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Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom$
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Mary P. Nichols

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453168

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453168.001.0001

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Sparta, Brasidas, and the Liberation of Hellas

Sparta, Brasidas, and the Liberation of Hellas

(p.78) Chapter 3 Sparta, Brasidas, and the Liberation of Hellas
Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom

Mary P. Nichols

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Thucydides's account of Brasidas, Sparta's greatest military hero, who spearheads the liberation of subjected cities from Athens in the name of his city, Hellas. It begins by discussing Thucydides's introduction of Sparta through the Corinthians' attempt to move Sparta to war and the Spartan response. It then considers Thucydides's account of Brasidas's exploits as well as his relation with his city. In particular, it analyzes Brasidas's attempt to liberate Hellas from Athenian domination and suggests that Brasidas's “crusade” for freedom attempts to force Sparta to live up to its noble reputation. It also notes Thucydides's admiring portrayal of Brasidas, an indication that Thucydides's perspective also transcends that of his city. Brasidas's speeches and deeds on his Thracian campaign constitute one of the most dramatic chapters in Thucydides' account of the Peloponnesian War.

Keywords:   freedom, Thucydides, Brasidas, Sparta, liberation, Athens, Hellas, Corinthians, speech, Peloponnesian War

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