Thucydides, Ancient Historian

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Thucydides is by far the most important of all early historians. He is the most reliable and trustworthy. Throughout this essay I will show how his work contributed to modern history. I will discuss the manner in which Thucydides wrote his history and the importance of it. I will also discuss branches of history in which Thucydides wrote his history such as; the war, politics and the plague. Thucydides (c.460-395BC) was born in Athens into what is believed to be a royal family. After proving to be a bad general he was exiled and spent twenty years in Thrace. During his time in exile Thucydides took advantage of his time and wrote ‘The Peloponnesian War’, which is an account of the war between Athens and Sparta 431 – 404BC. His history is divided into eight books; books 1-4 deal with the first ten years of the Peloponnesian War and the peace of Nicias (431-21). The conflicted years between 421 and 413 are dealt with in the remainder of the work, books 6 and 7 describe the Athenian attempts to subjugate Sicily, and book 8 looks to Sparta’s occupation of the fort of Decelea in Athenian territory.1 In his own words he describes how he wanted his account to be a permanent fixture in historical writing: ‘It may well be that my history will seem less easy to read because of the absence in it of a romantic element. It will be enough for me, however, if these words of mine are judged useful by those who want to understand clearly the events which happened in the past and which will, at some time or other and in much the same ways be repeated in the future. My work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the taste of an immediate public, but was done to last forever.’2 Regarded as the ‘father of scientific history’, Thucydides had a strict standard of gathering evidence and analysing it. This is one reason why his writings are of such importance today. Thucydides had an objective view and way of writing. His detailed and precise account of the war is...
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