Featured Article:


Thucydides on the Causes and Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War


Thucydides repeatedly explains that the Peloponnesian War arose not simply from the specific grievances of this or that state but from a longer process of growing Athenian power that inspired fear among the Spartans, making the war inevitable. Thucydides’ balanced and richly detailed account has not convinced everyone, however. Many scholars investigating the war’s causes have disagreed with Thucydides’ thesis, typically using the historian’s own narrative to fix primary blame for the war on the Athenians or the Spartans, or more rarely casting the war’s outbreak in broader terms, with varying degrees of success. This chapter validates Thucydides’ explanation and shows that alternative modern explanations are unsatisfactory.


This article is a selection from The Oxford Handbook of Thucydides, edited by Sara Forsdyke, Edith Foster, and Ryan Balot.


Featured Image: portrait of Thucudides from Pictures from Greek Life and Story. Alfred John Church, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.


Read the full article >


Explore more articles



Learn more: Watch the video

Also available with Chinese subtitles on Youku












Helpful Resources

Connect with Oxford

We want to hear from you! Engage with OUP’s social media or contact the OHO team.



March 6, 2017

March Update Live

214 individual articles and 4 Handbook titles from across 13 subject areas added to OHO.

February 6, 2017

February Update Live

225 individual articles and 4 Handbook titles from across 12 subject areas added to OHO, including 10 articles in the new Neuroscience discipline, currently in preview.

February 1, 2017

February Handbook Reviews

See which 2 Handbook titles are recommended this month.