Rowman and Littlefield | The Blinded Eye: Thucydides and the New Written Word

Greek Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches

Foreword by Gregory Nagy, General Editor

In The Blinded Eye, Gregory Crane explores the complex relationships between the medium and content of Thucydides’ History, seeking to trace the evolution of prose history as a genre conditioned by the emerging technology of alphabetic writing. It was Thucydides, Crane argues, who did most to define not only this genre but also the actual concept of the prose monograph – a concept still dominant in the age of print publication.

Crane explores how Thucydides appropriated the peculiar prestige of writing in the fifth century B.C.E. in shaping his new kind of history. Such an appropriation, he argues, led to contradictions and problems, most evident in Thucydides’ polemical stance in ostentatiously stressing some issues while marginalizing others. Crane shows that the disinterest in women for which Thucydides’ History is famous belongs to a larger ideological project that includes, but extends beyond, what some might call the tradition of misogyny. Thucydides excludes not only wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, and other women, but also references to families and family members.

Women, limited as they largely were to the domestic sphere, drop out of his narrative because Thucydides so aggressively concentrates on the polis or city-state, making it the center of his narrative and paying scant attention to the family. As Crane argues, Thucydides’ attempt to create a new aristocratic ideology that subordinated all to the city-state ultimately failed, but the historian did indeed succeed in leaving a permanent mark on European ideas of what history could and should be.

—Gregory Nagy


Building on the foundations of scholarship within the disciplines of philology, philosophy, history, and archaeology, the Greek Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches series published by Rowman & Littlefield concerns not just the archaic and classical periods of Greek traditions but the whole continuum—along with all the discontinuities—from the second millennium BCE to the present. The aim is to enhance perspectives by applying various disciplines to problems that have in the past been treated as the exclusive concern of a single given discipline. Besides the crossing-over of the older disciplines, as in the case of historical and literary studies, the series encourages the application of such newer ones as linguistics, sociology, anthropology, and comparative literature. It also encourages encounters with current trends in methodology, especially in the realm of literary theory.

The Center for Hellenic Studies offers free access to over 100 books and articles. Visit the CHS website and browse our publications for an extended list of book titles on the Classical world and ancient Greek literature.