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Osprey Essential Histories 27 : The Peloponnesian War 431-404 BC

A detailed, authoritative account of the history of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. The ancient Greek historian, Thucydides, whose History is or most important source of knowledge about the war, described it as a clash between two opposing cultures. On one side were the Athenians, confident in the superiority of their newly created democratic system, led by the charismatic politician Pericles, patron of philosophers and artists. Athens was a city revelling in its magnificent cultural achievements, partly paid for from the profits of her recently acquired maritime empire. Against her stood the Spartans, under hereditary leadership of their two kings, fiercely proud of their traditional lifestyle, constantly in training as elite soldiers and supported by the forced labour of their population of helots. This book offers more than just a military history. Thucydides' detailed account, and the wealth of information provided by other historical works, comic plays, law court speeches, public documents and archaeological remains enable us to construct in considerable detail the experiences of both military forces and civilian populations during the war. The Classical Greeks are renowned for their achievements in literature, art and philosophy, but the events of the Peloponnesian War reveal the darker side of Greek civilization. From the horrific effects of overcrowding and the plague on the population of Athens, to the vicious civil strife that often erupted in cities allied with Athens or Sparta, this book offers vivid and at times disturbing insights into the impact of warfare on the people who are celebrated as the founders of Western civilization. It is a testament to the fascination of the subject that even today the events of the Peloponnesian war are studied for what they can teach about diplomacy, strategy and tactics. Text by Philip de Souza.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Background to War : The Rise of Athens
  • Warring Sides : Athens and Sparta
  • Outbreak : Fear and Suspicion lead to War
  • The Fighting : The First Twenty Years
  • Portrait of a Soldier : A Ship's Captain at War
  • The World around War : Politics and Culture
  • Portrait of a Civilian : Hipparete, an Athenian Citizen Woman
  • How the War Ended : The Fall of Athens
  • Conclusion and Consequences : The Triumph of Sparta?
  • Further Reading
  • Index


The books in this series are;
Essential Histories Compellation 5 : The Greeks at War : From Athens to Alexander
Essential Histories 36 : The Greek and Persian Wars 499-386 BC
Essential Histories 27 : The Peloponnesian War 431-404 BC
Essential Histories 26 : The Wars of Alexander the Great 336-323 BC

 

Osprey Essential Histories


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