Main Page > Ancient Historians (S11) > Thucydides bibliography

Translations and commentariesEdit


Historical excerpts selected due to their relevance to a specific topic. Anthologies compile recurring themes that may otherwise be scattered throughout a written piece. Useful for finding multiple separate excerpts quickly.

  • Paul Woodruff, Thucydides: On Justice, Power, and Human Nature, Hackett, 1993
An anthology of the most important episodes of Thucydides; Woodruff's introduction is assigned reading (Moodle).


An explanation or critique of a selected work, references some or all of a written work to illustrate a point. Commentaries contain an author's original thesis about another written piece. Useful for seeking alternative points of view to prove or disprove with alternative evidence.

  • A.W. Gomme et al., A Historical Commentary on Thucydides, 5 vols., Oxford, 1945-1981 [PA4461.G6]
  • Discusses 5 volumes of Thucydides' historical accounts.
  • Simon Hornblower, A Commentary on Thucydides, 3 vols., Oxford, 1991-2008 [DF229.T6 H65 1991]
  • Discusses 3 volumes of Thucydides' historical accounts.


Full or select translations of an original text into English. Translations are often preceded with exclusive introductions and frequently contain alternative interpretations. Useful in seeking accurate referable ancient texts.

  • Thomas Hobbes' 1628 translation online
  • Online version of Thucydides' historical accounts. 'The Forum at the Online Library of Liberty' is an ongoing catalogue of historical works. This includes many works including but not limited to 'Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War'. This particular site also includes in depth analysis of each section as well as anthologies, alternative sources, and original translations.

General bibliographyEdit

  • F.E. Adcock, Thucydides and His History, Cambridge, 1963 [PA4461.A6]
  • David Bedford and Thom Workman, "The Tragic Reading of the Thucydidean Tragedy," Review of International Studies (Vol. 27, 1) pp. 51-67 JSTOR
  • W.R. Connor, "A Post Modernist Thucydides?" Classical Journal 72 (1977), pp. 289-98 JSTOR
This article calls into question Thucydides' unwavering objectivity in the History and suggests that he may have been much more emotionally involved than he lets on. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aglids (talkcontribs)
  • This article by W.R. Connor accounts a transfer in how Thucydides writings are viewed. Early classicists, as Connor reports, viewed Thucydides as a completely objective source of history. In contrast, more recent classicists view his work as being influenced by his own emotions. The author quotes many other classicists, but very rarely, if at all, quotes Thucydides' work directly. While this article is a good comparison of differing views on Thucydides, it may not be very useful if one is looking for direct quotes or ideas from Thucydides himself. In closing, the author presents their main point of positive and negative lessons learned from the works cited, stating, "The negative lesson is not to rely excessively on Thucydides' explicit statements, since so may of these were never intended to bear a wider interpretive burden. The positive lesson is that Thucydides' text is often the best possible commentary on istelf" (Connor 298). Diestelt 23:21, April 13, 2011 (UTC)
  • W.R. Connor, Thucydides, Princeton, 1984 [PA4461 .C58]

  • Francis M. Cornford, Thucydides Mythistoricus, London, 1907 Google Books
  • This book examines the objectivity of Thucydides' writing. The author assumes that the reader has already read Thucydides' The Peloponnesian War, but also takes time to review the events that he had discussed in his book. According to the author, Thucydides was not the objective historian that most people make him out to be. Barkerk 00:33, April 19, 2011 (UTC)
  • Desmond, William D. - Lessons of fear : a reading of Thucydides. CPh 2006 101 (4) : 359-379. JSTOR
    • This article argues that although Thucydides has a quite dispassionate style of recording history, he believes the very causes of the war he is documenting are rooted deeply in the passionate and emotional nature of men, the most paramount of which is fear. Although Thucydides indeed focuses on facts, figures, and numbers in his consideration of wartime feats or follies, his emphasis on "prudent, rational fear" demonstrate that the complexity and unpredictability of life forces any side in war, no matter how well prepared, to be afraid of any possible outcome - and not to do so would be a grave miscalculation. Thucydides even announces this opinion at the very beginning of the History, although it may not have been shared by his contemporaries: "For I consider the truest cause, though the one least apparent in speech, was that the growing power of the Athenians alarmed the Lacedaemonians and forced them into war." Whatever the reasons for fear, whether for being conquered or losing acquisitions, Thucydides does not view fear as an impediment but as a benefit; he believes "mutual fear is the only trustworthy basis of an alliance." Desmond suggests that this concept could lead to a different interpretation of the entire History - it is not so much an examination of human nature or a record of historical events as it is a lesson on the importance of fear for all readers. Aglids 17:41, May 10, 2011 (UTC)

  • K.J. Dover, Thucydides, Oxford, 1973 [PA4461.D65]
  • Peter Euben, The Tragedy of Political Theory, Princeton, 1990 [PA3136 .E93]
On the civil war in Corcyra (Book 3).
  • Cynthia Farrar, The Origins of Democratic Thinking, Cambridge, 1988 [JC75.D36]
Thucydides as a political philosopher.
  • John H. Finley, Three Essays on Thucydides, Cambridge, Mass., 1967 [PA4461.F5 1967]
    • This book contains three essays regarding Thucydides. The first compares the work of Thucydides to that of Euripides, mentioning how understanding the works of one helps understand that of the other. Both writers had a similar rhetorical tradition and similar thoughts. The second essay concerns the origins of Thucydides' style, commenting on how 'his style, like the arguments of his speeches and many of his own ideas, appear to reflect the Athens he knew before his exile' (Finley 58).He believes this style also was influenced by Gorgias, a sophist rhetorician, as well as Aristophanes. Finley goes on to also talk about the modern debate concerning the origin on this style among classical scholars. Finally, the last essay is about the unity of Thucydides' 'History' and how all the books can together at varying times instead of just being written one after another. Here, accuracy and evidence-gathering by Thucydides also comes into question" Zaidi2013 23:55, April 20, 2011 (UTC)
  • Steven Forde, "Thucydides on the Causes of Athenian Imperialism," The American Political Science Review (Volume 80, #2), pp. 433-448 JSTOR
    • In this article, Forde talks about why the Athenians were so focused on expanding and their imperialistic ideas. On the very first page of the article, Forde connects the imperialistic nature of Athens to human nature. "And turns very much on the question of whether or to what extent Athenian imperialism is rooted in deeper principles of human nature" (Forde, 433). This line specifically caught my attention because Tacitus says something similar in his Histories, "From time immemorial, man has had an instinctive love of power. With the growth of our empire, this instinct has become a dominant and uncontrollable force" (Tacitus, Histories, 2.38). He says that one of the main things that drove the Athenian imperialism was their daring attitude, which sometimes became reckless. Although Forde mentioned Pericles' funeral orations, he did not think that it was an example of them being overconfident, even though the argument can be made that Pericles was adding to the fuel of the Athenian's confidence by saying how great they are. Pearlmanspencer 00:21, May 24, 2011 (UTC)
  • Edith Foster, Thucydides, Pericles, and Periclean Imperialism, Cambridge, 2010 review
    • This article by Christopher Baron reviews a piece of literature written by Edith Foster than analyzes book one and two of Thucydides’ work. Baron acknowledges a theme within the books that Foster believes is of central focus of Thucydides. This theme of warfare and wartime materials helps Foster establish an argument that “…Thucydides, despite his admiration for Pericles’ political skills, did not share his views on imperialism…” (Baron). This article gives a brief summary of the arguments raised by Foster and also raises some questions that might arise following reading Foster’s work. Baron offers small input into Thucydides actual work, but rather critiques Foster’s view of Thucydides work. This article does raise some interest in whether Thucydides did actually disagree with Pericles ideas on warfare and wartime materials. Through examination of large portions of Thucydides text Baron brings rise that Thucydides structured his speeches, digression and summaries to follow the central idea of warfare and wartime materials eventually leading to failure and downfall.Stuarts 17:03, April 14, 2011 (UTC)
  • Simon Hornblower, Thucydides, London, 1987 [DF229.T6 H67] Siena Library
  • Simon Hornblower, Thucydidean Themes, Oxford, 2011
  • W. Julian Korab-Karpowicz, How International Relations Theorists Can Benefit by Reading Thucydides, The Monist v. 89 no. 2 (April 2006), p. 232-244 HW Wilson
    • This article seeks to refashion the widespread opinion that Thucydides holds a purley realist view of international relations, where there is no room for considerations of ethics or justice. Korab-Karpowicz maintains that while Thucydides values a realist perspective above all in making political decisions, he believes that an empire unrestrained by some sense of morality knows no limits, and is doomed to fail by ever desiring more and more power. Korab-Karpowicz especially uses the Melian Dialogue to demonstrate the contrasting ideologies of realism vs. idealism, then examines the implications of the Athenians' selfish pride and expedience within the context of the rest of the war. Although the Athenians' realist argument is full of logic and rationality, which Thucydides admires, their neglect of moral judgement leads them down the path of uncontrolled selfishness and greed, ending in their defeat in the Peloponnesian War. As the author puts it, and he believes Thucydides would agree, "it is utopian to ignore the selfishness of the states and be blind to the reality of power in international relations, but it is equally blind to rely on power alone" (Korab-Karpowicz). Korab-Karpowicz discusses Thucydides also in his article on "Political Realism in International Relations" published by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and in his new book On the History of Political Philosophy: Great Political Thinkers from Thucydides to Locke. Aglids 15:39, April 26, 2011 (UTC)
  • H.D.F. Kitto, Poiesis: Structure and Thought, Sather Classical Lectures, Berkeley, 1967 [PA3054 .K5]
  • Nancy Kokaz, "Moderating Power: a Thucydidean perspective," Review of International Studies (Vol 27, #1), pp. 27--49 Pearlmanspencer 00:21, May 24, 2011 (UTC)
  • Colin Macleod, Collected Essays, Oxford, 1983 [PA3003 .M32]
  • Adam Parry, Logos and Ergon in Thucydides, diss. Harvard 1987 [PA4461.P3 1981]
On the conflicting concepts of "word" and "deed."
  • Antonios Rengakos and Antonis Tsakmakis, Brill's Companion to Thucydides, Leiden, 2006 [DF229.T6 B75] Canisius Library
  • Jacqueline de Romilly, Thucydides and Athenian Imperialism, trans. P. Thody, Oxford, 1963 [PA4461.R733]
  • Tim Rood, Thucydides: Narrative and Explanation, Oxford, 2004 [DF229.T6 R64 2004]
Rood gives a great analysis on Thucydides' writing techniques and the reasons for why he has written a certain way. One important characteristic of Thucydides' style is his chronological technique when dealing with the problem of synchrocity. He interrupts events with other events that are going on at the same time to suggest parallels between each. However by using the chronological scheme of events occurring in order from summer to winter by saying "During the same summer" or "The next winter" he divides material such as the sieges of Mytilene and Plataia which makes them seem less significant. Overall Rood shows that there are advantages and disadvantages of Thucydides' style of writing.Cpao03 16:12, April 21, 2011 (UTC)
  • Jeffrey S. Rusten (ed.), Thucydides, Oxford Readings in Classical Studies, Oxford, 2009 [DF229.T6 T52 2009] Colgate Library
  • G.E.M. de Ste. Croix, The Origins of the Peloponnesian War, Ithaca, 1972 [DF229.2.D46 1972]
  • Martha Taylor, "Implicating the Demos: A Reading of Thucydides on the Rise of the Four Hundred," The Journal of Hellenic Studies (Volume 122), pp. 91-108 JSTOR
In the first few pages of Taylor's article, she talks about some of the language Thucydides uses when explaining the rise of the Four Hundred's power. Instead of writing in an unbiased tone, she notices that Thucydides' tone changed quite dramatically during the passages on its rise. "His use of the words, 'put an end to their liberty' suggests an oppressive takeover much against the will of the Athenian majority..." (91). This is very interesting because of the harsh language Thucydides chose to use. When referring to the Four Hundreds, Thucydides quite regularly voiced his opinions through his words. "They put to death a rather small number, whom they found it convenient to have out of the way, imprisoned others, and also banished some" (8.70). This choice of language indicates that Thucydides was very against the idea of an Oligarchic government. Pearlmanspencer 00:42, April 26, 2011 (UTC)
  • A. Geoffrey Woodhead, Thucydides on the Nature of Power, Cambridge, Mass., 1970 [PA25 .M3]

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