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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that authorial comments are an important tool of Thucydides’ historiographical strategy. As the comments interrelate with the longer authorial essays, the surrounding narrative parts of the Histories, and the speeches of its actors, they guide the reader in interpreting rich, complex text. Authorial comments are typically found at the opening of episodes or at the introduction of characters, and thus often create a frame for evaluating subsequent passages. When comments are asides, they may concern topics distant from Thucydides’ focus, like divination and early Greek legend. Although pushed to the fringes of his work, these topics display significant relations to contemporary events. Finally, the frequency of authorial comments increases in Book 8, the narrative of which points to a growing fragmentation of the Hellenic world, and needs more authorial guidance to remain understandable.

Keywords: authorial comment, authorial essay, character judgments, oracles, ethnography, Thracians, Greek legend, Periclean oratory

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