Logoi kai erga: Thucydides and His Speeches


  • Gregor Pobežin University of Primorska, SASA




Greek literature, rhetoric, speeches


The paper deals with some problems posed by the study of speeches in Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, especially those that result from seeking the so-called historical truth. The historical value of the speeches, which show the unmistakable influence of forensic oratory, has been subject to various interpretations. The efforts seem to be epitomised by the search for an adequate explanation of the so-called “methodological” chapter 1.22, especially the sentence 1.22.1, which has been identified as the most crucial for a proper understanding of Thucydides' use of speeches: wJ~ dÆ a]n ejdovkoun moi e{kastoi peri; tw`n ajei; parovntwn ta; devonta mavlistÆ eijpei`n, ejcomevnw/ o{ti ejgguvtata th`~ xumpavsh~ gnwvmh~ tw`n ajlhqw`~ lecqevntwn, ou{tw~ ei[rhtai .

It seems absolutely imperative that this sentence be understood as an authorial manifesto, a statement of the use and arrangement of speeches in the work. To deny the author even the minimum of historical ambition in the speeches included, thus reducing the entire account to a work of largely fictional value, seems highly inadequate.

The paper therefore contends that, while there is no actual proof that the speeches available to the reader were recorded in their spoken form (in fact, judging from the term th`~ xumpavsh~ gnwvmh~ , their length may well have been adapted to the needs of a historical narrative), there is similarly no ground for denying their basic historical substance.


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26. 12. 2006



Scholarly Articles

How to Cite

Pobežin, Gregor. 2006. “Logoi Kai Erga: Thucydides and His Speeches”. Keria: Studia Latina Et Graeca 8 (2): 19-34. https://doi.org/10.4312/keria.8.2.19-34.