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Thucydides and Herodotus$
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Edith Foster and Donald Lateiner

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199593262

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199593262.001.0001

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Thucydides as ‘Reader’ of Herodotus

Thucydides as ‘Reader’ of Herodotus

(p.39) 3 Thucydides as ‘Reader’ of Herodotus
Thucydides and Herodotus

Philip A. Stadter

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that Thucydides, like Herodotus, resolved to write a work that would bring out the role of human nature in historical events. He intended, however, to express himself even more clearly and forcefully than the Halicarnassian, and in a manner more appropriate for a citizen of an imperial city, one who knew power at first hand. In interpreting Herodotus, Thucydides rethought his predecessor's modes of presentation, subject, and themes. He adopted Herodotus' treatment of war by campaign seasons for his whole narrative. Significant echoes from Herodotus gave focus and power to his narrative. While continuing and expanding the theme of suffering, he gave more importance to the polis, seen as a unit and a historical actor. Thucydides took over and further developed Herodotus' narrative techniques, including authoritative statements by the narrator, speeches, vivid description, and dialogue. Like Herodotus, Thucydides recounts the past as an invitation to look to the future.

Keywords:   Thucydides, Herodotus, human nature, historical events, polis, Greek historians

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