Hi Phil & Andre,
Last night I read book 7 of Thucydides, and I’m still reeling from the force of it. Best historical writing I have ever read. By far.
Andre, I found that quote you mentioned. In a letter, after talking about Cicero, Caesar, and other Romans and how great they were, Lord Macauley wrote:
But what are they all to the great Athenian? I do assure you that there is no prose composition in the world, not even the De Corona, which I place so high as the seventh book of Thucydides. It is the ne plus ultra of human art. I was delighted to find in Gray’s letters the other day this query to Wharton: “The retreat from Syracuse–Is it or is it not the finest thing you ever read in your life?”
Which raises the question: if you had to recommend to someone the books you thought were the best you’d ever read, what would they be? War & Peace for me, and Brothers Karamazov, and now books 6 & 7 of Thucydides. I’d be curious to know what makes your short list.