- Paperback: 530 pages
- Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (June 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0872203948
- ISBN-13: 978-0872203945
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Peloponnesian War
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[Lattimore] gets closer to the Greek than either of his two available rivals, Richard Crawley and Rex Warner. . . . Lattimore's uncompromising version now leads the field. --Peter Green, The Los Angeles Times Book Review
Lattimore . . . has produced the most rigorously accurate translation since Crawley and, in my view, the most true to all ellipses, contractions, twists, ambiguities, and syntactical knots of the original. His willingness to confront, not shirk, the challenges of Thucydides can be seen at every stylistic level, though perhaps more in the speeches and analytical portions than in the purely narrative passages. All this makes it demanding for students, but gives them the closest English experience of what it’s like to read Thucydides in Greek. --Steven J. Willett, Syllecta Classica
Lattimore's The Peloponnesian War challenges and may well supplant the currently popular translations of Rex Warner and Richard Crawley. The table of contents lists events and chapter numbers in detail, thoughtful and useful summaries introduce the eight books, and superb footnotes and a trenchant glossary accompany the text. Maps (of Greece and Sicily, Greece, Syracuse, Pylos and Sphakteria, Athens and its neighbors) are collected conveniently at the end of the text, following the list of works cited, an index of speeches, and a comprehensive general index. In an excellent, concise introduction, Lattimore describes current controversies in Thucydidean scholarship and assesses the historian's prose style. Although Thucydides' style is 'intense when it succeeds,' he 'occasionally passes beyond concentration into congestion' (p. xviii). Lattimore claims that accuracy is the translator's 'fundamental responsibility' and that whenever ‘the aims of fidelity, clarity and readability come into conflict with one another,' he has opted for 'fidelity' (p. xix). In general, this approach effectively transmits both the spirit and the substance of Thucydides' prose. For example, in 2. 65.7, defending his war strategy, Pericles assures the Athenians that if they should follow his advice, 'they would prevail.' Lattimore's translation keeps 'Athenians' as the subject of the verb and remains consistent with Pericles' war aims, which had more to do with survival through endurance than with active, aggressive action. (Cf. Warner’s over-stated ‘Athens would be victorious' and Crawley's mild but vague 'promised them a favorable result'.) Lattimore's ‘they would prevail' seems to strike the note exactly. --George Cawkwell, New England Classical Journal
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek
Top customer reviews
"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.