Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the ancient Greek historian Thucydides. In the fifth century BC Thucydides wrote The History of the Peloponnesian War, an account of a conflict in which he had himself taken part. This work is now seen as one of the first great masterpieces of history writing, a book which influenced writers for centuries afterwards. Thucydides was arguably the first historian to make a conscious attempt to be objective, bringing a rational and impartial approach to his scholarship. Today his work is still widely studied at military colleges and in the field of international relations for the insight it brings to bear on complex political situations.

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  • Paul Cartledge 21 episodes
    Emeritus Professor of Greek Culture and AG Leventis Senior Research Fellow at Clare College, Cambridge
  • Katherine Harloe No other episodes
    Associate Professor in Classics and Intellectual History at the University of Reading
  • Neville Morley 3 episodes
    Professor of Ancient History at the University of Bristol

Reading list

  • Thucydides and the Shaping of History
    Emily Greenwood (Bristol Classical Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War
    Victor Davis Hanson (Random House, 2006) Google Books →
  • Thucydides and the Modern World: Reception, Reinterpretation and Influence from the Renaissance to the Present
    Katherine Harloe & Neville Morley (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2012) Google Books →
  • Thucydides on Politics: Back to the Present
    Geoffrey Hawthorn (Cambridge University Press, 2014) Google Books →
  • Thucydides and the Idea of History
    Neville Morley (IB Tauris, 2014) Google Books →
  • Classical Greece: 500-323 BC
    Robin Osborne (ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2000) Google Books →
  • Twelve Voices from Greece and Rome: Ancient Ideas for Modern Times
    Christopher Pelling and Maria Wyke (Oxford University Press, 2014) Google Books →
  • The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives
    Plutarch (trans. Ian Scott-Kilvert) (Penguin, 1973) Google Books →
  • The Peloponnesian War 431-404 BC
    Philip de Souza (Osprey Publishing, 2002) Google Books →
  • The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War
    Robert B. Strassler (ed.) (Simon & Schuster, 1998) Google Books →
  • The Peloponnesian War
    Thucydides (trans. Martin Hammond) (Oxford University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • Thucydides: The War of the Peloponnesians and the Athenians
    Thucydides (trans. Jeremy Mynott) (Cambridge University Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • History of the Peloponnesian War
    Thucydides (trans. Rex Warner) (Penguin, 2000) Google Books →

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Programme ID: b050bcf1

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Auto-category: 938 (Ancient Greece and the Aegean)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Thucydides, an Athenian, wrote the history of the war between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians, beginning at the moment that it broke out, and believing that it would be a great war, and more worthy of relation than any that had preceded it.