Dominated to this day by the sprawling white marble complex of the Acropolis, Athens is a city which is immensely and rightly proud of its past. For a period of roughly three centuries, the polis of Athens stood, if not in a position of unchallenged supremacy among the cities of Hellas, then at the very least among its three most important polities. Its fledgling empire, though small by the standards later set by Alexander or the Romans, or even by those of its ancient enemy Persia, nonetheless, encompassed cities as far afield as Asia Minor and Southern Italy – a remarkable fact considering such expansion was achieved by the inhabitants of a single city and its immediate surroundings, rather than by an entire nation.
Yet despite a martial tradition that, if taken as a whole, was second to none save the Spartans, Athens is chiefly remembered for two reasons: its political system, which would in time form the nucleus of all Western democratic systems of government, and the remarkable number of outstanding individuals which, during the Golden Age of Athens, lived and flourished in the enlightened city-state. The Ancient Athenians formed the backbone of the West’s entire culture, from the arts to philosophy and everything in between. In virtually all fields of human endeavor, Athens was so much at the forefront of dynamism and innovation that the products of its most brilliant minds remain not only influential, but entirely relevant to this day.
The Athenian Navy and Spartan Army: The History and Legacy of Ancient Greece’s Most Famous Military Forces looks at the history of the Spartan military, and how it became one of the most fearsome fighting forces in history. You will learn about the Spartan military like never before.