Thucydides: modest historian
Thucydides is a historian who was aspiring to an objective statement to the fact, establishments of relationships of cause and effect without excessive sending to gods. Its work “History” where Thucydides states the course the Peloponnesian War, allows to learn not only the political reasons of military operations, but also social and economic sources of this event.
Thucydides it is considered to be date of birth 460 g BC. Future historian was born in a rich and notable family. His father, Oloros, was the lineal descendant of the Thracian tsar Oloros. Mother and Grandmother Thucydides also belonged to the Thracian aristocracy. About it wrote that it belonged to “Cimon to the house”, that is was Miltiades’s relative — the winner of Persians at the Marathon, and his son Cimon — the well-known Greek commander. Really, Thucydides was the typical aristocrat of Ancient Greece. His family owned extensive estates and gold mines in Thrace.
As the main source of information on Thucydides is his own “History”, data on the childhood and youth of future historian didn’t remain. Only that Thucydides since early years was fond of history is known, was present at Herodotus’ lectures and was trained in Athens. Most likely, Thucydides became the moderate supporter of democratic views is formed in that time. Later in the works, he supported supporters of party of Pericles.
Pericles’s lectures always got a response in souls of people.
From first years of military operations Thucydides appeared in their center. He became a witness not only fight of political parties (democracy and oligarchy), but also its consequences. Therefore the “History” written him later differed in impartiality, objectivity in a statement of the political, social and economic reasons of the beginning of military operations.
For the second year of war in Athens plague epidemic burst. The illness concerned also Thucydides, but he managed to recover and avoid the heaviest complications quickly.
As it is known from works of the historian in 424 BC he was elected as strategist and at the head of the Athenian squadron is sent to the coast of Thrace for protection of the Athenian possession. Data on the military of Thucydides training aren’t present, but the policy of Athens was such is that only those who had sufficient and successful experience in military science were appointed to high positions. It allows to speak about c not only as about the brilliant historian, but also the successful military the strategist.
War between Sparta and Athens was war of two parties – democratic and oligarchical.
For the eighth year of war the Spartan commander Brasidas made the decision to strike blow to northern possession of Athens. Having secured with support of Macedonian and Thracian tsars, Brasidas approached Amhipolis – border of northern Athens. The Athenian strategist Evkl protecting this outpost sent the messenger to Thucydides with a request for the help.
But Thucydides was a later and approached to Amhipolis when that was already captured by Brasidas. Thucydides briefly tells about the failure in the fourth book “History”, didn’t trying to justify. Such lack of justifications allows to understand that Thucydides – the person who got used to recognize own mistakes, keeping the impartiality and objectivity when it is necessary.
Nevertheless, the verdict was such is that Thucydides recognized as the traitor (today the facts confirming real change aren’t present). For change and Amhipolis’s loss, namely it of it was also blamed, he was sentenced to lifelong exile.
Amfipol’s ruins laid the foundation to defeat of Athens in Peloponnesian war.
Expelled from Athens, Thucydides came in Thrace, in the own estate. Within the next twenty years, being far from the homeland, he was engaged in collecting material for the historical work, remaining the detached onlooker and trying to explore the war impartially. Possessing considerable means, Thucydides was able to afford to travel much and, thus, became the witness of the main events of Peloponnesian War.
“History” was divided the work into eight books. The first of them is devoted to extensive introduction to all work and background of Peloponnesian War. Its work remained incomplete, and events in it are brought to fall of 411 BC. But, despite incompleteness of separate parts, “History” is integral work. The first decade of war is described in books with the second on the fourth, to the world the fifth book, the Sicilian expedition is devoted to Niciyev (415–412 years BC) reflected in books of the sixth and seventh, and the latest book tells about Dekeleysko-Ioniysky war and establishment in Athens of oligarchic board of Four hundred.
On the end of military operations in 404 amnesty for all exiles, including and for Thucydides was declared BC. After obtaining the resolution on possibility of return, the historian comes back to Athens where lives the last years of the life.
Thucydides ‘s “history” was published after his death. As the historian Thucydides set for himself a task to display events most objectively and attached great value to critical verification of data which had for a statement. He tried to find out an origin of this or that historical phenomenon, paid special attention to the reasons and occasions of events. Thucydides excludes direct intervention of divine forces in historical events though the historian and doesn’t reject in principle existence of gods or the Divine.
Today Thucydides (460–399/396 BC) by right is considered the greatest historian of antiquity who left the bright and authentic description of one of the most considerable events of ancient history which contemporary he was.