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Thucydides and Beyond Thucydides is to my taste the first true model of an historian He reports the facts without judging them but he omits none of the circumstances proper to make us judge them for ourselves He puts all he recounts before the readers eyes Far from putting himself between the events and his readers he hides himself The reader no longer believes he reads he believes he sees -Jean Jacques Rousseau from Emile or of education Rousseaus words convey a quite commonly held notion Thucydides was undoubtedly the first true historian Though this is quite a subjective statement it is quite true that Thucydides had an emphatic effect on the field of history In fact after viewing his technique in historiographical terms it is clear that he was the first to start the move towards a sharper focus on the science of history History as an empirical field developed largely because of his work Thucydides was born in 460 BC of Thracian roots and was a general in 424 BC in the struggle for the Greek city of Amphipolis1 Though he failed at securing this city and was exiled his predicament developed the objective aspect of the field of history when he decided to write about the Peloponnesian War2 In his history of the Peloponnesian War he could obtain views from both sides and examine facets from all angles His book was published posthumously and remained incomplete3 From reading the first sentence of Book I where he states that the Peloponnesian War would be a great war and more worthy of relation than any that had preceded it there was an emphasis on contemporaneous recording and proving his views4 Thucydides demonstrated a self-conscious assertion of being a writer not a performer in an oral tradition He expressed his history in prose of density and sophistication there was no romance type writing in his work and there was no patience with
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