The Corner

The Elusive Thucydides

I also love Thucydides — if only he had said much of what people say he did. My favorite quote was the lead off in my book, Save The Males. But when I checked with Victor Davis Hanson to make sure I had it right, I learnt he didn’t say it. He said something like it, but not the quote that is widely “known.”

The quote I meant to use, and that seems true if not truly said, was, “Human nature is unchanging across time and space and thus predictable.”

The actual quote that probably led to the more popular version is as follows:

The absence of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest; but if it be judged useful by those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future, which in the course of human things must resemble if it does not reflect it, I shall be content. In fine, I have written my work, not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as a possession for all time.


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