Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay explores what Thucydides teaches about leadership, by focusing on four prominent leaders in his History: Pericles, Brasidas, Alcibiades, and Nicias. Successful leaders operate within the confines of particular cities, regimes, and their ways of life, but find space for freedom by articulating goals and standards for action. Pericles instructs Athenians about their city’s purpose and its demands, while presenting himself as a model of freedom. Brasidas represents Spartan dedication to freedom from oppression, but to the larger world rather than to the Spartans themselves. Alcibiades carries Athenian freedom to the point of betraying cities, and Nicias betrays that freedom by refusing to exercise it. Leadership demonstrates that freedom is possible for human beings, but that it must be cultivated by leaders themselves. Thucydides judges leaders by their success in doing so.

Keywords: leadership, freedom, Pericles, Alcibiades, Brasidas, Nicias

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.