For instance, let us suppose that Homer and Virgil, Aristotle and Cicero, Thucydides
and Livy, could have met all together, and have clubbed their several talents to have composed a treatise on the art of dancing: I believe it will be readily agreed they could not have equalled the excellent treatise which Mr Essex hath given us on that subject, entitled, The Rudiments of Genteel Education.
Whether such doctrines as are attributed to him by Plato were really held either by him or by any other Sophist is uncertain; in the infancy of philosophy serious errors about morality might easily grow up-- they are certainly put into the mouths of speakers in Thucydides
; but we are concerned at present with Plato's description of him, and not with the historical reality.
And that you may not suppose the incompetent teachers to be only the meaner sort of Athenians and few in number, remember again that Thucydides had two sons, Melesias and Stephanus, whom, besides giving them a good education in other things, he trained in wrestling, and they were the best wrestlers in Athens: one of them he committed to the care of Xanthias, and the other of Eudorus, who had the reputation of being the most celebrated wrestlers of that day.
SOCRATES: Now, can there be a doubt that Thucydides, whose children were taught things for which he had to spend money, would have taught them to be good men, which would have cost him nothing, if virtue could have been taught?
The tradition seems, however, to be constant in declaring that Hesiod was murdered and buried at Oenoe, and in this respect it is at least as old as the time of Thucydides
. In conclusion it may be worth while to add the graceful epigram of Alcaeus of Messene ("Palatine Anthology", vii
Lorenzo Valla, one of the most famous promoters of Italian learning, not only translated into Latin the Iliad of Homer and the Histories of Herodotus and Thucydides
, but also the Fables of Aesop.
The Apology of Plato may be compared generally with those speeches of Thucydides
in which he has embodied his conception of the lofty character and policy of the great Pericles, and which at the same time furnish a commentary on the situation of affairs from the point of view of the historian.
I could recite you the whole of Thucydides
, Xenophon, Plutarch, Titus Livius, Tacitus, Strada, Jornandes, Dante, Montaigne, Shakspeare, Spinoza, Machiavelli, and Bossuet.
Much new information has necessarily been discovered since Gibbon wrote, but he laid his foundation so deep and broad that though his work may be supplemented it can probably never be superseded, and stands in the opinion of competent critics without an equal in the whole field of history except perhaps for that of the Greek Thucydides
. His one great deficiency is his lack of emotion.
The exercise consists of half a chapter of Thucydides
. I had to read it over carefully, as the text must be absolutely correct.
We have the civil history of that people, as Herodotus, Thucydides
, Xenophon, and Plutarch have given it; a very sufficient account of what manner of persons they were and what they did.
Then there's Pericles's speech coming on in Thucydides
, and 'The Birds' to get up for the examination, besides the Tacitus." Tom groaned at the thought of his accumulated labours.