The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War

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Thucydides called his account of two decades of war between Athens and Sparta “a possssion for all time,” and indeed it is the first and still most famous work in the Western historical tradition. Considered essential reading for generals, statesmen, and liberally educated citizens for more than 2,000 years, The Peloponnesian War is a mine of military, moral, political, and philosophical wisdom.

Thucydides called his account of two decades of war between Athens and Sparta “a possssion for all time,” and indeed it is the first and still most famous work in the Western historical tradition. Considered essential reading for generals, statesmen, and liberally educated citizens for more than 2,000 years, The Peloponnesian War is a mine of military, moral, political, and philosophical wisdom.

However, this classic book has long presented obstacles to the uninitiated reader. Robert Strassler's new edition removes these obstacles by providing a new coherence to the narrative overall, and by effectively reconstructing the lost cultural context that Thucydides shared with his original audience. Based on the venerable Richard Crawley translation, updated and revised for modern readers. The Landmark Thucydides includes a vast array of superbly designed and presented maps, brief informative appendices by outstanding classical scholars on subjects of special relevance to the text, explanatory marginal notes on each page, an index of unprecedented subtlety, and numerous other useful features.

In any list of the Great Books of Western Civilization, The Peloponnesian War stands near the top. This authoritative new edition will ensure that its greatness is appreciated by future generations.
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About the author

Robert B. Strassler is an unaffiliated scholar whose articles have appeared in the Journal of Hellenic Studies. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Sep 10, 1998
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Pages
752
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ISBN
9781439106594
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / Greece
History / General
History / Military / General
Reference / Atlases, Gazetteers & Maps
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In 431 BC, the long simmering rivalry between the city-states of Athens and Sparta erupted into open warfare, and for more than a generation the two were locked in a life-and-death struggle. The war embroiled the entire Greek world, provoking years of butchery previously unparalleled in ancient Greece. Whole cities were exterminated, their men killed, their women and children enslaved. While the war is commonly believed to have ended with the capture of the Athenian navy in 405 and the subsequent starvation of Athens, fighting in Greece would continue for several decades. Sparta's authority was challenged in the so-called Corinthian War (395-387) when Persian gold helped unite Athens with Sparta's former allies. The war did not truly end until, in 371, Thebes' crack infantry resoundingly defeated Sparta at Leuctra, forever shattering the myth of Spartan military supremacy. Jennifer Roberts' rich narrative of this famous conflict is the first general history to tell the whole story, from the war's origins down to Sparta's defeat at Leuctra. In her masterful account, this long and bloody war affected every area of life in Athens, exacerbated divisions between rich and poor in Sparta, and sparked civil strife throughout the Greek world. Yet despite the biting sorrows the fighting occasioned, it remains a gripping saga of plots and counter-plots, murders and lies, thrilling sea chases and desperate overland marches, missed opportunities and last-minute reprieves, and, as the war's first historian Thucydides had hoped, lessons for a less bellicose future. In addition, Roberts considers the impact of the war on Greece's cultural life, including the great masterworks of tragedy and comedy performed at this time and, most infamously, the trial and execution of Socrates. A fast-paced narrative of one of antiquity's most famous clashes, The Plague of War is a must-read for history enthusiasts of all ages.
 From Thermopylae to Marathon, discover the most important battles of the ancient Greek wars, which helped set the course of European history for centuries Examines the events leading up to each conflict and the social and political fallout Appraises military geniuses such as Sparta and AthensBeautifully illustrated with many rare and unpublished paintings, imagery and contemporary photographs


One of the most popular areas of ancient history is war in the Greek world. The number of books, articles, webpages and blogs on every conceivable aspect of war in ancient Greece is endless and continues to grow. So why add to the pile? 

Wars and Battles of Ancient Greece is not just another arid account of conflict with endless, often exaggerated, casualty figures and repetitive tactics. It is different from other books in the field because it has context as its focus: each of the battles covered is, where sources permit, placed in its historical, political and social context: why was the battle fought, how was it fought, what was the outcome and what happened next? 

No war or battle has ever been fought in isolation – there is always a prelude, a ‘casus belli’ – an act or event that provokes or is used to justify war – and a series of consequences. These are revealed wherever possible for each of the wars and battles in this gripping book. In order to reinforce our focus on context, Wars and Battles of Ancient Greece includes chapters covering warfare in civilisations and cultures before Greece, the Greek war machine and Greek women and conflict. 

It is a detailed survey of conflict in ancient Greece from the Mycenaean Age to the end of the Peloponnesian War, based on primary sources – mainly Herodotus, Thucydides and other historians, but also poets, dramatists and inscriptional evidence.

One of our most provocative military historians, Victor Davis Hanson has given us painstakingly researched and pathbreaking accounts of wars ranging from classical antiquity to the twenty-first century. Now he juxtaposes an ancient conflict with our most urgent modern concerns to create his most engrossing work to date, A War Like No Other.

Over the course of a generation, the Hellenic city-states of Athens and Sparta fought a bloody conflict that resulted in the collapse of Athens and the end of its golden age. Thucydides wrote the standard history of the Peloponnesian War, which has given readers throughout the ages a vivid and authoritative narrative. But Hanson offers readers something new: a complete chronological account that reflects the political background of the time, the strategic thinking of the combatants, the misery of battle in multifaceted theaters, and important insight into how these events echo in the present.

Hanson compellingly portrays the ways Athens and Sparta fought on land and sea, in city and countryside, and details their employment of the full scope of conventional and nonconventional tactics, from sieges to targeted assassinations, torture, and terrorism. He also assesses the crucial roles played by warriors such as Pericles and Lysander, artists, among them Aristophanes, and thinkers including Sophocles and Plato.

Hanson’s perceptive analysis of events and personalities raises many thought-provoking questions: Were Athens and Sparta like America and Russia, two superpowers battling to the death? Is the Peloponnesian War echoed in the endless, frustrating conflicts of Vietnam, Northern Ireland, and the current Middle East? Or was it more like America’s own Civil War, a brutal rift that rent the fabric of a glorious society, or even this century’s “red state—blue state” schism between liberals and conservatives, a cultural war that manifestly controls military policies? Hanson daringly brings the facts to life and unearths the often surprising ways in which the past informs the present.

Brilliantly researched, dynamically written, A War Like No Other is like no other history of this important war.
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