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V. Composition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2016

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Thucydides refers in ii. 65. 12 and v. 26. 1, 3 f., to the total duration and ending of the Peloponnesian War (cf. i. 23. 1, its ‘great length’). His work, as we have it, breaks off abruptly while narrating the events of the autumn of 411, and it is clear that no continuation beyond that point attributable to Thucydides himself was known to the Greeks of the fourth century. It would therefore seem prima facie that Thucydides embarked on the writing of his work after the surrender of Athens in 404 but died before he could complete the task. He tells us in i. 1. 1 that he started to write a history of the war as soon as it broke out; but since the intention to write the history of a war which has only just begun is most naturally realized by making jottings as it proceeds, correcting and revising them as new information becomes available, and only when the war is over converting this material into a continuous readable narrative, i. 1. 1 is compatible with the hypothesis that the whole surviving work of Thucydides was written, in the order and in the form in which we have it, after 404. Apart from explicit references (mentioned above) to the end of the war, there are other passages which tend to support this hypothesis: in iv. 81. 2 a forward reference to the war after 413, in v. 1 a reference back to iii. 104. Then there are passages containing ‘only’ or a superlative: vii. 44. 1, ‘the only occasion during this war . . .’, vii. 87. 5, ‘the greatest achievement in this war’.

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Copyright © The Classical Association 1973

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page no 14 note 1 Cf.Hammond, N. G. L., CQ xxxiv (1940), 146-52Google Scholar.

page no 15 note 1 Cf.Canfora, L., Tucidide Continuato (Padova, 1970), 17-40, 51-3Google Scholar.

page no 15 note 2 Cf. Canfora (op. cit. above), 23, on the relevance of 104. 4.

page no 16 note 1 Cf.Hammond, N. G. L., CQ N.S. ix (1952), 127-41CrossRefGoogle Scholar, especially 134-6.

page no 16 note 2 Propounded by Andrewes, A., CQ N.S. ix (1959), 223-39Google Scholar.

page no 16 note 3 Whether or not Athens deliberately created a situation in which Sparta had no alternative to fight a war of self-preservation ( Sealey, R., CQ N.S. vii [1957], 112 CrossRefGoogle Scholar) is a historical question which different people answer differently; to the separate, linguistic question, ‘Do φόβονπαρέχίΐν and άναγκάξειν necessarily imply conscious intention?’ the answer is certainly ‘No’.

page no 16 note 4 Cf. Hammond (above, p. 14 n. 1).

page no 17 note 1 Plato Menexenus 243A seems to have misinterpreted Thucydides’ τά πρόσφορα, for Thucydides is referring to the vendettas which drove Alcibiades and others into exile. Cf. (misunderstanding or parody?) Mnx. 243D ៅ Thuc. ii. 65. 12.

page no 17 note 2 Cf. v. 103. 1.

page no 17 note 3 Cf.Gomme, A. W., More Essays in Greek History and Literature (Oxford, 1962), 95101 Google Scholar. Some, however, date VT-VII as a whole after the war, e.g. Schadewaldt, W., Die Geschichtsschreibung des Thukydides (Berlin, 1929), 1121 Google Scholar.

page no 18 note 1 Cf.Andrewes, A., Historia x (1961), 118 Google Scholar. Thucydides speaks (iv. 50. 3) of an Athenian embassy which set off for Persia in 425/4 but turned back; this would have happened before Thucydides left Athens.

page no 18 note 2 Rehm, A., Philologus lxxxix (1934), 133-60Google Scholar.

page no 19 note 1 Cf.Patzer, H., Das Problem der Geschichtsschreibung des Thukydides und die thukydideische Frage (Berlin, 1937)Google Scholar; he underrates some difficulties.

page no 19 note 2 Das Geschichtswerk des Thukydides (Bonn, 1919).

page no 20 note 1 Cf.Meyer, Carl, Die Urkunden im Geschichtswerk des Thukydides (Munich, 1955), 3657.Google Scholar

page no 20 note 2 Canfora (above, p. 15 n. I), 92. He argues that ‘I’ in Thuc. v. 26. 4-6 means ‘I, Xenophon’; it is then necessary for him to treat the first part of v. 26. 1 and the words ές Άμφίπολιν in 26. 5 as interpolated.

page no 20 note 3 Cf.Pohlenz, M., ‘Thukydidesstudien I’, in his Kleine Schriften ii (Hildesheim, 1965), 210-53.Google Scholar

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V. Composition
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