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The Modern Scholar: The Dawn of Political History

Thucydides and the Peloponnesian Wars
Narrated by: Fred Baumann
Length: 4 hrs and 56 mins
Categories: History, Ancient
4 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

In this fascinating course of lectures, Professor Fred Baumann leads us on an engaging exploration of this penetrating work. Taking in each of the eight books, we examine the complex juxtaposition of events Thucydides demonstrates  without much comment of his own. We see how democrats and oligarchs, Athenians and Spartans, understand the world and misunderstand each other. We explore how Thucydides contrasts Sparta - so deliberately narrow, provincial, overtly moral, and covertly cynical - with Athens - cosmopolitan, sophisticated, overtly cynical and covertly moral.  In doing so, we discover his admonishment to respect both and to get past our own instinctive, and sometimes destructive, human tendencies. 

In the end, we come to understand how Thucydide's work shows human nature in the most extreme circumstances and thus provides deep insight into both political practice and philosophy. That may indeed be the reason for its lasting relevance: its unique ability to still shed light upon our own predicament some two-thousand years later.

©2012 Crescite Group (P)2012 Recorded Books

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  • David Merahn
  • 18-12-2017

Best lecture made so far (I almost said ever)

Amazing, brilliant, original thought on a well covered topic. It is hard to make such a well worn subject feel fresh and new, but it hardly seems like a challenge for the author. Cannot recommend more highly.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-05-2020

Too Dense for Consumption

I listened to this book desiring to gather a better understanding of the Greeks, particularly the political thought. All of it was interesting. My critique is that it really requires one to be very familiar with Thucydides and the Peloponnesian Wars, and we'll acquainted with many of the lesser known figures. I often complain that education is dumbed down. In this instance my criticism is that the material is much too dense to follow without a first rate knowledge of the Peloponnesian War and all of the actors in that story. I suppose it's my job to know this, but that's why I rented the book! I know Pericles, and Themistocles, and Alcibiades but I don't know anything about King Agis or Nicias or two score other figures that are part of this grand epic tale. The professor need to slow down and help the listener with the dramatis personae and the military history and places that he mentions so often. I think it's too dense for what it professes to be- a discussion of political thought, instead it is a dense retelling of the war with names and places and generals such that I was lost.

I think it's a good book, but not for those who have not read Thucydides within the year. Too muchn in too little time.

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  • MM@CC
  • 30-03-2020

Very good summary and analysis

The lecturer is intelligent and a bit humorous. He gives an excellent close reading of Thucydides, without going on too long. Well worth the time.