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Thucydides' War NarrativeA Structural Study$
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Carolyn Dewald

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520241275

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520241275.001.0001

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• Internal Structure of the Unit of Action (ii.1–v.24)

• Internal Structure of the Unit of Action (ii.1–v.24)

(p.48) Chapter Three • Internal Structure of the Unit of Action (ii.1–v.24)
Thucydides' War Narrative

Carolyn J. Dewald

University of California Press

This chapter considers the units themselves, since they are the building blocks out of which Thucydides constructs the Archidamian narrative as a whole. Thucydides uses five types of unit in all, three fairly short and two much longer, to construct the 119 narrative units of ii.1–v.24. Units of action as defined in this study do not provide the only way to describe the narrative of the early books of the History, but they articulate some narrative habits that Thucydides relies on quite consistently. Every very short narrative stretch can be identified as belonging to one of these three types: the short, single-focus unit; the more developed unit that still has a single focus; or the unit that has a single subject but several changes of focus. The amazing difference between the two types of longer units concerns the presence or absence of an excursus, consisting of material quite different from that of the narrative unit that surrounds it.

Keywords:   narrative, building blocks, the short, single-focus unit, excursus

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