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date: 20 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyzes Thucydides’ account of the Athenian invasion in Sicily in Books 6 and 7 of his History, focusing on the interpretative consequences of Thucydides’ Athenian focalization and the fact that the success of his account has obscured alternative perspectives on this invasion. Particular attention is paid to the narrative patterning of the Sicilian invasion as a “double war” that runs parallel to the main, overarching war between the Athenians and the Peloponnesians. This “double war” structure, in which the war ends disastrously for the aggressors, only for them to keep on fighting the other war with renewed vigor, allows Thucydides to illustrate the open-ended unpredictability of war in real time and the constant revision of expectations on the part of those involved.

Keywords: Thucydides, Sicilian Expedition, Athenian imperialism, exemplarity, Peloponnesian War, Hermocrates, Gongylus

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