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The Poetic Musings of a Historian’s Mind:
How Thucydides uses fiction to restore the past to the present

Elisabeth Morell

St. John's College, 2017

How does history differ from fiction? My investigation begins in book seven of Thucydides, at the moment where the Athenian land army observes the defeat of their navy. This particular passage marks an abrupt stylistic change for the historian, as it transitions into a description reminiscent of Homer's epic poetry.
However, it is because Thucydides chooses this particular moment of peril and confusion to artistically depict the state of the Athenians that I am drawn to investigate whether he is also trying to suggest something regarding democracy itself, thus using fiction to perfect his history.

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