Thucydides  

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"Right is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." -- Thucydides; History of the Peloponnesian War

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Thucydides (c. 460 – c. 400 BC) was an Athenian historian and general. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC. Thucydides has been dubbed the father of "scientific history" by those who accept his claims to have applied strict standards of evidence-gathering and analysis of cause and effect, without reference to intervention by the gods, as outlined in his introduction to his work.

He has also been called the father of the school of political realism, which views the political behavior of individuals and the subsequent outcomes of relations between states as ultimately mediated by and constructed upon the emotions of fear and self-interest. His text is still studied at both universities and military colleges worldwide. The Melian dialogue is regarded as a seminal work of international relations theory, while his version of Pericles' Funeral Oration is widely studied in political theory, history, and classical studies.

More generally, Thucydides showed an interest in developing an understanding of human nature to explain behaviour in such crises as plague, massacres, as in that of the Melians, and civil war.

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