Synopses & Reviews
In 480 BC, a huge Persian army, led by the inimitable King Xerxes, entered the mountain pass of Thermopylae as it marched on Greece, intending to conquer the land with little difficulty. But the Greeks led by King Leonidas and a small army of Spartans took the battle to the Persians at Thermopylae, and halted their advance almost.
It is one of history's most acclaimed battles, one of civilization's greatest last stands. And in Thermopylae, renowned classical historian Paul Cartledge looks anew this history-altering moment and, most impressively, shows how its repercussions have bearing on us even today. The invasion of Europe by Xerxes and his army redefined culture, kingdom, and class. The valiant efforts of a few thousand Greek warriors, facing a huge onrushing Persian army at the narrow pass at Thermopylae, changed the way generations to come would think about combat, courage, and death.
The battle of Thermopylae was at its broadest a clash of civilizations; one that momentously helped shape the identity of classical Greece and hence the nature of our own cultural heritage.
"A masterful account....Cartledge spends some time celebrating Herodotus (whose account of the battle is the most thorough, though not always reliable) and even offers a few thrusts of the sharp auctorial spear at George W. Bush. A class in Western Civilization that both instructs and entertains." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] beautifully written and stirring saga....When describing the actual military conflict, Cartledge's account has a special urgency and poignancy. An outstanding retelling of one of the seminal events in world history." Booklist
"The real passion of Themopylae lies in the author's sudden discovery that his subject is exciting to other people again, as it was in Byzantine, Renaissance and Imperial British days." The Wall Street Journal
A dramatic account of the 480 BC battle between the Persian forces of King Xerxes and the Spartans under King Leonidas links the battle's events and outcome to today's world, explaining how the invasion of Europe redefined international culture and class organization.
From the author of Alexander the Great and The Spartans comes a thrilling new account of the world's most famous battle, of self-sacrifice, and ultimate victory against the odds. Photos throughout.
About the Author
Paul Cartledge, professor of Greek history at the University of Cambridge, is the author of The Spartans, Alexander the Great, and The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization.