Summary: Why would anyone write yet another book on a famous ancient author, for instance, Thucydides?
Why are so many books written about such authors? What are some of the issues and values being negotiated by the people who write them? Edith Foster will discuss these questions and her own recent book about Thucydides. Thucydides wrote a history of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta (431—404 BCE). In this history, he brings many famous characters to life through displaying their actions and speeches. Probably the most famous of these characters is the Athenian statesman Pericles. Dr. Foster’s book (Thucydides, Pericles, and Periclean Imperialism, Cambridge University Press, 2010), advances an argument that we should not identify Thucydides with his vivid portrayal of Pericles’ characteristic imperialism. That is, we should not think that Thucydides was necessarily an imperialist because he was capable of such a vivid portrait. Instead, the book argues that Thucydides’ description of Pericles, and particularly of his doomed imperialism, is meant as a lesson and a mirror for subsequent generations.
Edith Foster is Assistant Professor of History at Ashland University, where she teaches courses on ancient history. She received her M.A. from the University of Toronto and completed her Ph.D. in Classics at the University of Chicago. Thucydides, Pericles, and Periclean Imperialism is her first book. She is in the process of co-editing two other volumes. She lives in Ashland with her husband, David, with whom she has three children.