The Greco-Persian Wars


Peter Green - 1970
    The astonishing sea battle banished forever the specter of Persian invasion and occupation. Peter Green brilliantly retells this historic moment, evoking the whole dramatic sweep of events that the Persian offensive set in motion. The massive Greek victory, despite the Greeks' inferior numbers, opened the way for the historic evolution of the Greek states in a climate of creativity, independence, and democracy, one that provided a model and an inspiration for centuries to come.Green's accounts of both Persian and Greek strategies are clear and persuasive; equally convincing are his everyday details regarding the lives of soldiers, statesmen, and ordinary citizens. He has first-hand knowledge of the land and sea he describes, as well as full command of original sources and modern scholarship. With a new foreword, The Greco-Persian Wars is a book that lovers of fine historical writing will greet with pleasure.

History of the Wars, Volume I: Books 1-2 (Persian War)


Procopius
    In 527 CE he was made legal adviser and secretary of Belisarius, commander against the Persians, and went with Belisarius again in 533 against the Vandals and in 535 against the Ostrogoths. Sometime after 540 he returned to Constantinople. He may have been that Procopius who was prefect of Constantinople in 562, but the date of his death (after 558) is unknown.Procopius's History of the Wars in 8 books recounts the Persian Wars of emperors Justinus and Justinian down to 550 (2 books); the Vandalic War and after-events in Africa 532-546 (2 books); the Gothic War against the Ostrogoths in Sicily and Italy 536-552 (3 books); and a sketch of events to 554 (1 book). The whole consists largely of military history, with much information about peoples and places as well, and about special events. He was a diligent, careful, judicious narrator of facts and developments and shows good powers of description. He is just to the empire's enemies and boldly criticises emperor Justinian. Other works by Procopius are the Anecdota or Secret History--vehement attacks on Justinian, Theodora, and others; and The Buildings of Justinian (down to 558 CE) including roads and bridges as well as churches, forts, hospitals, and so on in various parts of the empire.The Loeb Classical Library edition of Procopius is in seven volumes.

Xenophon's Retreat: Greece, Persia, and the End of the Golden Age


Robin Waterfield - 2006
    The result is a rounded version of the story of Cyrus's ill-fated march and the Greeks' perilous retreat--a nuanced and dramatic perspective on a critical moment in history that may tell us as much about our present-day adventures in the Middle East, site of Cyrus's debacle and the last act of the Golden Age, as it does about the great powers of antiquity in a volatile period of transition.Just as Xenophon brought the thrilling, appalling expedition to life, Waterfield evokes Xenophon himself as a man of his times--reflecting for all time invaluable truths about warfare, overweaning ambition, the pitfalls of power, and the march of history.

Pyrrhus of Epirus


Jeff Champion - 2009
    Indeed, Hannibal referred to Pyrrhus as his teacher, although the two never met, since he learnt so much of the art of war from his writings. Pyrrhus was born into the royal house of Epirus, northwest Greece, and was a second-cousin of Alexander the Great. His mother was forced to flee into exile to protect his life when he was a mere infant, yet he prospered in troubled times and went from a refugee to become king. Always an adventurer with an eye for the main chance, he was deeply involved in the cut-and-thrust campaigning, coups and subterfuges of the Successor kingdoms. At various times he was king of Epirus (twice), Macedon (twice) and Sicily, as well as overlord of much of southern Italy. In 281 BC he was invited by the southern Italian states to defend them against the aggressive expansion of the burgeoning Roman republic. His early victories over the Roman armies at Heraclea and Asculum (assisted by his use of elephants) were won at such a high price in casualties that they gave us the expression 'Pyrrhic victory'. These battles were the first clashes between the hitherto-dominant Hellenistic way of warfare (as developed by Alexander) and the Roman legions, and so full of tactical interest. He failed in Italy and Sicily but when on to further military adventures in Greece, eventually being killed in action while storming the city of Argos.

From Democrats to Kings: The Brutal Dawn of a New World from the Downfall of Athens to the Rise of Alexander the Great


Michael Scott - 2009
    The Democratic city-state has been ravaged by a long and bloody war with neighbouring Sparta. The search for scapegoats begins and Athens, liberty's beacon in the ancient world, turns its sword on its own way of life. Civil war and much bloodshed ensue. Defining moments of Greek history, culture, politics, religion and identity are debated ferociously in Athenian board rooms, back streets and battlefields. By 323 BC, less than 100 years later, Athens and the rest of Greece, not to mention a large part of the known world, has come under the control of an absolute monarch, a master of self-publicity and a model for despots for millennia to come: 'megas alexandros', Alexander the Great. Michael Scott, Finley Fellow in Ancient History at Darwin College, Cambridge, explores the dramatic and little-known story of how the ancient world was turned on its head from Democratic Athens to King Alexander the Great in this superb example of popular history writing. "From Democrats to Kings" also gives us a fresh take on the similar challenges we face today in the 21st century - a world in which many democracies - old and new - fight for survival, in which war-time and peace-time have become indistinguishable and in which the severity of the economic crisis is only matched by a crisis in our own sense of self.

The First Clash: The Miraculous Greek Victory at Marathon and Its Impact on Western Civilization


Jim Lacey - 2011
    Its very name evokes images of almost superhuman courage, endurance, and fighting spirit. But until now, the story of what happened at Marathon has been told exclusively through the narrow viewpoint of specialists in antiquity. In this eye-opening new book, acclaimed journalist Jim Lacey, both a military historian and a combat veteran, takes a fresh look at Marathon and reveals why the battle happened, how it was fought, and whether, in fact, it saved Western civilization.Lacey brilliantly reconstructs the world of the fifth century B.C. leading up to the astonishing military defeat of the Persian Empire by the vastly undermanned but determined Greek defenders. Using the seminal work of Herodotus as his starting point, Lacey reconstructs the tactical and strategic scenario of the battle, including how many combatants each side might have used and who actually led the Greeks. He also disputes the long-repeated myths of Athenian inexperience and effete Persian arrogance.With the kind of vivid detail that characterizes the best modern war reportage, Lacey shows how the heavily armed Persian army was shocked, demoralized, and ultimately defeated by the relentless assault of the Athenian phalanx, which battered the Persian line in a series of brutal attacks. He reveals the fascinating aftermath of Marathon, how its fighters became the equivalent of our “Greatest Generation,” and challenges the view of many historians that Marathon ultimately proved the Greek “Western way of war” to be the superior strategy for fighting—and winning—battles to the present day. Immediate, visceral, and full of new analyses that defy decades of conventional wisdom, The First Clash is a superb interpretation of a conflict that indeed made the world safe for Aristotle, Plato, and our own modern democracy. But it was also a battle whose legacy and lessons have often been misunderstood—perhaps, now more than ever, at our own peril.

Warfare in Antiquity: History of the Art of War, Volume I


Hans Delbrück - 1975
    Appearing in an English-language paperback edition for the first time, volume 1 analyzes in vivid detail the military tactics and strategies used by the great warriors of antiquity. Delbrück disputes some points in classical history and separates fact from legend in his objective reconstruction of celebrated battles stretching from the Persian Wars to the Peloponnesian War, Alexander's campaign to conquer Asia, the Second Punic War and Hannibal's crossing of the Alps, and the triumph of the Roman legions and Julius Caesar. Walter J. Renfroe Jr. based his much-praised English translation on the third (1920) edition of volume 1.

Herodotus: The Persian Wars, Books I-II


Herodotus
    He travelled widely in most of Asia Minor, Egypt (as far as Assuan), North Africa, Syria, the country north of the Black Sea, and many parts of the Aegean Sea and the mainland of Greece. He lived, it seems, for some time in Athens, and in 443 went with other colonists to the new city Thurii (in South Italy), where he died about 430. He was 'the prose correlative of the bard, a narrator of the deeds of real men, and a describer of foreign places' (Murray).Herodotus's famous history of warfare between the Greeks and the Persians has an epic dignity which enhances his delightful style. It includes the rise of the Persian power and an account of the Persian empire; a description and history of Egypt; and a long digression on the geography and customs of Scythia. Even in the later books on the attacks of the Persians against Greece there are digressions. All is most entertaining and produces a grand unity. After personal inquiry and study of hearsay and other evidence, Herodotus gives us a not uncritical estimate of the best that he could find.The Loeb Classical Library edition of Herodotus is in four volumes.

Marathon: The Battle that Changed Western Civilization


Richard A. Billows - 2010
    In this comprehensive and engrossing treatment, published to coincide with the 2,500th anniversary of the historic Battle of Marathon, Billows captures the drama of the day and the ramifications it has had throughout Western history.

The End of Sparta


Victor Davis Hanson - 2011
    At the Battle of Leuktra, his Thebans crushed the fearsome army of Sparta that had enslaved its neighbors for two centuries.We follow these epic historical events through the eyes of Mêlon, a farmer who has left his fields to serve with Epaminondas-swept up, against his better judgment, in the fever to spread democracy even as he yearns to return to his pastoral hillside.With a scholar's depth of knowledge and a novelist's vivid imagination, Hanson re-creates the ancient world down to its intimate details-from the weight of a spear in a soldier's hand to the peculiar camaraderie of a slave and master who go into battle side by side. The End of Sparta is a stirring drama and a rich, absorbing reading experience.Praise for Victor Davis Hanson:"I have never read another book that explains so well the truth that 'war lies in the dark hearts of us all' but that history offers hope."-William Shawcross on The Father of Us All"Few writers cover both current events and history-and none with the brilliance and erudition of Victor Davis Hanson."-Max Boot on The Father of Us All"Enthralling."-Christopher Hitchens on The Western Way of War

The Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter that Saved Greece—and Western Civilization


Barry S. Strauss - 2004
    Overwhelmingly outnumbered by the enemy, the Greeks triumphed through a combination of strategy and deception. More than two millennia after it occurred, the clash between the Greeks and Persians at Salamis remains one of the most tactically brilliant battles ever fought. The Greek victory changed the course of western history -- halting the advance of the Persian Empire and setting the stage for the Golden Age of Athens. In this dramatic new narrative account, historian and classicist Barry Strauss brings this landmark battle to life. He introduces us to the unforgettable characters whose decisions altered history: Themistocles, Athens' great leader (and admiral of its fleet), who devised the ingenious strategy that effectively destroyed the Persian navy in one day; Xerxes, the Persian king who fought bravely but who ultimately did not understand the sea; Aeschylus, the playwright who served in the battle and later wrote about it; and Artemisia, the only woman commander known from antiquity, who turned defeat into personal triumph. Filled with the sights, sounds, and scent of battle, The Battle of Salamis is a stirring work of history.

The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians


John Bagnell Bury - 1928
    Bury's history is indispensable to anyone who seeks to understand the connection between the barbarian migrations of the third to the ninth century and the framework of modern Europe.

The Roman Army at War, 100 BC-AD 200


Adrian Goldsworthy - 1996
    He compares the army's organization and strategic doctrine with those of its chief opponents and explores in detail the reality of battle: tactics, weaponry, leadership, and, most of all, the important issue of morale.

Greece and Rome at War


Peter Connolly - 1981
    These are the best and most accurate representation of how the soldiers from these formidable military empires appeared. Making use of fresh archaeological evidence and new material on the manufacture and use of the weapons of the period, the author presents an attractive and impressive scholarly volume.

History of the Peloponnesian War: Bk. 1-2


Thucydides
    He saw the rise of Athens to greatness under the inspired leadership of Pericles. In 430, the second year of the Peloponnesian War, he caught and survived the horrible plague which he described so graphically. Later, as general in 423 he failed to save Amphipolis from the enemy and was disgraced. He tells about this, not in volumes of self-justification, but in one sentence of his history of the war—that it befell him to be an exile for twenty years. He then lived probably on his property in Thrace, but was able to observe both sides in certain campaigns of the war, and returned to Athens after her defeat in 404. He had been composing his famous history, with its hopes and horrors, triumphs and disasters, in full detail from first-hand knowledge of his own and others.The war was really three conflicts with one uncertain peace after the first; and Thucydides had not unified them into one account when death came sometime before 396. His history of the first conflict, 431–421, was nearly complete; Thucydides was still at work on this when the war spread to Sicily and into a conflict (415–413) likewise complete in his awful and brilliant record, though not fitted into the whole. His story of the final conflict of 413–404 breaks off (in the middle of a sentence) when dealing with the year 411. So his work was left unfinished and as a whole unrevised. Yet in brilliance of description and depth of insight this history has no superior.The Loeb Classical Library edition of Thucydides is in four volumes.