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Narrative Method of Thucydides - Essay Example

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The author focuses on Thucydides who gives a narrative account of the beginning of the Peloponnesian War is a way that is frank and refreshing when compared to many of the other writers in the ancient world. He focused his account on the political and cultural conflicts…
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Narrative Method of Thucydides
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Thucydides gives a narrative account of the beginning of the Peloponnesian War is a way that is frank and refreshing when compared to many of the other writers in the ancient world. He focused his account on the political and cultural conflicts and struggles while downplaying the intervention of deity. In fact, he only briefly mentions the Corinthians consulting the Oracle at Delphi when deciding if they should come to the aid of their friends the Illyrians when harassed by the Corcyraeans. His writing made it clear that the Corinthians were already inclined to come to arms against the Corcyraeans, and the Oracle simply confirmed that their course of action was acceptable. Thucydides in no way indicates that the beginning of the Peloponnesian War was somehow ordained or orchestrated by the gods.
Using a narrative gives Thucydides the ability to draw the reader into the historical record. Unfortunately, plot is most easily established when one party is considered to be correct and the other party wrong. Bias does bleed through at times in the use of adjectives such as “insolent” when referring to the Corinthians. This is almost understandable (almost) as Thucydides was an Athenian. But at other times, fairness is displayed in an almost unparallel manner for the ancient world, such as when Thucydides readily admits that Athenian ships did get carried away and attack Corinthian ships, thus breaking the established treaty. But even in admitting this, Thucydides couches his thoughts in language that suggests the excitement of battle is so overwhelming, who can blame the Athenians for joining in too soon?
For the rendering of this sort of history, Thucydides and his narrative method is perfect. It is true that the focus is not on the social history of these two peoples, but it is still exciting stuff to read. His narration, mostly void of bias, is a great way to convey the beginnings of an important war. Read More
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