10 Inspirational Quotes by Thucydides

How the History of the Peloponnesian War Speaks to Us Today

“I’m about to change your life.”

Ryan Holiday, Definitely Not a Troll, somehow makes actual money peddling ancient wisdom like this. But he has a point. After all, texts like Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War resonate with modern audiences. There’s literally no other reason we would still be reading them. So Thucydides must have inspiring life lessons for us. Maybe ten, exactly. And they apply to every single person everywhere. I’m so sure about that, I don’t even need to emerge from my corner of the Internet to verify.

Let’s see what one of the greatest minds ever can teach us. Here’s some of his best prose — but fair warning, you may need a tissue!

Life Is a Lottery

But it so happened that Brasidas, son of Tellis, a Spartan, was in command of a guard for the defense of the district (2.25.2).

…and a Journey

Going by sea to Pyrrha, and from thence overland, he passed along the bed of a torrent, where the line of circumvallation was passable (3.25.1).

Be Prepared

Brasidas and Alcidas began to prepare accordingly (3.69.2).

Home Is Where the Heart Is

After walling off this spot, the fleet sailed off home (4.45.2).

Climate Change Is Real

In the first days of the next summer there was an eclipse of the sun at the time of new moon, and in the early part of the same month an earthquake (4.52.1).

No News Is Good News Is Bullshit

The news of the men’s death had of course not arrived (2.6.2).

Carpe Diem

While they delayed there, this battle took place and so the summer ended (5.12.2).

Everybody Has a Past, So Don't Judge

Some time back there had been a war between the Lepreans and some of the Arcadians (5.31.2).

Make and Maintain Connections — They May Come in Handy!

Agis accepted their proposals, and sent for Alcamenes, son of Sthenelaidas, and Melanthus from Lacedaemon, to take the command in Euboea (8.5.1).

Don’t Procrastinate

For this reason they pushed forward the construction of their work with posterns and entrances and means of introducing the enemy, being eager to have it finished in time (8.92.1).

Is it any wonder that we read Thucydides thousands of years later?

Yung In Chae took a Thucydides class her senior year of college, and has the scars to show for it.

Sarah Scullin only reads Thoukudídês in the original Greek, sorry.

Thucydides is a best-selling author and motivational speaker.