The Reception of Thucydides in the Theory and Practice of Hellenistic Historiography


Tyche Supplementband 14


The book explores the question of the readership of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War and its impact on historiography in the Hellenistic age. By in-depth analysis of the ancient evidence, in particular of the fragmentary authors, and thorough revision of the approaches to the subject adopted until now, it provides a fresh appraisal of the place of Thucydides in the Hellenistic historical writing.

The study is organized into five chapters, each of them covering a different aspect of the reception of the History. It includes a thorough and up-to-date synoptic introduction, an appendix, and extensive bibliography, setting each chapter in the context of broader scholarship. Beginining with a discussion of Thucydides and of the various views on his influence, the work proceeds to scrutinize all explicit evidence of the use of the History from the fourth century BC onwards, assessing its circulation in the period in question. Further, a reading of Thucydides’ chapter on method is offered, which forms a basis for investigation how the principles articulated there have been echoed by the Hellenistic authors. This is followed by an enquiry into the remaining pieces of the treatises about theory of historiography that mention Thucydides. The final section demonstrates that certain passages of the History were admired for their vividness and imitated by the Hellenistic historians.

Overall, the monograph brings a balanced perspective to the complex issue of various responses to Thucydides in the Hellenistic period. With this book, both classical scholars and advanced students shall receive an insightful overview of the manifold aspects of the History and the historical writing in the centuries between the death of Alexander the Great and the emergence of the Roman Empire.