The School of History: Athens in the Age of Socrates

Synopsis

History, political philosophy, and constitutional law were born in Athens in the space of a single generation--the generation that lived through the Peloponnesian War (431-404 b.c.e.). This remarkable age produced such luminaries as Socrates, Herodotus, Thucydides, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and the sophists, and set the stage for the education and early careers of Plato and Xenophon, among others. "The School of History" provides the fullest and most detailed intellectual and political history available of Athens during the late fifth century b.c.e., as it examines the background, the context, and the decisive events shaping this society in the throes of war. This expansive, readable narrative ultimately leads to a new understanding of Athenian democratic culture, showing why and how it yielded such extraordinary intellectual productivity.

As both a source and a subject, Thucydides' history of the Peloponnesian War is the central text around which the narrative and thematic issuesof the book revolve. Munn re-evaluates the formation of the Greek historiographical tradition itself as he identifies the conditions that prompted Thucydides to write--specifically the historian's desire to guide the Athenian democracy as it struggled to comprehend its future.

"The School of History "fully encompasses recent scholarship in history, literature, and archaeology. Munn's impressive mastery of the huge number of sources and publications informs his substant

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