Reading Thucydides 2014

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John W.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by John W. » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:34 pm

Bill - many thanks.

I've just noticed that in 3.82.2 we have another peace/war contrast:

ἐν μὲν γὰρ εἰρήνῃ καὶ ἀγαθοῖς πράγμασιν αἵ τε πόλεις καὶ οἱ ἰδιῶται ἀμείνους τὰς γνώμας ἔχουσι διὰ τὸ μὴ ἐς ἀκουσίους ἀνάγκας πίπτειν: ὁ δὲ πόλεμος ὑφελὼν τὴν εὐπορίαν τοῦ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν βίαιος διδάσκαλος καὶ πρὸς τὰ παρόντα τὰς ὀργὰς τῶν πολλῶν ὁμοιοῖ.

I'm not sure whether this actually helps with the point we were discussing in 3.82.1, but it's interesting to compare it with καὶ ἐν μὲν εἰρήνῃ ... πολεμουμένων δὲ in that section.

Best,

John

John W.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by John W. » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:40 pm

I think I've just about done all I can for now on 3.82.1; the number of permutations of interpretation in the various commentaries - in terms of what word governs what, which bits refer to the Athenians/Lacedaemonians and which to the democratic/oligarchic factions, etc. - is considerable.

Anyway, my current best shot at a translation is:

'And while, in time of peace, they would not have had a pretext to call them in, nor have been ready to do so, yet once they were embroiled in war, and with an alliance also on offer to either faction for the purpose of harming their enemies and at the same time gaining some advantage for themselves, opportunities to bring in the Athenians or the Lacedaemonians were readily available to those wishing to make some revolutionary change.'

I hope that this makes sense; my thanks to Qimmik for all his help with this passage.

Best wishes,

John

PS - the translation shown above now incorporates changes made today (2 February) in the light of further reflection and study.

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pster
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by pster » Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:34 am

John,

Is there another commentary for Book II that is similar to Marchant, ie a student commentary?

Also, besides the funeral oration, what are your favorite speeches, if you have any?

Thanks

John W.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by John W. » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:36 am

pster wrote:John,

Is there another commentary for Book II that is similar to Marchant, ie a student commentary?

Also, besides the funeral oration, what are your favorite speeches, if you have any?

Thanks
Hi, pster - hope you're doing OK.

Book 2 isn't the best served by student commentaries in terms of the number of them available - there's no Ginn (based on Classen) commentary, for example. However, that is somewhat offset by the excellence of the edition/commentary by J.S. Rusten in the Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics series, which to my mind is one of the best student commentaries on any of the eight books. That and Marchant apart, the only student commentary on Book 2 I have used is one by T.R. Mills dating from 1913, and published by the Clarendon Press.

As to favourite speeches, there are so many to choose from. In Book 2 itself, the final speech by Pericles (2.60-64) makes an interesting pendant to the funeral oration. Further on in the work, the opposing speeches by Cleon and Diodotus in the Mytilenian debate (3.37-48) are well worth studying, not least for the issues of morality and statecraft that they raise. Also in Book 3, the Plataeans' eloquent appeal for clemency, and the cynical and evasive counter-speech by the Thebans (3.53-67), present a fascinating contrast. Another favourite of mine is Hermocrates' speech at Gela (4.59-64), in which he attempts to rally and unite the various Sicilian cities against the threat of Athenian domination; this is an eloquent and powerful address, and makes the point well that, if it is natural for the strong to seek to control the weak, it is equally natural for weaker parties to band together and resist.

Anyway, there are just a few suggestions - hope this helps.

Best wishes,

John

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pster
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by pster » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:01 am

Thanks.

OK, I'll buy the Rusten, although it seems pitched higher than Marchant.

I'm going to memorize the Funeral Oration and maybe one or two of the others. Thanks for the suggestions.

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by Qimmik » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:45 pm

On a quick glance, Rusten's edition of Book 2 actually seems to provide more help on linguistic questions than Marchant's edition of Book 1. Rusten's discussions of historical and literary matters seems to be aimed at a higher level than Marchant, though.

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pster
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by pster » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:43 am

For those who can never own enough commentaries, here is a good way to spend 12 EUR:

http://www.amazon.fr/gp/offer-listing/2 ... ition=used

Weil's Polybius is very good.

UPDATE:

It says softcover (broché), but I thought that they were showing the hardcover (relié). So, maybe not quite as good a deal as I got on Polybius. But if you don't mind softcovers, it looks like you can get more books (although Weil doesn't seem to have been involved):

http://www.amazon.fr/La-Guerre-P%C3%A9l ... pd_sim_b_1

http://www.amazon.fr/La-Guerre-P%C3%A9l ... pd_sim_b_2

And how many commentaries can boast, "Les cartes des tomes II, III et IV permettent en outre de situer précisément l'action. Le dernier volume est encore enrichi d'un précieux appendice topographique"?

John W.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by John W. » Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:34 am

Qimmik wrote:On a quick glance, Rusten's edition of Book 2 actually seems to provide more help on linguistic questions than Marchant's edition of Book 1. Rusten's discussions of historical and literary matters seems to be aimed at a higher level than Marchant, though.
I think that's a fair assessment. Rusten is good at analysing the structure of the more complex sentences in a way which is helpful to the student; he also includes a few useful maps of actions/campaigns, which are usually in scant supply in college editions.

The introductory material on Thucydides' life, style, etc. is also worthwhile, even though Rusten does propound a (to me) somewhat odd theory as to the meaning of the famous programmatic statement in Book 1 (1.22) regarding Thucydides' policy in recording speeches.

Best,

John

John W.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by John W. » Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:40 am

pster wrote: And how many commentaries can boast, "Les cartes des tomes II, III et IV permettent en outre de situer précisément l'action. Le dernier volume est encore enrichi d'un précieux appendice topographique"?
Well, quite. I thought the Bude editions were only published in soft covers, of which I'm not fond; fortunately I was able to pick up a complete set which was formerly in a college library, and had been hardbound for that purpose.

I've found the Bude edition quite helpful - the translation seems pretty good, and the 'Notes complementaires' contain some very useful brief discussions of problem passages.

Best,

John

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pster
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by pster » Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:12 pm

My Polybius is a library copy also, but it doesn't look like the library bound it. But when I look at the website, it seems you are correct as only softcovers are for sale.

http://www.lesbelleslettres.com/livre/? ... 0100804230

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