“Thucydides is rightly judged the first modern historian. What made him modern was his eschewing the role of the gods, of oracles, and of omens in the explanation of history. Let others trek out to Delphi or solemnly read the entrails of sacrificial animals to explain the moods of the gods and the unpredictable twists they gave to fate. Thucydides knew that history was mainly made by men, their struggles for power, their decisions, the events these decisions brought into being.
For Thucydides history was chiefly contemporary history. But then he lived during what he called “the greatest war of all,” the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. He hoped to write a book about it that would be “a possession for all time,” and he did exactly that.”
client: The Wall Street Journal