Reception of Thucydides events at Bristol

Sunday 10th November 2013

Might is Right? Ancient and Modern Debates (InsideArts)

Foyles, 6 Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, 1pm.

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.” So claimed an aide of George W. Bush in 2004, but it’s an idea that dates back to 5th century BC Greece and the historian Thucydides – one of the most-quoted ancient writers in debates about contemporary affairs, including on such topics as the invasion of Iraq and post-9/11 US foreign policy. This public event, part of the annual InsideArts and Thinking Futures festivals of ideas, draws on the work of the Bristol Thucydides project over the last four years. There will be a staging of an adaptation of the Melian Dialogue, the famous passage in Thucydides’ work where he explores different approaches to justice and interest in inter-state relations, by members of StudioSpace, the student drama society; this will be followed by a discussion between scholars working on different aspects of the topic and plenty of opportunity for questions from the audience.

Attendance is free, but we do ask you to reserve a place in advance: go to If you have any queries, please contact Neville Morley (n.d.g.morley(at)

Monday 25th-Tuesday 26th November 2013
The Most Politic Historiographer: Thucydides in Modern Western Culture
Clifton Hill House, Bristol

Thucydides has been, at least since the nineteenth century, one of the most-cited and most influential classical thinkers. His work has inspired not only ancient historians and classicists, but historians of all periods, political theorists, international relations specialists, soldiers and military educators, and novelists, all of whom have found it a source of deep insight into the nature and experience of war and of how one should study this. This is the final research colloquium of the AHRC-funded project on Thucydides: reception, reinterpretation and influence, drawing together different themes in his modern reception with papers from a range of international experts and from members of the project team.

Geoffrey Hawthorn (Cambridge): Who does Thucydides please?

Aleka Lianeri (Thessaloniki): Time and Method: Thucydides’ contemporary history in nineteenth-century Britain

Christian Thauer (FU Berlin /U of Washington): Re-approaching Thucydides? An Intellectual History Perspective

Edith Foster (Ashland University): Narrating Battles: Thucydides and Ernst Jünger

Andreas Stradis (Bristol): Thucydides and Vietnam: A Vehicle for Ethical Professional Military Education

Seth Jaffe (Toronto): Reflections on the Straussian Thucydides

Neville Morley (Bristol): The Idea of Thucydides in Western Culture

Ben Earley (Bristol): The Spirit of Athens: Thucydides as a theorist of maritime empire

Liz Sawyer (Oxford): From contemporary relevance to eternal truth: Thucydides and the Great Books movement from the 1960s to today

Discussants: Christian Wendt (FU Berlin), Emily Greenwood (Yale), Katherine Harloe (Reading)

Attendance is free, but numbers are strictly limited, and places must be reserved in advance: please contact Neville Morley on n.d.g.morley(at) by 15th November.

Neville Morley
Professor of Ancient History, University of Bristol

Project Lead, Thucydides: reception, reinterpretation and influence

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