Abstract This paper argues that spatial contingencies, defined by the relationship between where historical actors are in the narrative and what they say, are crucial for understanding the political and ideological effects of Thucydides' History. A comprehensive approach to these contingencies is linked to two related premises. First, that the city of Athens is the principal spatial referent in the History and, second, that Athens refers both to a set of ““real”” topographical features and to a transcendent and trans-historical ideal that exceeds those features. The dynamic between these two is mediated by Athens' inevitable defeat and by the related conflict between the History as the presentation of facts about the past, on the one hand, and as the source of future predictions, on the other. Framing this analysis are the distinctive characteristics ascribed to the Athenians as a collective and to the positions of Thucydides and Alcibiades as Athenians in exile.

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