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*[[Dialogus Meliorum]]
*''[[Euselasia thucydides]]''
<!-- '''Thucydides''' (c. [[460 BC]] – c. [[395 BC]]), [[Ancient Greek|Greek]], ''Thoukudídēs'') was an ancient [[Greeks|Greek]] [[history|historian]], and the author of the ''[[History of the Peloponnesian War]],'' which recounts the [[5th century BC]] war between [[Sparta]] and [[Athens]] to the year [[411 BC]]. Thucydides is considered by many to be a scientific historian because of his efforts in his ''History'' to describe the human world in terms of cause and effect, his strict standards of gathering evidence, and his neglect of the gods in explaining the events of the past. Other scholars lay greater emphasis on the ''History''’s elaborate literary artistry and the powerful rhetoric of its speeches and insist that its author exploited non-"scientific" literary genres no less than newer, rationalistic modes of explanation.
 
==Life==
Considering his stature as a historian, we know comparatively little about Thucydides' life. The most reliable information comes from his own ''[[History of the Peloponnesian War]]'', and consists of his nationality, paternity, and native locality. Thucydides also tells us that he fought in the war, contracted the plague, and was exiled by the [[Athenian democracy|democracy]].
 
===Evidence from the Classical Period===
Thucydides identifies himself as an Athenian, tells us that his father's name was [[Olorus]] and that he was from the Athenian [[deme]] of [[Alimos|Halimous]].{{rf|1|Thucy_1.1.1, 4.104.4}} Thucydides tells us that he contracted the [[Plague of Athens|plague that ravaged Athens]]{{rf|2|Thuc_2.48.1-3}}, a plague which also killed [[Pericles]] and many other Athenians. He records that he owned gold mines at [[Scapte Hyle]], a district of Thrace on the [[Thrace|Thracian]] coast opposite the island of [[Thasos]].{{rf|3|;Thuc_4.105.1}}
 
Because of his influence in the Thracian region, Thucydides tells us, he was sent as a [[strategos]] (general) to [[Thasos]] in [[424 BC]]. During the winter of 424–423 BC, the Spartan general [[Brasidas]] attacked [[Amphipolis]], a half-day's sail west from Thasos on the Thracian coast. Eucles, the Athenian commander at Amphipolis, sent to Thucydides for help.{{rf|4|Thuc_4.104.1}} Brasidas, aware of Thucydides' presence on Thasos and his influence with the people of Amphipolis and afraid of help arriving by sea, acted quickly to offer moderate terms to the Amphipolitans for their surrender, which they accepted. Thus when Thucydides arrived, Amphipolis was already under Spartan control{{rf|5|Thuc_4.105.1-106.3}} (see [[Battle of Amphipolis]]). Amphipolis was of considerable strategic importance, and news of its fall caused great consternation in Athens.{{rf|6|Thuc_4.108.1-7}} The fall of Amphipopolis was blamed on Thucydides, though he claimed it wasn't his fault, that he had simply been unable to reach it in time. Because of his failure to save Amphipolis, Thucydides was sent into exile, as he wrote{{rf|7|Thuc_5.26.5}}:
 
{{cquote|It was also my fate to be an exile from my country for twenty years after my command at Amphipolis; and being present with both parties, and more especially with the Peloponnesians by reason of my exile, I had leisure to observe affairs somewhat particularly.}}
 
Using his status as an exile from Athens to travel freely among the Peloponnesian allies, he was able to view the war from the perspective of both sides. During this time, he conducted important research for his history.
 
This is all that Thucydides himself tells us about his own life. We are able to infer a few other facts from reliable contemporary sources. [[Herodotus]] tells us that Thucydides' father's name, [[Olorus]], was connected with [[Thrace]] and Thracian royalty.{{rf|8|Herod_6.39.1}} Thucydides was probably connected through family to the Athenian statesman and general [[Miltiades]], and his son [[Cimon]], leaders of the old [[aristocracy]] supplanted by the Radical [[democracy|Democrats]]. [[Cimon]]'s grandfather's name was [[Olorus]], making the connection exceeding likely. Another [[Thucydides (politician)|Thucydides]] lived before the historian and was also linked with Thrace, making a family connection between them very likely as well. Finally, [[Herodotus]] confirms the connection of Thucydides' family with the mines at [[Scapte Hyle]].{{rf|9|Herod_6.46.1}}
 
===Later Sources===
The remaining evidence for Thucydides' life comes from less-reliable later ancient sources. According to [[Pausanias (geographer)|Pausanias]], someone named Oenobius was able to get a law passed allowing Thucydides to return to Athens, presumably sometime shortly after Athens' surrender and the end of the war in [[404 BC]].{{rf|10|Paus_1.23.9}} Pausanias goes on to say that Thucydides was murdered on his way back to Athens. Many doubt this account, seeing evidence to suggest he lived as late as [[397 BC]]. [[Plutarch]] claims that his remains were returned to Athens and placed in [[Cimon]]'s family vault.{{rf|11|Plut_Cim_4.1}}
 
The abrupt end of Thucydides' narrative, which breaks off in the middle of the year [[411 BC]], has traditionally been interpreted as indicating that he died while writing the book, though other explanations have been put forward.
 
==Education==
Although there is no certain evidence to prove it, the rhetorical character of his narrative suggests that Thucydides was at least familiar with the teachings of the [[Sophists]]. These men were traveling lecturers, who frequented [[Athens]] and other Greek cities.
 
It has also been asserted that Thucydides' strict focus on cause and effect, his fastidious devotion to observable phenomena to the exclusion of other factors and his austere prose style were influenced by the methods and thinking of early medical writers such as [[Hippocrates]] of [[Kos]]. Some have gone so far as to assert that Thucydides had some medical training.
 
Both of these theories are inferences from the perceived character of Thucydides' History. While neither can be categorically rejected, there is no firm evidence for either.
 
==Character==
Inferences about Thucydides' character can only be drawn (with due caution) from his book. Occasionally throughout ''[[The History of the Peloponnesian War]]'' his sardonic sense of humor is evident, such as when, during the [[Athenian plague]], he remarks that some old Athenians seemed to remember a rhyme that said with the [[Dorian War]] would come a "great death." Some claimed the rhyme was actually about a "great dearth" (''limos''), and was only remembered as "death" (''loimos'') due to the current plague. Thucydides then remarks that, should another Dorian War come, this time attended with a great dearth, the rhyme will be remembered as "dearth," and any mention of "death" forgotten.{{rf|12|Thuc_2.54.3}}
 
Thucydides admired [[Pericles]], approving of his power over the people, and shows a palpable distaste for the more pandering demagogues who followed him. Thucydides did not approve of the democratic mob or the radical democracy Pericles ushered in but thought that it was acceptable when in the hands of a good leader. Generally, Thucydides exhibited a lack of bias in his presentation of events, refusing, for example, to minimize the negative effect of his own failure at [[Battle of Amphipolis|Amphipolis]]. Occasionally, however, strong passions break through in his writing, such as in his scathing appraisals of the demagogues [[Cleon]] and [[Hyperbolus]]. [[Cleon]] has sometimes been connected with Thucydides' exile, which would suggest some bias in his presentation of him: it should, however, be noted that this connection is first made in a (not entirely reliable) biography written centuries after Thucydides' death, and may equally be no more than a backwards inference from Thucydides' evident disapproval of Cleon.
 
Also, Thucydides was clearly moved by the suffering inherent in war, and concerned about the excesses to which human nature is apt to resort in such circumstances. This is evident in his analysis of the atrocities committed during civil conflict on [[Corcyra]]{{rf|13|Thuc_3.83-83}}, which includes the memorable phrase "War is a violent teacher".
 
==The History of the Peloponnesian War==
{{Main|History of the Peloponnesian War}}
Thucydides wrote only one book; its modern title is the ''[[History of the Peloponnesian War]]''. All his legacy to history and historiography is contained in this one dense history of the [[Peloponnesian War|twenty-seven year war]] between [[Athens]] and its allies and [[Sparta]] and its allies. The history breaks off near the end of the 21st year.
 
Thucydides is generally regarded as one of the first true historians. Like his predecessor [[Herodotus]] (often called "the father of history"), Thucydides placed a high value on autopsy, or eye-witness testimony to events, and writes about many episodes in which he himself probably took part. He also assiduously consulted written documents and interviewed participants in the events that he records. Unlike Herodotus, he did not recognize divine interventions in human affairs. Certainly he held unconscious biases — for example, to modern eyes he seems to underestimate the importance of Persian intervention — but Thucydides was the first historian who attempted something like modern historical objectivity.
 
One major difference between Thucydides' history and modern historical writing is that Thucydides' history includes lengthy speeches which, as he himself states, were as best as could be remembered of what was said (or, perhaps, what he thought ought to have been said). These speeches are composed in a literary manner. For example, [[Pericles' funeral oration]], which includes an impassioned moral defence of democracy, heaps honour on the dead:
{{cquote|The whole earth is the sepulchre of famous men; they are honoured not only by columns and inscriptions in their own land, but in foreign nations on memorials graven not on stone but in the hearts and minds of men.}}
 
Although attributed to Pericles, this passage appears to have been written by Thucydides for deliberate contrast with the account of the plague in [[Athens]] which immediately follows it:
{{cquote|Though many lay unburied, birds and beasts would not touch them, or died after tasting them. … The bodies of dying men lay one upon another, and half-dead creatures reeled about the streets and gathered round all the fountains in their longing for water. The sacred places also in which they had quartered themselves were full of corpses of persons that had died there, just as they were; for as the disaster passed all bounds, men, not knowing what was to become of them, became equally contemptuous of the gods' property and the gods' dues. All the burial rites before in use were entirely upset, and they buried the bodies as best they could. Many from want of the proper appliances, through so many of their friends having died already, had recourse to the most shameless sepultures: sometimes getting the start of those who had raised a pile, they threw their own dead body upon the stranger's pyre and ignited it; sometimes they tossed the corpse which they were carrying on the top of another that was burning, and so went off.}}
 
Classical scholar [[Jacqueline de Romilly]] first pointed out, just after the second world war, that one of Thucydides' central themes was the ethic of Athenian imperialism. Her analysis put his History in the context of Greek thought on the topic of international politics. Since her fundamental study, many scholars have studied the theme of power politics, i.e. [[realpolitik]], in Thucydides' history.
 
On the other hand, some authors, including [[Richard Ned Lebow]], reject the common perception of Thucydides as a historian of naked [[real-politik]]. They argue that actors on the world stage who had read his work would all have been put on notice that someone would be scrutinizing their actions with a reporter's dispassion, rather than the mythmaker's and poet's compassion and thus consciously or unconsciously participating in the writing of it. Thucydides' [[Melian dialogue]] is a lesson to reporters and to those who believe one's leaders are always acting with perfect integrity on the world stage. It can also be interpreted as evidence of the moral decay of Athens from the shining city on the hill Pericles described in the [[Pericles' funeral oration|Funeral Oration]] to a power-mad tyrant over other cities.
 
Thucydides does not take the time to discuss the arts, literature or society in which the book is set and in which Thucydides himself grew up. Thucydides was writing about an event and not a period and as such took lengths not to discuss anything which he considered unrelated.
 
[[Leo Strauss]], in his classic study ''The City and Man'' (see esp. pp. 230–31) argued that Thucydides had a deeply ambivalent understanding of Athenian democracy: on the one hand, "his wisdom was made possible" by the Periclean democracy, on account of its liberation of individual daring and enterprise and questioning; but this same liberation spurred the immoderation of limitless political ambition and thus imperialism, and eventually civic strife. This is the essence of the tragedy of Athens or of democracy — this is the tragic wisdom that Thucydides conveys, which he learned in a sense from Athenian democracy. More conventional scholars view him as recognizing and teaching the lesson that democracies do need leadership — and that leadership can be dangerous to democracy.{{rf|14|Russett}}
 
==Thucydides in Popular Culture==
In 1991, the BBC broadcast a new version of John Barton's 'The War that Never Ends', which had first been performed on stage in the 1960s. This adapts Thucydides' text, together with short sections from Plato's dialogues. More information about it can be found on the [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103235/ Internet Movie Database].
 
==Quotes==
* "But, the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it."{{rf|15|Thuc_2.40.3}}
* "The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."{{rf|16|Thuc_5.89}}
* "It is a general rule of human nature that people despise those who treat them well, and look up to those who make no concessions."{{rf|17|Thuc_3.39.5}}
* "War takes away the easy supply of daily wants, and so proves a rough master, that brings most men's characters to a level with their fortunes."{{rf|18|Thuc_3.82.2}}
* "The cause of all these evils was the lust for power arising from greed and ambition; and from these passions proceeded the violence of parties once engaged in contention."{{rf|19|Thuc_3.82.8}}
 
==See also==
* [[Pericles' Funeral Oration]]
* [[Melian dialogue]]
* [[History of the Peloponnesian War]]
* [[Speech of Hermocrates at Gela]]
 
==Notes==
{{Multicol}}
{{ent|1|Thucy_1.1.1, 4.104.4}} Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+4.104.4 4.104.4]; Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+1.1.1 1.1.1].
{{ent|2|Thuc_2.48.1-3}} Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+2.48.1 2.48.1 – 3].
{{ent|3|Thuc_4.105.1}} Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+4.105.1 4.105.1].
{{ent|4|Thuc_4.104.1}} Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+4.104.1 4.104.1].
{{ent|5|Thuc_4.105.1-106.3}} Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+4.105.1 4.105.1 – 106.3].
{{ent|6|Thuc_4.108.1-7}} Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+4.108.1 4.108.1 – 7].
{{ent|7|Thuc_5.26.5}} Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+5.26.5 5.26.5].
{{ent|8|Herod_6.39.1}} Herodotus [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Hdt.+6.39.1 6.39.1].
{{ent|9|Herod_6.46.1}} Herodotus [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Hdt.+6.46.1 6.46.1].
{{ent|10|Paus_1.23.9}} Pausanias [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Paus.+1.23.9 1.23.9].
{{Multicol-break}}
{{ent|11|Plut_Cim_4.1}} Plutarch [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Plut.+Cim.+4.1 Cimon 4.1].
{{ent|12|Thuc_2.84.3}} Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+2.84.3 2.84.3].
{{ent|13|Thuc_3.82-83}} Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+3.82 3.82 – 83].
{{ent|14|Russett}} Russett p.45.
{{ent|15|Thuc_2.40.3}} Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+2.40.3 2.40.3]
{{ent|16|Thuc_5.89}} Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+5.89 5.89]
{{ent|17|Thuc_3.39.5}} Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+3.39.5 3.39.5]
{{ent|18|Thuc_3.82.2}} Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+3.82.2 3.82.2]
{{ent|19|Thuc_3.82.8}} Thucydides [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+3.82.8 3.82.8]
{{Multicol-end}}
 
==References and further reading==
===Primary sources===
* [[Herodotus]], [[The Histories of Herodotus|''Histories'']], [[A. D. Godley]] (translator), Cambridge: Harvard University Press (1920). ISBN 0-674-99133-8[http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Hdt.+toc &nbsp;].
* [[Pausanias (geographer)|Pausanias]], ''Description of Greece'', Books I-II, ([[Loeb Classical Library]]) translated by W. H. S. Jones; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. (1918). ISBN 0-674-99104-4.[http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Paus.+1.1.1 &nbsp;].
* [[Plutarch]], [[Parallel Lives|''Lives'']], Bernadotte Perrin (translator), Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. London. William Heinemann Ltd. (1914). ISBN 0-674-99053-6[http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0182;query=toc;layout=;loc=Cim.%201.1 &nbsp;].
* Thucydides, ''The Peloponnesian War''. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton (1910).[http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+toc &nbsp;].
 
===Secondary sources===
* Connor, W. Robert, ''Thucydides''. Princeton: Princeton University Press (1984). ISBN 0-691-03569-5.
* Dewald, Carolyn. ''Thucydides' War Narrative: A Structural Study''. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0520241274).
* Forde, Steven, ''The ambition to rule : Alcibiades and the politics of imperialism in Thucydides''. Ithaca : Cornell University Press (1989). ISBN 0-8014-2138-1.
* Hanson, Victor Davis, ''A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War''. New York: Random House (2005). ISBN 1-4000-6095-8.
* Hornblower, Simon, ''A Commentary on Thucydides''. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon (1991-1996). ISBN 0-19-815099-7 (vol. 1), ISBN 0-19-927625-0 (vol. 2).
* Hornblower, Simon, ''Thucydides''. London: Duckworth (1987). ISBN 0-7156-2156-4.
* Luce, T.J., ''The Greek Historians''. London: Routledge (1997). ISBN 0-415-10593-5.
* [[Clifford Orwin|Orwin, Clifford]], ''The Humanity of Thucydides''. Princeton: Princeton University Press (1994).
* Romilly, Jacqueline de, ''Thucydides and Athenian Imperialism''. Oxford: Basil Blackwell (1963). ISBN 0-88143-072-2.
* Rood, Tim, ''Thucydides: Narrative and Explanation''. Oxford: Oxford University Press (1998). ISBN 0-19-927585-8.
* {{cite book | author=Russett, Bruce | title=Grasping the Democratic Peace | publisher=Princeton University Press | year=1993 | id=ISBN 0-691-03346-3 }}
* Strassler, Robert B, ed. ''The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War''. New York: Free Press (1996). ISBN 0-684-82815-4.
* [[Strauss, Leo]], ''The City and Man'' Chicago: Rand McNally, 1964. -->
 
== Nexus externi ==
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