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The first book of Thucydides is a compact masterpiece. Here he sets up the conditions that led to the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War in 431 B.C. With great economy, he analyzes the origins of large-scale wars; integrates a sketch of the historical background into the larger thematic threads of his narrative; presents a brief statement of his methods and goals; outlines a hierarchy of causation; develops a theory of character and human nature; and presents a theory of leadership, chance, and foresight, all within a narrative structure that perfectly focuses these elements.
Because Book I is not primarily historical narrative, it inevitably proves difficult for inexperienced readers. Despite the convolutions and density of Thucydides' prose style, no authoritative commentary has been published since the early days of the last century. H. D. Cameron is a renowned expert in Greek and comparative grammar and has written this handbook for all levels of classical students and scholars. His commentary authoritatively accounts for the last one hundred years of evolving grammatical and linguistic theory as they apply to the seminal work of Thucydides.
H. D. Cameron is Professor of Greek and Latin and Director of the Great Books Program at the University of Michigan.
"Until now, the commentary on book 1 of the greatest use for beginning students has been that of Marchant, which Cameron's work should now replace. It elucidates the overall structure of Thucydidean prose, explains vocabulary, morphology, and grammar, while giving references to Smyth for further study. It is ideal for strengthening weaker students' grasp of Greek grammar and is a fine introduction to the obscure and pointed style that makes portion of the History in general and book 1 in particular so daunting."
Copyright © 2003, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted November 2003 and January 2006.
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