Historiography: Thucydides

Starting with an Introduction to Ancient Greek Historiography and Thucydides’ predecessors (especially Herodotus), the course focuses on the work of the great 5th cent. historian with emphasis on the biographical data and the influences –political, philosophical, rhetorical– he was subjected to. Thus, by summarizing the intellectual background of his day, the course introduces students to the basic principles of Thucydides’ historical method. Certain issues are further examined, such as the chronological system he invented, the philosophy of history he introduced (as emerges from his Archeology, 1.2-19), and his rationalism towards the development of historical events but also towards the metaphysical. The course does not fail to focus on the historian’s particular literary style and on issues such as the Orations contained in his work. For this reason, special focus is made on texts such as the Funeral oration (2.34-46), the description of the plague (2.47-54) and the third oration of Pericles (2.59-64).


• This course aims to introduce students to Ancient Greek Historiography as a genre, focusing on the intellectual background and the influences Thucydides received as a writer. Consequently, it aims to familiarize them with his historical method as well as with the specific characteristics of his work, such as the chronological system he invented, his excellent literary style, the formal speeches he inserted in his narration, and the “historical method of reasoning” he introduced. • After the completion of the course, ` students are expected to know the impact of the spiritual milieu of the 5th cent. Athens on Thucydides, something that will enable them to fuller interpret his thought. It is also expected that students will understand the rationality of this great historical thinker and the way he perceived the formation of history. Finally, the basic objective is the fullest literary understanding of this demanding text of Attic literature.


No specific requirements needed.


• Introduction to Ancient Greek Historiography. • The Life and Times of Thucydides; his work as a reflection of his Times; the political, social and intellectual milieu of the 5th cent. Athens. • The basic principles of his method as a historiographer. • The chronological system he applied. • The Thucydidean Philosophy of History, as reflected in his “Archaeology” (I 2-19). • The historian’s rationalization towards Religion and Myth. • His narrative technique and the formal speeches included. • Special emphasis on the stylistic features of his text.






Instructors: Charilaos Avgerinos
Department: Department of Philology
Institution: University of Ioannina
Subject: History and Archaeology
Rights: CC-BY-SA

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