Thucydides, an Athenian, wrote the history of
the war between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians, beginning at the
moment that it broke out, and believing that it would be a great war, and
more worthy of relation than any that had preceded it. This belief was not without its grounds. The preparations of both the combatants were in every department in the
last state of perfection; and he could see the rest of the Hellenic race taking sides in the quarrel; those who delayed doing so at once having it in contemplation.
Indeed this was the greatest movement yet known in history, not only of the
Hellenes, but of a large part of the barbarian world—I had almost
said of mankind.
For though the events of remote antiquity, and even those that more
immediately precede the war, could not from lapse of time be clearly
ascertained, yet the evidences which an inquiry carried as far back as was
practicable leads me to trust, all point to the conclusion that there was
nothing on a great scale, either in war or in other matters.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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