Cover: Chance and Intelligence in Thucydides, from Harvard University PressCover: Chance and Intelligence in Thucydides in E-DITION

Chance and Intelligence in Thucydides

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$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674330795

Publication Date: 01/01/1975

243 pages


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Thinking in opposites was a Greek habit, and the antithesis of chance versus rational planning and competence was a common place in fifth-century Greek thought. In this ably written study Lowell Edmunds shows how Thucydides uses the antithesis of chance and intelligence both to analyze events and to characterize persons. He sets forth the view of the Thucydidean Pericles, in which intelligence is expected to overcome fortune, and contrasts it with that of the Spartans, who had a strong sense of the limitations imposed on the human mind by the power of chance. This difference emerges especially in the story of Nicias, “an Athenian with a Spartan heart.” Thucydides, whose methodology is obviously akin to Athenian rationality, faces a dilemma in the defeat of Athens by Sparta; this leads the author to a discussion of Thucydides’ methods and concept of history.

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