is a work of genius so great that it is still relevant and vivid.
Robert J. Crawford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By tdw@u.arizona.edu on April 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Steven Lattimore is a master translator of a difficult author. Thucydides invented Athenian intellectual prose; his work was meant not merely to be recited but read and studied; hence he avoids the overly simplistic antitheses that are the hallmarks of forensic prose. He deliberately avoids the easy Ionic style characteristic of Herodotos whose prose is made easy by frequent repetition of etymoligically similar words. Thucydides, furthermore, invented argumentation in prose language (so far as we know). Hippocrates may give conditions, symptoms, causes and cures; Thucydides makes generalizing propositions and argues for their truth value. He often uses sentences extending into what are in English whole paragraphs. All this makes his writing difficult to read and interpret and doubly difficult to translate. This translation overcomes the difficulties and yet leaves the reader the impression from the original that he is dealing with something well worth his effort. The many ponderous speeches that pepper the original are rendered in a refreshingly original manner. Lattimore has brought off a tour de force with this magnificent effort.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By David B. Erickson on October 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Accuracy does not necessarily equal clarity. Here is an excerpt from Pericles' Funeral Speech in Lattimore's translation:

"We have a form of government that does not emulate the practices of our neighbors, setting an example rather than imitating others. In name it is called a democracy on account of being administered in the interest not of the few but the many, yet even though there are equal rights for all in private disputes in accordance with the laws, wherever each man has earned recognition he is singled out for public service in accordance with the claims of distinction, not by rotation but by merit, nor when it comes to poverty, if a man has real ability to benefit the city, is he prevented by obscure renown."

Here is the same passage from the Warner (Penguin) translation:

"Let me say that our system of government does not copy the institutions of our neighbors. It is more the case of our being a model to others, than of our imitating anyone else. Our constitution is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but of the whole people. When it is a question of settling private disputes, everyone is equal before the law; when it is a question of putting one person before another in positions of public responsibility, what counts is not membership of a particular class, but the actual ability which the man possesses. No one, so long as he has it in him to be of service to the state, is kept in political obscurity because of poverty."

I'm not an academic; I am reading for meaning, not for how closely the translation hews to the original Greek. I admire Lattimore's close rendering of Thucydides, but I'm sticking with Warner for the clarity of his expression.
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44 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
I undertook the project of reading the Greek Classics with a bit of trepidation and found some translations that read like the King James Bible, pompus and barely recognizable as English. I could not put down Steven Lattimore's translation. The funeral oration of Perikles was so beautiful tears came to my eyes as I read it to my wife.
I liked that portion of the book so much that I researched it and discovered that I was not alone in being impressed by it, and that it is considered some of the greatest writing ever. I compared the same passage in several tranlations found most of the to use somewhat archaic words that do not quite have the impact that they do to a modern reader as the words in Lattimore's translation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr. L. S. Chappell on April 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is simply the best translation of Thucydides from the Greek. Steve Lattimore, son of the epic translator Richmond Lattimore, is very faithful to the terseness and variatio of the original while producing an eminently readable English version. One is often struck by his choice of the mot juste. Lattimore's introduction and notes are equally impressive: the product of very wide learning and decades of reflection on Thucydidean scholarship and Greek historiography more generally. I invariably assign this translation when teaching Greek history and strongly recommend it to others looking for a close but approachable version. It is equally useful for a basic or an advanced course. Why on earth do not more of the mainstream bookshops sell it?
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on March 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
It is always difficult and challenging to pick up what is regarded as a classic and read through it in a naive manner, not as a specialist but as an amateur who just wants to learn. There are always surprises.
In contrast to the looser Herodotus, his near contemporary, Thucydides sought to record an "objective truth" of the great war between Athens and Sparta, in the 5C BC. He consulted multiple sources and carefully judged what to include and what not to include, ito establish an idea of what really happened. While some of the forms, such as elaborately made-up speeches as a study in rhetoric, differ from what we would do today, he set a new standard for accuracy. THe result is a work of genius, the first serious attempt at writing history rather than merely storytelling.

Reading this is not always fun. There are long sections that are lists of occurences, with references to individuals who appear and disappear without followup. But there are also penetrating analyses of remarkable characters, such as Perikles, Alcibiades, and other great generals, who became reference points to the present day. Thucydides also broached the subject of political science as history - how institutions actually functioned - in new ways, with demonstrations of how the unleashing of passions led to their corruption or distortion. Finally, there are chilling sections with timeless insight in human conduct in war, with the full horror of the breakdown of all order and law.

THis translation is also sufficintely readable, far better than the turbid one I first read in college. THucydides is quite eloquent in this version.

Recommended as one of the great classics of Western literature. It is a work of genius so great that it is still relevant and vivid.
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