Thucydides quotes

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Thucydides

Thucydides was an Athenian historian and general. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the fifth-century BC war between Sparta and Athens until the year 411 BC. Thucydides has been dubbed the father of "scientific history" by those who accept his claims to have applied strict standards of impartiality and evidence-gathering and analysis of cause and effect, without reference to intervention by the deities, as outlined in his introduction to his work.He also has been called the father of the school of political realism, which views the political behavior of individuals and the subsequent outcomes of relations between states as ultimately mediated by, and constructed upon, the emotions of fear and self-interest. His text is still studied at universities and military colleges worldwide. The Melian dialogue is regarded as a seminal work of international relations theory, while his version of Pericles' Funeral Oration is widely studied by political theorists, historians, and students of the classics.

More generally, Thucydides developed an understanding of human nature to explain behaviour in such crises as plagues, massacres, and civil war. Wikipedia

Works

„they possess most gold and silver, by which war, like everything else, flourishes.“

—  Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

Book VI, 6.34; "they have abundance of gold and silver, and these make war, like other things, go smoothly" ( trans. http://www.classicpersuasion.org/pw/thucydides/jthucbk6rv2.htm Benjamin Jowett)
History of the Peloponnesian War, Book VI

„So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand.“

—  Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

Variant translation: "...the search for truth strains the patience of most people, who would rather believe the first things that come to hand." Translation by Paul Woodruff.
Book I, 1.20-[3]
History of the Peloponnesian War, Book I

„The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.“

—  Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

Variant translations:<p>But the palm of courage will surely be adjudged most justly to those, who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure and yet are never tempted to shrink from danger. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+2.40.3<p>And they are most rightly reputed valiant, who though they perfectly apprehend both what is dangerous and what is easy, are never the more thereby diverted from adventuring. (translation by Thomas Hobbes http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=771&chapter=90127&layout=html&Itemid=27)<p>
Book II, 2.40-[3]
History of the Peloponnesian War, Book II

„In generosity we are equally singular, acquiring our friends by conferring, not by receiving, favours.“

—  Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

Book II, 2.40-[3]
History of the Peloponnesian War, Book II
Context: Again, in our enterprises we present the singular spectacle of daring and deliberation, each carried to its highest point, and both united in the same persons; although usually decision is the fruit of ignorance, hesitation of reflection. But the palm of courage will surely be adjudged most justly to those, who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure and yet are never tempted to shrink from danger. In generosity we are equally singular, acquiring our friends by conferring, not by receiving, favours.

„I could have wished that the reputations of many brave men were not to be imperilled in the mouth of a single individual, to stand or fall according as he spoke well or ill. For it is hard to speak properly upon a subject where it is even difficult to convince your hearers that you are speaking the truth.“

—  Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

Book II, 2.35-[1]-[3]
History of the Peloponnesian War, Book II
Context: I could have wished that the reputations of many brave men were not to be imperilled in the mouth of a single individual, to stand or fall according as he spoke well or ill. For it is hard to speak properly upon a subject where it is even difficult to convince your hearers that you are speaking the truth. On the one hand, the friend who is familiar with every fact of the story may think that some point has not been set forth with that fullness which he wishes and knows it to deserve; on the other, he who is a stranger to the matter may be led by envy to suspect exaggeration if he hears anything above his own nature. For men can endure to hear others praised only so long as they can severally persuade themselves of their own ability to equal the actions recounted: when this point is passed, envy comes in and with it incredulity.

„Again, in our enterprises we present the singular spectacle of daring and deliberation, each carried to its highest point, and both united in the same persons; although usually decision is the fruit of ignorance, hesitation of reflection.“

—  Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

Book II, 2.40-[3]
History of the Peloponnesian War, Book II
Context: Again, in our enterprises we present the singular spectacle of daring and deliberation, each carried to its highest point, and both united in the same persons; although usually decision is the fruit of ignorance, hesitation of reflection. But the palm of courage will surely be adjudged most justly to those, who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure and yet are never tempted to shrink from danger. In generosity we are equally singular, acquiring our friends by conferring, not by receiving, favours.

„Ignorance produces rashness, reflection timidity“

—  Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

Book II, 40.3
History of the Peloponnesian War, Book II
Original: (el) Ἀμαθία μὲν θράσος, λογισμὸς δὲ ὄκνον φέρει

„I have often before now been convinced that a democracy is incapable of empire…“

—  Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

Book III, 3.37-[1] (Speech of Cleon..).
History of the Peloponnesian War, Book III

„here we bless your simplicity but do not envy your folly.“

—  Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

Book V, 5.105-[3]
History of the Peloponnesian War, Book V

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