12. Thucydides (ca. 470/460 – ca. 400 BC)

History of the Peloponnesian War

  Original language: Greek.

I read the Rex Warner translation, published 1954 revised 1972, by Penguin.

It’s interesting because the book deals with international law. It was not called that then, but these are different nations and they were working on matters of law between them. 

Another really interesting thing is that the oracle at Delphi was one of the few institutions common to all of Greece. It was sometimes asked to decide disputes between nations. 

I really enjoyed this book. Great detailed descriptions of military battles and strategy. And also interesting on the politics of the time. 

Sidebar: Robert Caro mentions in his multivolume biography of Lyndon B. Johnson that Senator Richard B. Russell enjoyed reading Thucydides and other Classical historians (Master of the Senate, p. 173). Whatever his intellectual achievements, Russell was a diehard segregationist who represented Georgia in the senate for over 40 years and never dropped his opposition to civil rights.


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