Time And Foresight In Thucydides

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Published In

The Cambridge Companion To Thucydides


This chapter examines statements in Thucydides’ work that predict or foreshadow the future (prolepses), placing them in the context of a wider study of the narratological structure of the History as a whole. It analyses predictions made by the narrator himself (including 1.22.4’s famous claim about the future utility of the work), as well as the (often unreliable) claims that characters in the History make about the future course of events. The combined effect of these prolepses is a notable instability in the ‘unreal future’ that the text predicts. Thucydides’ work offers us no clear conclusion about the ultimate significance of the war that he has described: the work as a whole is not a teleological narrative.


narratology, structure, style, tragedy

Published By

Cambridge University Press


P. Low

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