Thucydides: Quoting and Misquoting

P. K. Gautam was a Consultant at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detail profile.
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • November 2018

    The Peloponnesian war was fought from 431 to 401 BC between the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta and the Athenian Empire, known as the Delian League led by Pericles, the ruler of Athens. In the initial phase of the war, Thucydides (460–395 BC) was removed from command by the Athenian government after he failed as the commanding general to prevent a Spartan occupation of Amphipolis. He was exiled for 20 years. This came as a blessing in disguise for the scholar in him. The exiled general now had the scholarly atmosphere of solitude to write his book as the war was fought. It is also known that he visited both sides and his work is also based on field work and oral history as we know it today. These set of circumstances gave him an opportunity to get to know the Spartans as well as Athenians. In the end, Sparta was the victor and Athens the vanquished.