Thucydides on War and National Character

Synopsis

Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War is one of the classics of ancient military writing, and one of the first truly historical narratives of any kind. In terms of its objective approach to warfare and contemporary political events, Thucydides' account of the epic clash between Athens' empire and Sparta's Peloponnesian League is unequalled in its ability to bring the history of ancient Greece to life. In this book, Robert Luginbill explores Thucydides' concept of national character and its relation to humankind's tendency towards war. He investigates Thucydides' theories on personal and national behavior in times of stress, with an eye for the lessons to be learned in modern times. Luginbill also analyzes the psychological framework behind the History, explicating the origins of the Peloponnesian War within Thucydides' distinct historiographical system, the patterns of individual behavior which account for (and restrain) aggression, and the formation of larger patterns of collective behavior which Thucydides saw as the ultimate cause of war.