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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
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Hobbes, In search of the truth

Excerpts from Hobbes' Thucydides 


The Original Greek New Testament
Page 4

For it is very probable that the eighth book is left the same as it was when he first writ it: neither beautified with orations, nor so well cemented at the transitions, as the former seven books are. And though he began to write as soon as ever the war was on foot; yet began he not to perfect and polish his history, till after he was banished.

For notwithstanding his retired life upon the coast of Thrace, where his own possessions lay, he could not avoid a service to the state which proved to him afterwards very unfortunate. For whilst he resided in the isle Thasos, it fell out that Brasidas, the Lacedmonian besieged Amphipolis; a city belonging to the Athenians, on the confines of Thrace and Macedonia, distant from Thasos about half a day's sail.
To relieve which, the captain thereof for the Athenians sent to Thucydides, to levy a power and make haste unto him: for Thucydides was one of the Strategi, that is, had authority to raise forces in those parts for the service of the commonwealth. And he did accordingly; but he came thither one night too late, and found the city already yielded up.
And for this he was afterwards banished; as if he had let slip his time through negligence, or purposely put it off upon fear of the enemy.
Nevertheless he put himself into the city of Eion, and preserved it to the Athenians with the repulse of Brasidas; which came down from Amphipolis the next morning, and assaulted it. The author of his banishment is supposed to have been Cleon; a most violent sycophant in those times, and thereby also a most acceptable speaker amongst the people.
For where affairs succeed amiss, though they want neither providence nor courage in the conduction; yet with those that judge only upon events, the way to calumny is always open and envy, in the likeness of zeal to the public good, easily findeth credit for an accusation.

After his banishment he lived in Scapte-Hyle, a city of Thrace before mentioned, as Plutarch writeth; but yet so, as he went abroad, and was present at the actions of the rest of the war; as appeareth by his own words in his fifth book, where he saith, that he was present at the actions of both parts, and no less at those of the Peloponnesians, by reason of his exile, than those of the Athenians. During this time also he perfected his history, so far as is now to be seen; nor doth it appear that after his exile he ever again enjoyed his country.

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Cf. Thucydides: Democracy of the Best & A history of Ideas   Papacy

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