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The Mind of Thucydides Synopsis

The publication of Jacqueline de Romilly's Histoire et raison chez Thucydide in 1956 virtually transformed scholarship on Thucydides. Rather than mining The Peloponnesian War to speculate on its layers of composition or second-guess its accuracy, it treated it as a work of art deserving rhetorical and aesthetic analysis. Ahead of its time in its sophisticated focus upon the verbal texture of narrative, it proved that a literary approach offered the most productive and nuanced way to study Thucydides. Still in print in the original French, the book has influenced numerous Classicists and historians, and is now available in English for the first time in a careful translation by Elizabeth Trapnell Rawlings. The Cornell edition includes an introduction by Hunter R. Rawlings III and Jeffrey Rusten tracing the context of this book's original publication and its continuing influence on the study of Thucydides. Romilly shows that Thucydides constructs his account of the Peloponnesian War as a profoundly intellectual experience for readers who want to discern the patterns underlying historical events. Employing a commanding logic that exercises total control over the data of history, Thucydides uses rigorous principles of selection, suggestive juxtapositions, and artfully opposed speeches to reveal systematic relationships between plans and outcomes, impose meaning on the smallest events, and insist on the constant battle between intellect and chance. Thucydides' mind found in unity and coherence its ideal of historical truth.

The Mind of Thucydides Press Reviews

This translation is valuable in making more widely available a book which, though half a century old, has endured as a classic of Thucydidean scholarship. Reading this book will give all those who encounter Thucydides, whether in the original Greek or in translation, much more of a feeling for the texture of his language. The chapter on the Archaeology is particularly significant: it remains the most lucid analysis of Thucydides' techniques in this important section of the work. -- Timothy Rood, St Hugh's College, University of Oxford, author of Thucydides: Narrative and Explanation Students at every level, from undergraduates to advanced scholars, will be grateful for this English translation of Histoire et raison chez Thucydide, the best of all Jacqueline de Romilly's many and distinguished publications on Thucydides, and one of the best books on Thucydides of any period and in any language. It was way ahead of its time in its sophisticated examination of Thucydides' narrative technique. -- Simon Hornblower, University of Oxford, author of Thucydides and Pindar: Historical Narrative and the World of Epinikian Poetry Rawlings has done a great favor to students of Thucydides by making Romilly's work available to an English-speaking audience. With this work Romilly revolutionized how scholars approached and studied Thucydides. Instead of analyzing the accuracy of his narrative on the Peloponnesian War, Romilly examines how Thucydides thought. She treats the history like a piece of intellectual art and Thucydides like an artist. -- Nikolaus Overtoom, Louisiana State University * H-War *

Book Information

ISBN: 9780801450631
Publication date: 3rd August 2012
Author: Jacqueline de Romilly, Jeffrey S. Rusten
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 216 pages
Categories: European history,

About Jacqueline de Romilly, Jeffrey S. Rusten

Jacqueline de Romilly (1913-2010) was a distinguished scholar of Greek history and culture. In 1973, she became Chair of Greek at the College de France, the first woman nominated to this prestigious institution. In 1988, she was elected to the Academie Francaise as the second woman member, after Marguerite Yourcenar. Romilly was an A.D. White Professor at large at Cornell from 1974 to 1980. Hunter R. Rawlings III is President of the Association of American Universities and Professor of Classics and History at Cornell University, where he served as president from 1995 to 2003. He is the author of The Structure of Thucydides' History and ...

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