The Historian as Dramatist: the Use of Speeches in Thucydides

Raymond Harding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is the contention of this paper that Thucydides relied for dramatic effect upon well-known devices in Greek tragedy. Drama and historical writing emerged in the Greek world over a relatively short time frame. In 534 B.C., according to tradition, Thespis stepped forth from the Athenian chorus, and uttered the words 'I am', thus first assuming responsibility for portraying an individual role. This is generally accepted as the starting point for Drama as we have come to know it. Herodotus began composing the first 'historical' work - The Histories, sometime around 450 B.C. which he recited to a live audience. Moreover, as they both evolved from common antecedents in the oral traditions of bards, story-tellers and choric performance, it was inevitable, at least in the early stages of their development, they would have a number of features in common.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Historian as Dramatist: the Use of Speeches in Thucydides'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this