Historians universally agree that Thucydides was the greatest historian who has ever lived, and that his story of the Peloponnesian conflict is a marvel of forensic science and fine literature. That such a triumph of intellectual accomplishment was created at the end of the fifth century B.C. in Greece is, perhaps, not so surprising, given the number of original geniuses we find in that period. But that such an historical work would also be simultaneously acknowledged as a work of great literature and a penetrating ethical evaluation of humanity is one of the miracles of ancient history. For in the pages of Thucydides we find examples of every ethical and political problem ever faced by democratic governments in the last 2,400 years. And it was all organized and written with a breathtaking skill and dramatic intensity which have never been equalled.
Thucydides was an Athenian noble born around 455 B.C. whose antecedents could be traced back to the great Peisitratus and Cimon. In 424 B.C., Thucydides was in command of naval forces attempting to defend Amphipolis in Thrace. Although unsuccessful through no fault of his own, his enemies in Athens blamed him for failure and engineered his exile. It was a fortunate event, for it was upon this accident of history that Thucydides gained the opportunity to become the chronicler of events in Greece. In complete contrast to the furious passions which raged around him, he described events with a cool detachment and an absolute impartiality that is little short of miraculous. He is believed to have died violently, perhaps while writing, in about 400 B.C. His manuscript simply breaks off in mid paragraph.
The Peloponnesian War is organized into eight parts (“books”). This recording uses the highly esteemed translation of Benjamin Jowett. There are several essays preceding and following the work.
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You better know the events before listening
No. You really need maps and an appendix. So many names are thrown around with little explanation that if your attention wavers for a second you can find yourself pretty disoriented, not knowing if the people being described are with Athens or the Pelloponesians.
Stephen Pressfield's Tides of War is a fictionalized retelling of some of the events surrounding Alcibiades. Might be a good place to start for an entertaining listen.
He is an excellent reader. Great pronunciation. Great dramatic flair.
No way no how.
I had to keep wikipedia opened, as well as have maps available to make sense of a lot of the events. This is not a casual listen if you are unfamiliar with the war.
- David A. Montalvo
A must read
Thucydides was one of the best authors of history I have ever read, but the narrative and the way he writes is not very suitable for a audiobook without having studied the ancient greeks and this book before. For 2000 years, greater minds than me have struggled with this book, I could not follow it in audio, but had to get the Landmark edition reading it instead. But I will relisten it at a later time when I have a better grip of the narrative.
Brasidas the Spartan.
I really enjoy all of his work. Normally I choose him if there are more than one version of the book at Audible
The melian dialog
For me, Thucydides was to complex as a audio book. I had to get the Landmark edition Thucydides to understand and follow the narrative.