Thucydides is difficult!

If my translations seem awkward, it is not only because of my unfamiliarity with the original languages, but also because the original Greek or Latin is often complex. This is especially true of the Greek. Livy’s Latin is, for the most part, relatively straightforward, but Thucydides’ Greek is not. He uses some of the most complex and (to my eye) impenetrable grammar that I have seen. In many cases, even the notes accompanying the text fail me, provided by editors to aid translation. Often the notes will suggest translations without clearly explaining how they reached that point. The same is true of most translations available on the internet. They often translate the original quite freely. This is not very helpful when I am looking at the translation in order to understand how the Greek can be interpreted and translated into idiomatic English. In fact, translators of Thucydides seem to be worse than usual in this regard, probably precisely because the Greek is so difficult. To that end I want to praise a particular work. Steven Lattimore’s 1998 translation is graceful yet, so far as I can tell, accurate. He hews quite closely to a literal translation of the Greek and this has been a great help to me. Lattimore’s English is sometimes complex, but that is because it mirrors the Greek, equally or more complex. If you’re interested in reading Thucydides in English, and want something that preserves the style of the original author, I highly recommend this book. Click on the image to go to the item at Amazon.

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