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Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus$
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Lisa Irene Hau

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474411073

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474411073.001.0001

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(p.194) 5. Thucydides
Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus

Lisa Irene Hau

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter analyses the moralising techniques and moral lessons of Thucydides. Using the moralising techniques found and analysed in Polybius and Diodorus as its point of departure, it discovers that Thucydides uses a root version of many of the techniques found in more developed form in the two Hellenistic historiographers, but that, like Herodotus, he also moralises on the macro-plane by means of a structure of subtly repeating patterns. In addition, he uses a discrete technique which is labelled ‘minimalist moralising’ and which has endeared him modern readers. In terms of moral lessons, Thucydides turns out to be the only one of the historiographers studied who does not consider piety a virtue, and much of his work is shown to demonstrate a clash between two different world-views, one ‘traditional’ and the other ‘sophistic’ or ‘realist’.

Keywords:   Thucydides, Moral didacticism, Moralising, Patterns, Macro-structure, Minimalist moralising, Piety, Moderation, Rationality, Sophism

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