Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Thucydides, Book 1:16

[Today I will experiment with placing the maps and pictures throughout the text.]

16. Various, too, were the obstacles which the national growth encountered in various localities. The power of the Ionians was advancing with rapid strides, when it came into collision with Persia, under King Cyrus, who, after having dethroned Croesus and overrun everything between the Halys and the sea, stopped not till he had reduced the cities of the coast; the islands being only left to be subdued by Darius and the Phoenician navy.

Map 1.16

Vignon's Croesus Receiving Tribute from a Lydian Peasant (1629). Croesus was famous for his wealth.

The deployment of the two armies during the Battle of Thymbra. Cyrus' victory led to the domination of the region that Thucydides talks about in 1.16


I think I might leave it there for now. In doing the background research on who Croesus and Cyrus were, I've found enough material to more than cover one blog post. I understand that this is just a minor expositional footnote to the Peloponnesian War, but I got sucked in! It does illustrate how much understanding the beginning of Thucydides involves understanding the Greco-Persian war.

In the process, I discovered a great painting and a great resource. The screen grab of the battle was taken from The Art of Battle, a website focusing on animated maps of individual battles. It's wonderful. You can download an incredible powerpoint that takes you through the whole battle, and provides context.

Also, the Cyrus here is Cyrus the Great, who let the Jews return from exile and rebuild the temple. Jolly good show.

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