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๐Ÿค”๐Ÿฆ‰โš”๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜•๐Ÿ™‚โš”๏ธ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿคฅ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜–๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿปโš”๏ธ๐Ÿฆ‰โš”๏ธ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ก

โš”๏ธโš”๏ธโ˜ ๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคขโš”๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿคขโ˜ ๏ธ๐Ÿค”โš”๏ธ

โš”๏ธโš”๏ธ๐Ÿ—ก๐Ÿณ๐Ÿฆ‰๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿ˜–๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŽ‰โš”๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿ˜–โ˜ ๏ธ๐Ÿ—ก๐Ÿ—กโ˜ ๏ธ๐Ÿค”โš”๏ธ๐ŸŒŠโš”๏ธ

โš”๏ธโš”๏ธโš”๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜กโš”๏ธ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰โš”๏ธโš”๏ธโš”๏ธโš”๏ธโš”๏ธ๐Ÿค”โš”๏ธโš”๏ธ

โ˜ ๏ธโ˜ ๏ธ๐Ÿคโš”๏ธโš”๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜–โš”๏ธ๐Ÿณโ˜ ๏ธ

๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿคก๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿคก๐ŸŽ‰โš”๏ธโš”๏ธ๐Ÿ—ฝ๐Ÿ”จ๐Ÿคก๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿปโš”๏ธโš”๏ธ๐Ÿคก

โš”๏ธโš”๏ธโ˜ ๏ธโ˜ ๏ธโš”๏ธโš”๏ธโ˜ ๏ธโ˜ ๏ธ๐Ÿณโ˜ ๏ธโ˜ ๏ธโ˜ ๏ธ

๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿ˜ขโš”๏ธ๐Ÿคกโš”๏ธโš”๏ธ๐Ÿคกโš”๏ธ๐Ÿฆ‰๐Ÿ—ก๐Ÿฆ‰โ˜ ๏ธโš”๏ธ๐Ÿคกโš”๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿคกโš”๏ธ๐Ÿค”

A User’s Guide to Thucydides Part 3

Is Thucydides more like a swimming pool – best to dive right in – or a mountain, where the key is careful preparation and planning, construction of base camp etc.? In both cases it can be a daunting prospect; the question, prompted by a discussion on the Twitter last night where someone planning a Thucydides reading group asked for suggestions on preparatory reading, is how best to get started.

Personally, I’d go for the swimming-pool approach Continue Reading »

One of the (probably innumerable) ways in which I irritate my wife is by going round claiming to have a classics degree, despite having studied no Greek or Latin at university. Actually I feel this characterisation is slightly unfair, as I do have a bona fide classics degree, 100% legitimate according to the rules of the university at the time, despite the lack of any language, and it’s not as if I have ever actually attempted to pass myself off as a ‘proper classicist’ with a permanent fear that someone might ask me to translate Vergil, revealing my deception and leading to summary dismissal in disgrace. On the contrary, I’m more likely to go to the other extreme of describing myself as not a classicist but a historian who happens to do ancient stuff; some of my best friends are classicists etc., but that’s not generally what I do. Still, I occasionally wonder how many of the colleagues who wearily tolerate this ideological pose do so in the belief that I actually have the grounding in ancient languages that would entitle me to the status of ‘proper classicist’ if I only chose to claim it, and might therefore look at me differently (or break out the pitchforks) if they knew the truth. Continue Reading »

Further evidence of the ‘Thucydidean Moment’ of 2017 – and, yes, I’m aware that J.G.A. Pocock’s ‘Machiavellian Moment’ lasted rather longer than a fortnight – comes in this morning’s Financial Times Alphaville blog, with a post from Matthew C. Klein responding to last week’s Politico article and drawing on his own experiences of reading Thucydides in a class led by Donald Kagan. I rather liked this piece, for its cautions against simplistic readings – and not just because it included links to a couple of my recent posts.

However, it does offer as matters of fact a couple of arguable interpretations. Continue Reading »

European Echoes

OldenburgWhere is Europe? It’s perhaps not the most obvious answer, but one possibility is: sitting in the elegant Kulturzentrum PFL in Oldenburg the week before last with a mixture of academics, activists, trade unionists, students and regular citizens, listening to an elderly trio playing 1950s British trad jazz a la Chris Barber and Ken Colyer as the introduction to a podium discussion on the theme Wo ist Europa? And, yes, I should have got a photo of the band, rather than this rather off-putting one of the panel. Continue Reading »

When I first began putting together a research project on the modern reception and influence of Thucydides, and writing funding applications, the big ‘hook’ – the thing that was going to persuade reviewers of the contemporary relevance of the theme – was Thucydides’ infiltration of the G.W. Bush White House. Irving Kristol’s claim that he was the favourite author of the Neocons, the relationship between Donald Kagan and the Project for a New American Century, and – from a less bellicose perspective, Colin Powell’s love of the (fake) Thucydides quote about manifestations of power and restraint, were not intended to be the central focus of the project, but they showed the importance of understanding the context of such readings, the traditions of reception and reinterpretation that made powerful people think, or at least claim, that Thucydides speaks to the present.

Here we are again, with a new article on ‘Why everyone in the White House is reading Thucydides’ suggesting the Obama adminstration’s relative restraint in such matters (occasional references from Martin Dempsey when Chair of the Joint Chiefs) was just a blip.* Continue Reading »

I’ve written on a number of occasions about Graham Allison’s ‘Thucydides Trap’ idea and why I disagree with it – indeed, I imagine that this is why the viewing stats for this blog have risen appreciably in recent weeks – but there’s nothing like reading someone else’s critical but largely wrong-headed review to prompt a bit of reflection. Arthur Waldron’s review in the Straits Times (which I first encountered via SupChina – and is that the worst name for a site ever?) has been widely circulated on the Twitter (at any rate by the normal standards of Thucydides-related references) with a measurable atmosphere of glee and Schadenfreude. It seems that a fair number of people want Allison to be not just wrong but catastrophically wrong – Ian Buruma’sย New Yorker review is just as critical of Allison but much more measured, and hasn’t been nearly so widely cited as a result – and Waldron gives them what they want.

Waldron’s opening sentences are brutal – and frankly bizarre: Continue Reading »