Thucydides our Contemporary?

Thursday 28 - Friday 29 June 2012, University of Bristol

The Athenian historian Thucydides (c.460-c.395 BCE) claimed that his account of the Peloponnesian War would be ‘a possession for ever’, valued by posterity more than by his contemporaries. The history of his text's reception since the Renaissance has proved him entirely correct; not only has his work continued to be read, by historians, political thinkers, philosophers, international relations theorists and many others, but Thucydides himself has been seen as ever more prescient and modern. This international and interdisciplinary conference, part of the work of the AHRC-funded research project at Bristol on Thucydides: reception, reinterpretation and influence, will explore the way his work has shaped ideas about how to understand the world, and his continuing role as an authority on history, politics and war.

The public lecture by Professor Hunter Rawlings, A Possession for All Time? Why and how Thucydides still matters can be downloaded as a pdf file here (PDF, 326kB). Professor Rawlings has asked us to stress that this is the lecture as it was delivered, hence the lack of references; we are enormously grateful to him for allowing us to make his lecture available to the public.

Neville Morley has been blogging on the conference, including summaries of all the lectures, at


Thursday 28th June

9.30-10.00      Registration/Coffee

10.00 -10.05   Welcome

10.05-11.00    Keynote Address: Arlene Saxonhouse (Michigan): Deciding to go to war: Thucydides on who’s responsible

11.00-11.15    Coffee Break

11.15-13.00    Panel 1: Thucydides in Pedagogy and Translation

                         Jeremy Mynott (Cambridge) : Translating Thucydides

                         Oliver Schelske (Tübingen): Thucydides as an educational text: Max Weber and Winston Churchill

13.00-14.00    Lunch

14.00- 15.45  Panel 2: History and Politics

                         Claudia Rammelt (Yale): Florentine readings of Thucydides from Bruni to Machiavelli

                         Ben Earley (Bristol): Between Mably and Thucydides: the decline and fall of Athens and Greece

15.45-16.00    Coffee Break

16.00 -17.00  Panel 3: International Relations

                        Edward Keene (Oxford): Thucydides and the use of history in IR

17.00-18.00   Keynote Address: Clifford Orwin (Toronto) The political role of the human body in Thucydides

Friday 29th June

9.15-9.30       Coffee

9.30-11.15    Panel 4: Thucydides and Democratic Prospects

                       Gerald Mara (Georgetown): The politics of citizenship in Thucydides

                       Christine Lee (Bristol): Reading Thucydides: A Text for and Against Democracy

11.15-11.30   Coffee Break

11.30-13.15    Panel 5: A Politicised Text?

                        Gregory Crane (Tufts): Thucydides and Neoconservatism

                        Liz Sawyer (Oxford): Thucydides in the British Parliament

13.15-14.15   Lunch

14.15-16.00   Panel 6: The Contemporaneity of Thucydides

                        Thom Workman (New Brunswick): Thucydides and the Philosophical Prism of Modernity

                        Jon Hesk (St Andrews) : Thucydides in the 20th and 21st centuries

16.00-16.15    Coffee Break

16.15-17.00    Closing Discussion

18.00-19.00    Public Lecture: Recital Room, Victoria Rooms, Queens Road, Bristol

                        Hunter R. Rawlings III (President of the Association of American Universities):

                        A Possession for All Time? Why and How Thucydides Still Matters

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