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The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War [Paperback]

Robert B. Strassler , Victor Davis Hanson
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 10 1998
Thucydides called his account of two decades of war between Athens and Sparta "a possession for all time," and indeed it is the first and still most famous work in the Western historical tradition. Considered essential reading for generals, statesmen, and liberally educated citizens for more than 2,000 years, The Peloponnesian War is a mine of military, moral, political, and philosophical wisdom.
However, this classic book has long presented obstacles to the uninitiated reader. Robert Strassler's new edition removes these obstacles by providing a new coherence to the narrative overall, and by effectively reconstructing the lost cultural context that Thucydides shared with his original audience. Based on the venerable Richard Crawley translation, updated and revised for modern readers. The Landmark Thucydides includes a vast array of superbly designed and presented maps, brief informative appendices by outstanding classical scholars on subjects of special relevance to the text, explanatory marginal notes on each page, an index of unprecedented subtlety, and numerous other useful features.
In any list of the Great Books of Western Civilization, The Peloponnesian War stands near the top. This authoritative new edition will ensure that its greatness is appreciated by future generations.

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The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War + The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories + The Landmark Arrian: The Campaigns of Alexander
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Product Description

From Amazon

Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War is one of the great books in the Western tradition, as well as its first true historical narrative. Editor Robert Strassler has annotated this classic text to make it more accessible to modern readers and added dozens of maps for easy reference. A helpful introduction places Thucydides in proper historical context and a series of short appendices focus on particular aspects of life and war during the period. But the bulk of the book itself, where Thucydides chronicles the long struggle between Athens and Sparta, enjoys an unexpected freshness on these pages--partly due to Strassler's magnificent editorial labors, but mostly because it's a great story resonant with heroes, villains, bravery, desperation, and tragedy. Every library should have a copy of Thucydides in it, especially libraries on military history, and The Landmark Thucydides is without question the best version available. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Strassler, an unaffiliated scholar of classical studies, has remedied many of the flaws of Richard Crawley's 1874 translation of The Peloponnesian War. He has added descriptive paragraph-by-paragraph synopses, topic headers on every page, numerous maps keyed to the adjoining text, explanatory footnotes, an extensive index, an excellent introduction by Victor Davis Hanson (California State Univ.), and 11 appendixes (by various scholars) on politics, warfare, and society in the Greece of the fifth century B.C.E. What the editor has done he has done well, creating a valuable basic reference for students of ancient history. His work has only two flaws: it lacks a substantial bibliography, having only a two-page "concise" one; and the price will put it out of reach of many institutions. For academic libraries and others with large history collections.?James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, Va.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Thucydides, an Athenian, wrote the history of the war between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians, beginning at the moment that it broke out, and believing that it would be a great war, and more worthy of relation than any that had precede it. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book and version ever May 15 2004
I found this book on sale in a bookstore in Nijmegen, Holland. It looked very appealing, I bought it, took it home with me and waited for several months before I read it. I am not a scholar, nor a historian, I am interested in history and in fact rather than fiction. The splendid appendices gave insight in much of the text and maps are a definite plus.
As for the book itself. The further along you get, the more you are drawn into it. It really has the aura of an eye witness account. But somehow Thucydides manages to go beyond mere history and trancend the story into a classic Greek drama, the rise and fall of Athens. By the time the Athean fleet sails for Sicily I realised his very factual style of writing had turned an historic event of over two thousand years ago into harsh everyday reality. Here's a man struggling with depicting a war he was part of, with losses that he himself felt, with the downfall of a country that was his.
After reading it, I read Livius. The difference to me is stunning. Whereas Livius writes from a very chauvinistic Roman viewpoint, Thucydides actually tried to write a factual account. Even more stunning that Livius didn't manage objectivity with events hundreds of years ago and Thucydides did with events in his own lifetime.
Read it as you would read a newspaper.
Recently, I've often seen the book misquoted and its authority misused, suggesting that few people actually read it.
Do yourselves a favour, buy it, put it on your bookshelves and for God's sake, read it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Edition of Thucydides!!! July 13 2006
As someone who has always been interested in ancient Greek history but have never studied it in any depth, Thucydides' "History of the Peloponnesian War" was the best place to start. More importantly with "The Landmark Thucydides"! First of all the translation was excellent, very easy for a contemporay of the 21st century to understand. The introduction, appendices, footnotes, glossery, and index all accumulate to give you a wealth of knowledge and perspective. Not just on clarifying whats happening in the narrative, but all the background information, and extra insights into the Classical Greek world really puts everything in context and allows modern readers to really appreciate why the different Greeks acted as they did.

By the end of the book it leaves you with a wealth of information that leaves you craving more, and in so doing, prompting you to go out and find other works, by both ancient and contemporary writers about this fascinating period of western civilization.

I owe a great debt to the compilers of this edition, not the least of which Thucydides' himself, for at least in regards myself, taking a spark of knowledge and appreciation of this wonderfully fascinating time, and turning it into a full blown firestorm of inquiry and excitment.

This is an excellent book and an excellent edition!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reading copy Sept. 28 2011
By Kirialax TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As per usual, I am not reviewing Thucydides as an historian, merely this edition of the text. 'The Landmark Thucydides' is a great introductory translation of the text due to its contextualizing materials. Whereas the Penguin Classics History Of The Peloponnesian War has quite limited support material, such things overflow in the Landmark. Eleven appendices are placed in the rear of the book, dealing with topics such as trireme warfare, dating systems, and classical Greek currency. These papers are all written by experts in their respected fields. Most of the names are recognizable to those who study the Greek world, and the papers themselves are simply quite good for being one or two pages in length. The actual text in this edition is clear and easy to read. I did not check any particular passages against the Greek, but I'm trusting the translation based upon how widely read Thucydides is and how Strassler seems to be familiar with a great volume of scholarship. One area where this book does fall short is in the notes. Most references at the bottom of each page refer to the omnipresent maps which define the Landmark series (and these maps are very good and helpful when reading the text). However, the footnotes frequently repeat themselves time and again, defining the same terms over and over again. I'm just not sure how many times it described terms like "metic" or "hoplite" over and over again. The book also has a nice afterward describing the end of the Peloponnesian War for those who want an end to the story but are not yet ready to delve into Xenophon's Hellenica.

This is a very handy edition of Thucydides due to the great variety and good quality of the supporting materials.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great presentation Sept. 17 2003
I have to say this is a fantastic presentation of Thucydides although I have not read him in the original Greek and therefore am not qualified to pass judgement on the translation. But I also notice that Victor Hanson provided the bibliography rather than the author and no sources are quoted for the essays at the back and the bibliography is mostly secondary sources. Yes, this book is meant for the masses, but I would prefer an approach more similar to the Penguin Herodotus. Nevertheless, the maps are useful and the book is well worth reading.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
The maps and margin notes make understanding this rather complex history much easier - this is a benefit for those approaching classical history or Greek politics for the first... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Tim Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
This is a beautiful and immensely helpful edition. I wish some of the translations were a little more literal but at the same time it is very readable and poetic. Read more
Published on March 2 2012 by Ovidius
5.0 out of 5 stars A primer for existentialists....
]I need not comment on the inherent importance nor quality of Thucydides' work. I just noted that no one has commented on the influence of this work on Albert Camus and Jean-Paul... Read more
Published on April 27 2010 by Johnny Darkness
5.0 out of 5 stars The place to start studying the Peloponnesian War
This edition of Thucydides is the right source to begin a study of the Peloponnesian War. The appendices and margin notes, and the multitude of maps, conveniently located in the... Read more
Published on Aug. 23 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good First Thucydides
I read this edition along with the Hobbes translation (Green, ed.) and despite having read through Thucydides several times before, Thucydides, despite claiming to write a... Read more
Published on July 28 2003 by James Liu
5.0 out of 5 stars A soulmate to the American Founders from 2700 years ago
The Classic Greeks created intellectual and cultural innovations in human associations that have had lasting impact on human society. Read more
Published on July 25 2003 by Frank T. Manheim
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive but not Compact!
Thucydides' "The Peloponnesian War" is one of the most important pieces of literature of the West. It's a book that gets less credit than it deserves, most likely because it's... Read more
Published on May 25 2003 by Brian B
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Landmark!
A completely superlative work! Thucydides wrote, during the infancy of history, a masterful study of the Great War of his time, the 27 year, with one brief interlude, struggle... Read more
Published on March 6 2003 by Catherine A. McClarey
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous layout, but Thucydides in the end
Without question, Strassler's edition needs to be the standard edition by which source texts of any kind are measured. Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2003 by S. McMullin
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