From 431 - 404 BCE, Greece was torn apart by a devastating struggle between Athens and Sparta. As its famous historian, Thucydides, wrote, the Peloponnesian War was the greatest war in its geographical scope, the bloodiest in its casualties, and the costliest in its consumption of resources that the Greeks to that time had experienced. Curiously, the period of the war was also among the culturally richest in Athenian history. Through close reading of Thucydides, students explore the development and effects of the war and the philosophical issues that Thucydides raises in his history. Through close reading of Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, students attempt to define these playwrights' perspectives on the world and to consider the extent to which, if at all, their works reflect or were shaped by the experience of war. Along the way, the class also examines developments in the visual arts and philosophy in late 5th c. BCE Athens.