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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Thucydides and the philosophy of history


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Shakko

Photo license: CC BY-SA 3.0


Thucydides (460-400 BC) was a Greek historian best known for his book History of the Peloponnesian War. Wikipedia says,


"Thucydides has been dubbed the father of 'scientific history' by those who accept his claims to have applied strict standards of impartiality and evidence-gathering and analysis of cause and effect, without reference to intervention by the deities, as outlined in his introduction to his work." (Wikipedia: Thucydides, 8.9.21 UTC 20:00)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Thucydides.


Philosophy of history


"On the whole, however, the conclusions I have drawn from the proofs quoted may, I believe, safely be relied on. Assuredly they will not be disturbed either by the lays of a poet displaying the exaggeration of his craft, or by the compositions of the chroniclers that are attractive at truth's expense." (History of the Peloponnesian War)


"So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." (History of the Peloponnesian War)


"On the one hand, the friend who is familiar with every fact of the story may think that some point has not been set forth with that fullness which he wishes and knows it to deserve; on the other, he who is a stranger to the matter may be led by envy to suspect exaggeration if he hears anything above his own nature." (History of the Peloponnesian War)