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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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Thucydides, an Athenian

(p.169) Conclusion
Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom

Mary P. Nichols

Cornell University Press

This book concludes with a discussion of two digressions that Thucydides makes concerning Athens's past and their implications for his own freedom: the place of the supposed Athenian tyrant slayers in Thucydides's work and his digression on the Athenian statesman Themistocles. It first considers the question of Thucydides's approach to history in relation to that of his identity as an Athenian, with particular emphasis on his claim that he is a historian committed first and foremost to a “search for the truth.” It then discusses Thucydides's account of Aristogeiton and Harmodius and their plot against Athens's tyrant before turning to Themistocles. It also examines Thucydides's appreciation of Athenian democracy to the extent that it is a home for freedom and suggests that his evaluation of imperialism is as complex as his evaluation of democracy. Finally, it explains how Thucydides achieves his homecoming by his act of writing his history of the Peloponnesian War as “a possession for all time.”

Keywords:   freedom, Thucydides, Athens, freedom, Themistocles, Aristogeiton, democracy, Harmodius, Peloponnesian War

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