I have to confess I am not the same wargamer I once was after I finished reading big T's (Thucydides) "History of the Peloponnesian War". No it did not break my spirit because it was a big book, quite the contrast in fact. As I read more I rather got into it. However I was expecting to be uplifted, as I was after reading Big H's (Herodotus) "The Histories", but quite unexpectedly I felt unclean, as my values and perceptions had been radically changed. On reflection the "good guys" of the Persian Wars now looked rather "bad", in fact everything looked tacky, tardy and amateurish.
Originally I though the Persian Wars were where it was "at" in the ancient Greek period, but the Peloponnesian War is now the point of fascinating interest to me. Previously I had shunned it as a triviality or something I would like to rather forget about, as it seemed a case of two good friends fighting needlessly (Athens v Sparta) but I see now that I had it all wrong. In many ways it seem to be the defining moment in Greek history and a game changer in the conduct of war. The length of the war meant that hostilities were passed down through generations, with 'old scores' to settle which had faded from living memory, but used as excuses for action by the opportunistic figures of influence. The Greek reasoning often was caught up with the notion of "rank" among City States which often defied the pragmatics of winning a war in the most effective fashion (please see Song of Wrath for further details as this really needs to be read with the benefit of a professional author to do the concept justice)
It seems the factions of City States and alliances had more than enough potential to produce a pre-WWI wrecking scenario, but the seedy shifting nature of subterfuge between so called 'allies' was unbelievable in scale and duplicity. Another startling feature was the lack of "large battles" (Delium 424 and First Mantinea 418 BC) meant that is was a succession of short to medium size hoplite battles, ideal it has to be said for wargaming actions. To this end I am using "The Peloponnesian War", a solitaire game from Victory Games, as a further learning tool and source for tabletop battle generation.