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 | May 7, 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:208 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:May 7, 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 Historian1. Periclean Athens and an Image of Freedom2. Athenian Freedom in the Balance: Mytilene and Plataea3. Sparta, Brasidas, and the Liberation of Hellas4. Sicily, Alcibiades, and the Liberation of Eros5. Homecoming and FreedomConclusion: Thucydides, an AthenianBibliography


Editorial Reviews

"Alternately beautiful and enigmatic, Nichols’ Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom explores the themes of freedom and statesmanship in Thucydides’ History.... her explorations of this topic have paved the way for future work on it. For this reason among others, the book merits a wide readership among classicists and political theorists."