In this excerpt from The Histories, part of the Old Western Culture series, a Great Books video course, Wes Callihan shows how the reactions that the Athenians had to a defeat is very similar to other reactions of democracies throughout history, and specifically similar to the reaction of the United States to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. Thucydides wants us to make these parallels as he explains at the beginning of “The History of the Peloponnesian War.” YouTube version here.
Thucydides, translated by William Smith, A.M. John Adams wrote to his son, John Quincy Adams, soon after the Declaration of Independence, exhorting him to read Thucydides as a way to be best prepared for the days ahead of him as a leader. Here is the full letter: My dear Son, As the War in which your Country is engaged will probably hereafter attract your Attention, more than it does at this Time, and as the future Circumstances of your Country, may require other Wars, as well as Councils and Negotiations, similar to those which are now in Agitation, I wish to … Continue Reading “John Adams to his son: Read Thucydides”
In this excerpt from The Histories, unit 2 of The Greeks in the Old Western Culture great books series, Wes Callihan talks about the unusual use of the Trireme in this episode from Thucydides that saved the people of a city from certain death.