We have already seen ways in which Thucydides shapes his narrative: selection, emphasis, articulation, temporal dislocation come together to impose a particular reading of events. But how far would an author go in shaping detail to construct a persuasive narrative? ‘The ability of the ancients to invent and their capacity to believe are persistently underestimated,’ said Finley (1985:9): what ways are there to arrive at a more accurate estimate?