Three ancient biographies1 of Thucydides have come down to us, but they are of little value. They are derived from ancient commentaries, and the biographical details which they contain, wherever they do not rest upon inference from the text of the history itself, are often confused and contradictory. These are supplemented by scattered statements of several ancient writers—Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who wrote two treatises on Thucydides (De Thucydidis historia iudicium and the Second Letter to Ammaeus), Plutarch (Cimon iv), and Pausanias (i. xxxii.).
The only authentic facts about the life of Thucydides are gathered from casual mention in the History. He was the son of Olorus (iv. civ. 4); commenced the compilation of materials for writing the History at the outset of the Peloponnesian War (i. i. 1); and lived through the whole war, ripe in years and
- 1One of these, compiled in three distinct portions “from the commentaries,” passed under the name of Marcellinus, who is probably to be identified with the author of Scholia on Hermogenes περὶ στάσεων, who seems to have lived in the fifth century a.d.; another was by an anonymous grammarian; and the third is a short notice in Suidas, s.v. Θουκυδίδης.