Thucydidean explanations : diplomacy and historiography in Archaic and Classical Greece

Bolmarcich, Sarah Marie, Department of Classics, University of Virginia
Clay, Jenny S., Department of Classics, University of Virginia
Dillery, John, Department of Classics, University of Virginia
Kovacs, Paul David, Department of Classics, University of Virginia
Meyer, Elizabeth, Department of History, University of Virginia

Since the nineteenth century, the study of ancient Greek diplomacy has engaged classical scholars. The chief foci of scholarship have been the ancient practice of international arbitration, the definitions of various types of ancient alliances, and the attempt to isolate and delineate a system of "international law" among the ancient Greeks. More recent scholarship has focused on the personal and ethical aspects of ancient diplomacy.

Little research, however, has been done on the historiographical treatment of ancient diplomacy. This dissertation is a study of the ancient Greek historian Thucydides' use of diplomatic language, both legal and ethical in nature, throughout his History of the Peloponnesian War. The first chapter contains a review of the scholarship summarized in the first paragraph above,Jn.the second chapter, it is argued that the public_nature of diplomacy in ancient Greece (i.e., the publication of treaty-texts on stelae) serves both a legal and a personal function. The text of the treaty is a legal text, but the reasons for its publication are to ensure the memorialization of thetreaty The Jhird^nd fourth chapters offer^a comparison of Thucydides' treatment of the two major actors in his History, Sparta and Athens, who also represent the two major diplomatic entities of fifth-century Greece, the Peloponnesian League and the Athenian Empire. These two states have different approaches to diplomacy and this is perhaps part of the origins of the war.

A philological approach is adopted in the subsequent chapters. The fifth chapter considers the use of diplomatic language in the speeches in Book 1 of the History, parts of the sixth and seventh chapters consider speeches in other areas of the History, and conclude that the diplomatic language in the speeches is meant to shape impressions about war and the possibilities for peace in a negative fashion. The sixth and seventh chapters also deal with one of the classic problems of Thucydides' History, the treaties that he quotes at length in Books 5 and 8. These are intended to be there, in order to undermine yet again the inefficacy of diplomacy during the Peloponnesian War.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-03-14 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:35:25.

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