The Landmark Ancient Histories
The book contains a number of illustrations. Although some of these
display works of art that are certainly beautiful, they are not intended
to be attractive ornaments to the text; they have been chosen
specifically to enhance the reader’s sense of historicity of the text. For
Figure 2.4.33 of Xenophon’s Hellenika shows a tomb in
the Athenian district called the Kerameikos that was erected for
Spartans soldiers who died in battle nearby. Xenophon describes this
fighting and tells us the names of two Spartan officers among the
casualties, and says that the Athenians built a tomb for them in the
Kerameikos. An inscription on the tomb includes the names of the two
officers, thus bringing home to the reader that Xenophon is writing
about an actual event, for which the evidence is incontrovertible.
Another example of the use of an illustration would be Figure 4.41
in the
Landmark Thucydides. He describes a campaign at the
southern Peloponnesian site called Pylos in which the Athenians
defeated and captured almost three hundred Spartans who were taken
to Athens. The captured Sparta shields were hung in some temples at
Athens and were seen and written about some five hundred years later
by the travel writer Pausanias. The picture shows a battered shield that
was found in an ancient well in the Athenian agora. As its inscription
shows, it was one of those shields taken by the Athenians from the
Spartans at Pylos. This real object which one may see today in the
Agora Museum at Athens, testifies to the historicity of this episode in
Thucydides’ narrative.
It is hoped that these editions, with their many reader-friendly
features, will enable today’s general readers to follow, comprehend,
and enjoy these marvelous texts which heretofore have been largely
impenetrable for all but classical scholars.
Robert B. Strassler
Copyright © 2010 by Robert B. Strassler
Landmark Features

Xenophon Figure 2.4.33
Thucydides Figure 4.41
In Print