Listen free for 30 days

Listen with offer

  • The History of the Peloponnesian War

  • By: Thucydides
  • Narrated by: Mike Rogers
  • Length: 22 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (31 ratings)

Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection - including bestsellers and new releases.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, celeb exclusives, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
£7.99/month after 30 days. Renews automatically. See here for eligibility.
The History of the Peloponnesian War cover art

The History of the Peloponnesian War

By: Thucydides
Narrated by: Mike Rogers
Try for £0.00

£7.99/month after 30 days. Renews automatically. See here for eligibility.

Buy Now for £32.99

Buy Now for £32.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Listeners also enjoyed...

Darwin's Dangerous Idea cover art
Julius Caesar De Bello Gallico, The War in Gaul: A Storyteller's Version cover art
How to Win an Election cover art
Histories cover art
Catiline's War cover art
The Peloponnesian War cover art
The Histories cover art
The Age of Caesar cover art
The King’s Gambit cover art
Ancient Greece 101: Greek History, Myth, and Civilization cover art
Annals cover art
China Only Yesterday: 1850-1950 cover art
Louis XIV and the Zenith of the French Monarchy cover art
Hellenica cover art
The Greek Histories cover art
The Persian Expedition cover art

Summary

The rivalry between two of the dominant city states of Ancient Greece, Athens and Sparta, erupted into a war lasting nearly 30 years and was to have a dramatic effect on the balance of power in the area. Between 431 and 404 BCE, the two cities battled it out on land and sea, aided by their alliances with neighbouring states: Athens’ Delian League vigorously opposed Sparta’s Peloponnesian League in a conflict which effectively involved the whole region. 

Thucydides, in his role as an Athenian general, saw the war from close quarters, and his famous account of it, The History of the Peloponnesian War, is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding early histories. He observes in considerable detail the way in which the fortunes of war swung one way and then another. Sparta was known for its vigorous martial training, expert especially in land battles and Athens, very much a centre of high culture and known for successful sea battles - the combination proved crucial in defeating the Persian invasion 50 years earlier. Thucydides explains what happened when these two proud states came to war. Conflict became inevitable when Sparta became increasingly concerned with the growing power and dominance of the Athenian empire in the region. 

This is essentially a military history - tactics and armoury are much in evidence - though it is replete with other important details including portraits and speeches of key figures such as Pericles (the funeral oration given to mark the dead in the first year of the war) and the controversial Athenian general Alcibiades. But Thucydides also describes the destructive effect of war on ordinary citizens, the atrocities committed by both sides, disease, the effect of rain and storms, the influence of power blocs, military overconfidence and political decisions made well behind the battle fronts which interfered with the progress and success of the war. 

He recounts the disastrous Sicilian Expedition where a strong Athenian force was virtually destroyed at Syracuse. Thucydides’ History, divided into eight books, ends abruptly in 410 BCE, six years before the conclusion of hostilities, suggesting his death. It is unlikely he ever saw the final defeat of Athens by Sparta in a naval battle, the destruction of the walls of Athens and the ultimate victory of the Peloponnesian League. Nevertheless, his History remains a vivid portrayal of a vicious and unrelenting war lasting nearly three decades between neighbouring rivals. Presented here in the classical translation by Benjamin Jowett, it is read with engaging immediacy by Mike Rogers.

Public Domain (P)2019 Ukemi Productions Ltd
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The History of the Peloponnesian War

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    21
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Very well read, good translation, still tough to follow

This is a long book full of dozens (hundreds) of names of people and places, all involved in a complex series of events of often relatively obscure causes that happen over a large area. Without maps and an index of characters - and ideally a chronological recap of what happened when - it's basically impossible to follow. Thucydides does a good job of keeping track, and his reconstructed speeches - articulating motives and interpretations from the perspectives of different participants - are especially helpful and engaging. In this audiobook version, this is particularly the case - the narrator does an excellent job throughout.

But damn, can it be a slog at times. You find your mind wandering, and lose track of what the hell's going on. You skip back to find out, and gradually realise that the entire war is more or less a collection of randomness and futility.

But such is the case with most histories of wars. Because despite war being a popular topic for history books thanks to the huge impact they can have, most wars are actually pretty incoherent, and most battles as much about fortune as battlefield strategy. Some find this fascinating - but I'm always more interested in the bigger picture than the details, the politics rather than the tactics. So maybe this wasn't for me.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The best surviving Greek history.

Suitably grave and stentorian narration of a truly awe inspiring text. This audio version genuinely adds something.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!