This research guide was created in concert with the event “Today’s Thucydides: Power, Politics, and Appropriation” (hosted 28 April, 2023). The resources provide a sampling of recent work on Thucydides and modern receptions of his writings, particularly in political science, as well as a general introduction to Thucydides for those who many be less familiar. The materials are either freely available online or accessible through the Center for Hellenic Studies Library.
Watch the full roundtable discussion here!
A curated list of recent publications on Thucydides and the receptions of ancient historiography. Subjects range from political studies, historiography, philology, and highlight the wide reach of Thucydides on today’s world. All of these titles (and many more) are available at the Center for Hellenic Studies Library.
Featured Publication: Iori, Luca, and Ivan Matijasic, eds. 2022. Thucydides in the ‘Age of Extremes’ and Beyond.
Earley, Benjamin. 2020. The Thucydidean Turn: (Re)Interpreting Thucydides’ Political Thought Before, During, and After the Great War. London.
English, Mary C., and Lee M. Fratantuono. 2019. Pushing the Boundaries of Historia. Abingdon.
Joho, Tobias. 2022. Style & Necessity in Thucydides. Oxford.
Kareklas, Iacovos. 2020. Thucydides on International Law and Political Theory. Lantham, MD.
Kouskouvelis, Ilias. 2019. Thucydides on Choice and Decision-Making: Why War is Not Inevitable. Lantham, MD.
Mills, Sophie. 2020. Drama, Oratory, and Thucydides in Fifth-Century Athens: Teaching Imperial Lessons. New York.
Novo, Andrew R., and Jay M. Parker. 2020. Restoring Thucydides: Testing Familiar Lessons and Deriving New Ones. Amhurst, NY.
Parmeggiani, Giovanni. 2014. Between Thucydides and Polybius: The Golden Age of Greek Historiography. Hellenic Studies 64. Washington, DC.
Thomas, Charlotte C. S., ed. 2019. Power and the People: Thucydides’ History and the American Founding. Macon, GA.
Woodruff, Paul, ed. and trans. 2021. The Essential Thucydides: On Justice, Power, and Human Nature. Indianapolis.
Articles and Curated Journal Issues
Can America and China Escape the Thucydides Trap? 2019. Special Issue, Journal of Chinese Political Science 24(1).
Campbell, Chris. 2022. “The Rhetoric of Hobbes’s Translation of Thucydides.” The Review of Politics 84(1): 1-24. DOI: 10.1017/S0034670521000711.
Jaffe, S. N. 2023. “Vast Personal Forces: Thucydides, Populism, and the Liberty of the Ancients.” The Review of Politics 85(2): 152-169. DOI: 10.1017/S0034670522001231.
Jones, Henry. 2020. “Jowett’s Thucydides: A Corpus-based Analysis of Translation as Political Intervention.” Translation Studies 13(3): 333-351. DOI: 10.1080/14781700.2020.1732230.
Kirschner, Jonathan. 2018. “Handle Him with Care: The Importance of Getting Thucydides Right.” Security Studies 28(1): 1-24. DOI: 10.1080/09636412.2018.150863.
Videos and Podcasts
The first two sources provide a strong introduction to Thucydides, the Peloponnesian War, and Thucydidean Realism, from professors of Classics and Political Science. They also discuss Thucydides’ enduring relevance and modern interpretations of his work. The talk with Matijasic delves into Thucydides’ “Melian Dialogue” and its receptions in antiquity and modernity (the discussion of modern receptions starts at 00:23:31).
Jack, Lantern, and Emily Greenwood. “Thucydides: A Historian for Our Time?” Ancient Greece Declassified. Podcast, 58:17.
Johnson, Laurie. “Thucydides” [YouTube playlist]. Political Philosophy: Dr. Laurie Johnson.
Matijasic, Ivan. “Thucydides’ Melian Dialogue and its Reception.” Kosmos Society Online Open House.
Directions for Further Research
Looking for more information? Here are some resources and ideas of where to get started. You can also schedule a research consultation with the CHS Library, or search our catalog at https://hollis.harvard.edu/.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Library of Congress subject headings (also called a “controlled vocabulary”) can be useful in narrowing results when researching a specific topic or subtopic, and help scholars gain an understanding of the state of a field. Many library catalogs and databases use these subject headings inconsistently, or apply their own subject headings—but these terms are also helpful for keyword searches!
Some relevant Library of Congress Subject Headings include:
Greece—Peloponnesian War, 431-404 B.C.
Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War.
Thucydides—Political and Social Views.
These sources provide a few more options for research in the area of Thucydidean receptions.
Belfer Center. Thucydides’s Trap.
Morley, Neville. 2016. “Why Thucydides?” Eidolon.
Morley, Neville. 2017. “Thucydides and Contemporary Politics: A Syllabus.” Eidolon.