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Thucydides’ Rennaissance Readers

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Chapter Summary

Thucydides' History did not conform straight forwardly to Renaissance ideas about historiography. During the Renaissance Thucydides' readers mainly studied him in Latin, at least in Western Europe. The entire text of the History was translated into Latin and annotated several times, but certain parts of the work received special attention. This chapter traces the reception of Thucydides in the Latin West from the fourteenth century, when the early Italian humanists became interested in Greek literature, until the end of the sixteenth century, by which time the study of Greek was firmly established in Western universities. Although no one had had any direct knowledge of Thucydides' work for centuries, his name was familiar in fourteenth-century Western Europe from the works of a number of classical Latin writers, especially critics like Cicero and Quintilian. The first Latin translation of Thucydides was completed in 1452 by the Roman humanist Lorenzo Valla.

Keywords: Cicero; Greek literature; History; Quintilian; Renaissance readers; Thucydides; Western Europe



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