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The Persian Wars The Greeks and the Defense…
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The Persian Wars The Greeks and the Defense of the West, c.546-478 BC (1984)

by A. R. Burn

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I found this a fascinating but difficult book. Academic, knowledgeable, dense, detailed, sort of assuming you are already familiar with Herodotos and the history of the period. On the other hand, it gives you a feel of 'being there' at the major battles of Marathon, Thermopylai, Salamis and Plataia, and an explanation of the political intrigues of the time. It is a pretty amazing story all round. Most of the heroes had some kind of moral 'fall' after their moment of glory, and were eventually reviled as traitors. The fighting masses were apparently deeply religious and in fear of the gods, but their leaders were not above bribing the Oracles to get the right portents, and the priests were also apparently not above 'interpreting' the omens to meet the political needs of the moment. And in the midst of battle the old oligarchies were plotting counter-coups against the more democratic leaders. It all comes across as very 'modern'....
  andratozo | Mar 12, 2012 |
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