Course Code
CLAS 0051 / HIST 0051
Course Type
Subject Credit
Course Availability

The most influential ancient Greek historians are studied from a literary perspective, with the emphasis on the presentation of their narrative and the characters in it. Thucydides and Xenophon were writing about their own time, while Herodotus’ epic ‘Histories’ explores the Persian wars in the light of the distant past, with many suggestive parallels between past and present.


Herodotus, Histories Book 3

Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War Book 3

Xenophon, Anabasis Books 1-4

Sample topics:

  1. Leaders and leadership in historical narrative
  2. The function of digressions in history-writing
  3. Historians’ understanding and presentation of war
  4. Religious issues and the depiction of the gods
  5. The use of speeches in historical narrative
  6. Historians’ concept of research and their presentation of their sources
  7. The extent to which women are a marginalised group in historical narrative
  8. The treatment of foreign cultures by Greek historians


There is no language requirement for this tutorial: all texts are taught in English translation. However, if you do have the relevant language skills then it can be taught through the original texts: contact the Senior Tutor to discuss this.