The first historian in the modern sense, and at least one of the greatest. An Athenian general during the Peloponnesian war, he was banished for twenty years on account of failure in one expedition. His history of the war presents it as a conflict of opposing ideals, political and ethical, as well as of opposing kinds of force, naval and military. The typical Spartan character of endurance, reserve, silent strength, obedience to law, unquestioning devotion to the state, was admired by some of the greatest Athenians, especially Plato, whose ideal seems to have been a blending of this with the more liberal, cultured, humane Athenian type.
THUCYDIDES ii. 37 sq. Greek Text: Bekker. The following translation is by Thomas Hobbes, 1588-1679.
We live not only free in the administration of the state but also one with another, void of jealousy touching each other's daily course of life; not offended at any man for following his own humour, nor casting on any man censorious looks, which though they be no punishment yet they grieve. So that conversing one with another in private without offence, we stand chiefly in fear to transgress against the public, and are obedient always to those that govern, and to the laws, and principally to such laws as are written for protection against injury, and such unwritten as bring undeniable shame to the transgressors. We have also found out many ways to give our minds recreation from labour, by public institution of games, and sacrifices, for all the days of the year, and in the grace with which our private
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Publication information: Book title: Greek Ethical Thought from Homer to the Stoics. Contributors: Hilda D. Oakeley - Author. Publisher: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd.. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1925. Page number: 39.