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2. The Causes of the War and Pericles' Funeral Oration

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About this Lecture


In this module, we explore Thucydides’ views on historical causation as well as his depiction of Pericles’ Funeral Oration. In particular, we think about the terms that Thucydides uses to distinguish between two kinds of causes (aitia and prophasis), as well as the reasons that Thucydides may have had for including the Funeral Oration in its entirety. To what extent, however, is Thucydides’ account an accurate representation of what was actually said?


In this course, Professor Neville Morley (University of Bristol) explores Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, focusing on the key episodes in the text and thinking in particular about some of the historiographical issues that modern historians face when reading Thucydides. As we move through the course, we think about the opening paragraphs of Thucydides’ history and his methodology as a historian, his views on historical causation, his dramatisation of history, and his sense of the tragedy of history, among many other issues.


Neville Morley is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Bristol, who has published widely on ancient economic and social history, the theory and methodology of history, and the historian Thucydides.

At present, he is working on a book on Karl Marx for the OUP Classics in Theory series, and developing new research projects on ecology and economics in the Roman world, as well as continuing to write articles on Thucydides and his reception and other topics.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Morley, N. (2018, August 15). Thucydides - The Causes of the War and Pericles' Funeral Oration [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Morley, Neville. "Thucydides – The Causes of the War and Pericles' Funeral Oration." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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