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Grant number like: FT-57958-10

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Martha K. Zebrowski
Columbia University (New York, NY 10027-7922)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2010 – 9/30/2010

William Smith's 1753 Translation of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War

With his 1753 translation of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, William Smith brought the Athenian empire and experience into the contemporary debate over the British maritime empire, policy of naval defense, and need for the leadership of patriots. Smith favored a strong British naval defense but not an expansionist empire, and he offered Thucydides' History to the British as a cautionary tale. This article addresses Smith's understanding and use of Thucydides' history and argument, and locates Smith's work in the political, intellectual, and visual culture of eighteenth-century Britain. The article demonstrates how, in the eighteenth century, ancient Greece, no less than ancient Rome, played a formative part in British self-reflection and political analysis, and with this it expands the interpretive field for classicists, historians, those interested in the history and reception of classical texts, art historians, and historians of political thought.