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"the most essential ancient greek text: poll" Topic

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Areas of Interest


621 hits since 14 Jan 2018
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dejvid Inactive Member14 Jan 2018 1:29 p.m. PST

Between works by Homer, Thucydides, Plato, Euripides, Xenophon and Menander which do you consider to be the most "essential":


Interesting to see if an influx of wargamers will change the result significantly.

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2018 2:16 p.m. PST

Homer is fun but Thucydides and Xenophon tell you more for wargaming.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2018 2:26 p.m. PST

And Herodotus didn't even make the short list?

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2018 2:48 p.m. PST

Yeah – I'd have thought that if it was going to only have two histories, Herodotus would have been one of them.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Jan 2018 2:49 p.m. PST

If I could only have one history book it would be Thucydides.

sillypoint14 Jan 2018 2:55 p.m. PST

Xenephon's "Anabasis" for me.

Sobieski Inactive Member14 Jan 2018 3:26 p.m. PST

Xenephon. Good introduction to the era, maybe the best.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2018 4:28 p.m. PST

Loved Xenophon but for a single book, Thucydides

Gone Fishing14 Jan 2018 4:45 p.m. PST

My God, gentlemen. Homer.

nevals14 Jan 2018 4:54 p.m. PST

Thucydides for me. The other day , my daughter asked me which book I would take with me to the desert island. Easy one, "History of the Peloponnesian War".

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2018 5:39 p.m. PST

Homer first, then Thucydides.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2018 5:59 p.m. PST

No chance for Thucydides with Xennophon's Hellenica just to finish up the war?

whitejamest14 Jan 2018 7:40 p.m. PST

Sophocles. Easily the greatest until Shakespeare came along.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2018 8:37 p.m. PST

Euripides gives us much more entertaining gaming material!

GurKhan15 Jan 2018 1:03 a.m. PST

Weird shortlist. Menander, but no Aristophanes or Sophocles?

langobard Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2018 1:49 a.m. PST

Homer, Herodotus, Sophocles, honorable mention to Xenephon.

Sobieski Inactive Member15 Jan 2018 4:13 a.m. PST

Homer may be the most overrated storyteller in all literature (I admit, Hemingway rivals him).

Martian Root Canal15 Jan 2018 5:38 a.m. PST

Homer, Herodotus, Polybius (he wrote about Rome in Greek), Thucydides.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2018 7:21 a.m. PST

With no disrespect to Homer, no one can be more over-rated than Hemingway. But every now and then he knocked one out of the park. Read "The Undefeated" some day, even if you have to read Death in the Afternoon to pick up the fine points. Some of the short stories in Fifth Column are respectable, too.
As for Homer, read the Iliad. Skip the Odyssey.

dejvid Inactive Member15 Jan 2018 10:56 a.m. PST

Interesting. Even though Thucydides and Xenophon have had a boost, Homer retains his dominant position as most of those not placing him first have placed him second. I guess I should have expected that – the Ancient Greeks themselves would certainly have agreed.

Yes, on reflection, Herodotus, Polybius, Sophocles and Aristophanes should all have been on the list. Menander was on the list because his plays were quite distinct from the other playwrights who wrote with the unashamed aim of just being fun while Aristophanes' humor always had a serious point.

Sobieski Inactive Member15 Jan 2018 3:25 p.m. PST

I'd question whether the majority calling Homer so great have read him in the last twenty years.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2018 4:19 p.m. PST

Wasn't there someone with Alexander who wrote a sort of eyewitness account? I googled it, but could not come up with anything.

Gone Fishing15 Jan 2018 5:31 p.m. PST

Sobieski: I can't speak for others, of course, but I try to read all of Homer every year (in reality it's probably every 18 months). He never grows old, is as fresh as when I first read him in school,never fails to provide new insights to life and the human condition, and is, at least for me, one of those rare authors who cast a spell to such a degree that one can slip into thinking there is no other literature but this.

The only other writers who do this for me personally are Dante and Chaucer. Wagner does this in music.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2018 6:24 p.m. PST

Menander who?

dejvid Inactive Member16 Jan 2018 1:52 a.m. PST

>>Wasn't there someone with Alexander who wrote a sort of eyewitness account? I googled it, but could not come up with anything.

Lots, Ptolomey and Callisthenes to name two (though Callisthenes had a little trouble completing his account) but they are all lost.

We could always run a poll on which lost work should be unlost (assuming we somehow get hold of a time machine).

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