About this Product
The last stand at Thermopylae made the Spartans legends in their own time, famous for their toughness, stoicism and martial prowess - but was this reputation earned?
Covering Sparta's full classical history, The Bronze Lie examines the myth of Spartan warrior supremacy.
This book paints a very different picture of Spartan warfare - punctuated by frequent and heavy losses. We also discover a society dedicated to militarism not in service to Greek unity or to the Spartan state itself, but as a desperate measure intended to keep its massive population of helots (a near-slave underclass) in line. What successes there were, such as in the Peloponnesian Wars, gave Sparta only a brief period of hegemony over Greece. Today, there is no greater testament to this than the relative position of modern Sparta and its famous rival Athens.
The Bronze Lie explores the Spartans' arms and armor, tactics and strategy, the personalities of commanders and the common soldiery alike. It looks at the major battles, with a special focus on previously under-publicized Spartan reverses that have been left largely unexamined. The result is a refreshingly honest and accurate account of Spartan warfare.
List of Maps
PART I: THE MYTH OF SPARTA
PART II: THE REALITY OF SPARTA
I. Cuckold Kings and Wolves' Work: Behind the Spartan Mirage
II. Archaic Sparta at War: Early Losses, Foreign Roots
III. The Greco-Persian War: The Thermopylae Speed Bump
IV. The Peloponnesian Wars: Floundering at Sea, Surrendering on Land
V. Masters of Greece? Sparta Squanders its Hegemony
VI. The Boeotian War: What Cannot Bend Must Break
VII. The End of Sparta: Irreformable and Irrelevant
VIII. Conclusion: The Bronze Lie
PART III: TANGLING MYTH AND REALITY
IX. The "Moron Label”: The Spartans and the Political Far Right
Appendix A. Historiography and Objectivity
Appendix B. The Fundamentals of Ancient Battle