Peter Jones

Fight Club

The Plague of War: Athens, Sparta, and the Struggle for Ancient Greece

By

Oxford University Press 416pp £20 order from our bookshop

There is a problem with writing a history of a seminal moment in the ancient world when the major source for it, Thucydides, is (with his near contemporary Herodotus) credited with inventing the discipline of history as the West understands it. His extraordinarily penetrating and persuasive understanding of why humans speak and react as they do in times of high stress has tempted many to use him as a model for analysing similar situations, especially military ones, in the modern world. As soon as one does that, it becomes all too easy for the ancient world to fall out of focus.

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