The Notion Of War In The Eyes Of Thucydides, Homer And Aristophanes

1875 words - 8 pages

Greek classical literature is considered to be the canon of literary writing that pertains to the ancient history of Greece. Greek literature displays the classic lifestyle, culture and beliefs of the Greek race during the early portions of mainstream ancient and classical European history. Prominent Greek writers such as Thucydides, Homer, and Aristophanes produced pieces that are regarded, up to this day, as af conveyer of Greek life in the context of classical Europe. Looking deeper into their respective works, Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, Homer’s Iliad and Aristophanes’ Lysistrata all show a common theme in ancient Greek life –life in the context of war.
This paper will conduct textual analysis of each classic piece. The argument is that the concept of war functions as the prime mover of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, Homer’s Iliad and Aristophanes’ Lysistrata. This study defines the concept of “prime mover” as the major plot of each literary work. With this, it will study the account of Thucydides as a participant and recorder of the Peloponnesian War. I will then compare the Peloponnesian narrative with the epic events of the Trojan War in Homer’s Iliad. Lastly, i will show the parallels of the developments in the Peloponnesian War with the Lysistrata and its author’s arguments of the female intervention in warfare with concern to the Iliad’s claim of man’s monopoly in war.

With concern to ancient Greek literature, Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War is considered a relevant reference to the historical developments in Greece during those turbulent times. Thucydides, for one, is considered by many historians as a primary and earlier contributor in the developments of historiography and historical research and writing. Unlike his predecessor, Herodotus, Thucydides introduced the notion of historical account in an unbiased and organized sense. Thus, the author arranged his recollections of the Peloponnesian War in a chronological manner, producing a good narrative of historical events. He also used relevant primary sources such as the various speeches he had heard from different gatherings and from prominent figures of the war during his service as a general of the Athenian army.
Thucydides’ work is written in such a way that his readers would understand factual events. In the first book of the History of the Peloponnesian War, he conducts thorough contextualization of Greece that contributed to the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. What is revolutionary about this first book is that before he narrates the reasons for the outbreak of the war, Thucydides explains in detail the methodological approach in the events before the Peloponnesian War (Thucydides, Book 1:1-23). Modern historians see this as one of the earliest attempts to scientifically explain historical events in the context of what would eventually be the processes of respective disciplines in the Greek history. Thucydides aimed to...

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