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(born c. 460died c. 404 BC) Greatest of ancient Greek historians. An Athenian who commanded a fleet in the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides failed to prevent the capture of the important city of Amphipolis and consequently was exiled for 20 years. During that period he wrote his History of the Peloponnesian War; evidently he did not live to complete it, for it stops abruptly in 411 BC. It presents the first recorded political and moral analysis of a nation's war policies, treating the causes of the conflict, the characters of the two states, and the technical aspects of warfare in a carefully drawn, strictly chronological narrative of events, including some in which he took an active part.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Thucydides, visit Britannica.com.