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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Xenophon’s “continuation” of Thucydides’ history opens up a perspective on realism as it is found in the speeches and deeds of Thucydides’ Athenians. The Hellenica and, to a lesser extent, the Anabasis enter into a dialogue with Thucydides about realism and the problematic way in which its theory has an impact on practice. Xenophon’s morality contains surprisingly realistic elements, and his peculiar combination of ethics and politics highlights Thucydides’ own intense interest in the morality and piety of his characters as they struggle with the claims of natural necessity. Moral agency is shown to depend on morale. The perception of necessity sometimes destroys, sometimes raises morale.

Keywords: Thucydides, Xenophon, realism, necessity, piety, morale, Socrates, Hellenica

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