Thucydides' Great Harbor battle as literary tomb
American Journal of Philology
Johns Hopkins University Press
577 - 604
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This article argues that Thucydides' Great Harbor scene (Th. 7.69-71) recalls the imagery of the public funerary monuments of this time. Internal focalization encourages the reader to visualize a conflict which remains fixed at a moment of peak strain for a long period in a densely crowded field, the historian directing the reader's attention to one individual conflict after another, an experience much like viewing a frieze. Internal viewers, meanwhile, wail and lament. This ersatz funerary monument complements Nicias' pre-battle harangue, which has long been recognized as unsettlingly funerary, to memorialize men who soon will lie unburied.