History | Peloponnesian War
J400 | 8190 | E. Robinson

Above class open to majors only
Above class open to undergraduates only
J400:  P-HIST-J300

The Peloponnesian War was one of the greatest military conflicts of
the ancient world — the greatest of all time, if we believe its
principal historian, Thucydides. Its result would determine the fate
not just of rival powers Athens and Sparta, but of Greece itself for
decades to come. Thucydides, who fought in the war as a general,
does more than merely describe policies, strategies, and battles: he
dramatizes the war’s costs in human terms, the way it changed its
participants, sometimes bringing out the best but often the worst in

Thucydides’ brilliant history will be the centerpiece around which
we will build our own understanding of the war. Other ancient
sources will also be studied in order to augment and perhaps at
times to correct Thucydides’ version of events. Students will
routinely consult modern scholarship on aspects of the war as well.
Emphasis will be placed on composing and critiquing short analytical
papers using all these sources, and eventually on researching and
writing a longer paper to be turned in at the end of the course.