Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom by Mary P. NicholsThucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom by Mary P. Nichols

Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom

byMary P. Nichols

Hardcover | January 27, 2015

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In Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom, Mary P. Nichols argues for the centrality of the idea of freedom in Thucydides' thought. Through her close reading of his History of the Peloponnesian War, she explores the manifestations of this theme. Cities and individuals in Thucydides' history take freedom as their goal, whether they claim to possess it and want to maintain it or whether they desire to attain it for themselves or others. Freedom is the goal of both antagonists in the Peloponnesian War, Sparta and Athens, although in different ways. One of the fullest expressions of freedom can be seen in the rhetoric of Thucydides’ Pericles, especially in his famous funeral oration.

More than simply documenting the struggle for freedom, however, Thucydides himself is taking freedom as his cause. On the one hand, he demonstrates that freedom makes possible human excellence, including courage, self-restraint, deliberation, and judgment, which support freedom in turn. On the other hand, the pursuit of freedom, in one’s own regime and in the world at large, clashes with interests and material necessity, and indeed the very passions required for its support. Thucydides’ work, which he himself considered a possession for all time, therefore speaks very much to our time, encouraging the defense of freedom while warning of the limits and dangers in doing so. The powerful must defend freedom, Thucydides teaches, but beware that the cost not become freedom itself.

Mary P. Nichols is Professor of Political Science at Baylor University. She is the author of Socrates on Friendship and Community: Reflections on Plato's Symposium, Phaedrus, and Lysis; and Citizens and Statesmen: A Study of Aristotle's Politics. She also cotranslated the Focus Philosophical Library edition of Plato’s Euthydemus.
Title:Thucydides and the Pursuit of FreedomFormat:HardcoverDimensions:9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:January 27, 2015Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:080145316X

ISBN - 13:9780801453168

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Thucydides as Historian

1. Periclean Athens and an Image of Freedom

2. Athenian Freedom in the Balance: Mytilene and Plataea

3. Sparta, Brasidas, and the Liberation of Hellas

4. Sicily, Alcibiades, and the Liberation of Eros

5. Homecoming and Freedom

Conclusion: Thucydides, an Athenian



Editorial Reviews

"Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom is a unique, detailed reading of the History of the Peloponnesian War and the beginning of a new conversation about the theme of freedom in that history. This book is groundbreaking because it deals with the subject of freedom at several levels and throughout the entire history. The theme of freedom, democratic and otherwise, is particularly appropriate in our times, as we see so many people struggling for it and grappling with its demands around the world."—Laurie M. Johnson, Kansas State University, author of Thucydides, Hobbes, and the Interpretation of Realism