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In A Historical Commentary on Thucydides, David Cartwright aims to guide the Greekless reader through Thucydides' fascinating yet demanding narrative. Cartwright's is the only such full-length, one-volume commentary and companion: it is based on Rex Warner's Penguin translation of Thucydides--the most widely used translation--and requires no knowledge of Greek. The introduction to A Historical Commentary on Thucydides includes a brief biography of Thucydides: his approach, aims, and methods are discussed, as are the general character of his work and his contribution to historiography. The commentary gives brief accounts of the people and places mentioned by Thucydides and puts events in their immediate and wider contexts. Cartwright provides occasional summaries, explains Greek concepts and technical terms, and offers interpretations of difficult or controversial passages. The author also picks out important historiographical issues and discusses the themes' underlying events.
For both first-time readers and seasoned students, this commentary gives broad access to one of antiquity's most profound and difficult writers. Historians, classicists, and anyone else interested in the cultural and intellectual achievements of ancient Greece will find A Historical Commentary on Thucydides a welcome addition to their library.
David Cartwright is Head of Classics at Dulwich College, London, England.