Reading more about Sparta is simply fascinating. The more you read, slowly the more you realise how little we actually know and the bits we tend to focus on (or rather I should say "I focused on") namely the cultivated depiction of "The 300" and all events surrounding the Persian invasion, are the exception rather than the norm. Greek unity was the exception, out of context from the general flow of Greek history, as the Greeks were a quarrelsome lot who spent most of the time fighting each other. I found Lazenby's book (see below) a medium to hard read but was worth it for the post Peloponnesian War information, as in Sparta's fall from grace. "Hubris" always seems to be the bane of the Ancient Greek civilisations (see below):
Book II: The Soul of Battle (Thebes/Sherman/Patton)
Following on from Sparta's history was the ascent of Thebes by the hands a brilliant general called Epaminondas, who in Victor Hansons "The Soul of Battle", takes war to Sparta. I knew about the Boetian victory at Leuctra (371 BC) but I was unaware of the follow up campaign by Epaminondas to march throughout Sparta laying waste to its territory and creating the political security for the Helots to free themselves from Spartan rule, thus destroying in one swift blow the previously untouchable Spartan power base (Helots doing all the work for them and they can train for war) for all time. After Epaninondas, "The Soul of Battle" goes on to describe two other historical "marches" by democratic armies. I traveled with Sherman through Georgia (which stirred some ACW Wargaming interest) and I am presently starting Patton's journey (which begs for a 1/300 US Armoured Division to play with) through the Reich. Plenty of happy reading ahead (see below):
Next - Book III: Greek Lives:
Now I have cleared up to the ascent of Thebes and before I attempt to start reading a pile of books marked Alexander (and behind them another pile of books marked Rome [2015?]) I intend to take a reflective look at the Greeks through Plutarch's "Greek Lives" (see below):
Seeing as Alexander is the ninth Greek it seems to be a good transition book to link the two periods together.
A nice plan but let's see if I get distracted ;)