Titolo: Leonidas of Sparta: A Heroic King
Casa editrice: Wheatmark
Data di pubblicazione: 2012
Legatura: Soft cover
Condizione libro: Used
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Riassunto: Come and take them! Persia has crushed the Ionian revolt and is gathering a massive army to invade and punish mainland Greece, but in Sparta the dangers seem closer to home. The Eurypontid king Demaratus is accused of being a usurper, while the Agiad king Cleomenes is going dangerously mad. More and more Spartans turn to Leonidas, Cleomenes's half-brother and son-in-law, to provide leadership. But Leonidas is the younger of twins, and his brother Brotus has no intention of letting Leonidas lay claim to the Agiad throne without a fight. This novel follows Leonidas and Gorgo as they steer Sparta through the dangerous waters of domestic strife and external threat, working together as a team to make Sparta the best it can be. But the forces that will destroy not only Leonidas but his Sparta are already gathering-not just in Persepolis and Sardis, but in the hubris of a rising Athens and the bigotry and xenophobia of his fellow Spartans. The murder of two Persian ambassadors by an agitated Spartan Assembly sets in train the inevitable conflict between Sparta and Persia that will take Leonidas to Thermopylae-and into history. This is the third book in a trilogy of biographical novels about Leonidas and Gorgo. The first book, A Boy of the Agoge, described Leonidas's childhood in the Spartan public school. The second, A Peerless Peer, focused on his years as an ordinary citizen. This third book describes his rise to power, his reign, and his death. Helena P. Schrader holds a PhD in history from the University of Hamburg, which she earned with her groundbreaking biography of General Friedrich Olbricht, the mastermind behind the Valkyrie plot against Hitler. Helena has done extensive research on ancient and archaic Sparta. She has combined her research with common sense and a sound understanding of human nature to create a refreshingly unorthodox portrayal of Spartan society. Visit her website at www.helenapschrader.com or learn more about Sparta from Sparta Reconsidered at www.elysiumgates.com/~helena.
This is the third book in the Leonidas trilogy, a biographical novel in three parts, dedicated to reconstructing and depicting the life of Sparta's most famous king. Leonidas is legendary for this defiant defense of the Pass of Thermopylae, with just three hundred Spartans and roughly six thousand other allies, against a vastly superior invading force in 480 BC. The first book in the trilogy, A Boy of the Agoge, dealt with Leonidas' boyhood, and A Peerless Peer looked at Leonidas as an ordinary Spartan ranker. In this final book of the series, I turn to Leonidas' years of greatest influence. It describes him as a diplomat as well as a soldier, and above all as a king.
I realize that fans of the film 300 may find it hard to think of Leonidas as a diplomat. In the Hollywood cartoon, Leonidas is portrayed as the brutal antithesis of a diplomat: he personally throws a Persian ambassador down a well. But there is no more historical evidence that Leonidas committed this crime than that Xerxes was a monster. The historical record, foggy and imprecise as it is, suggests that far from being a tactless brute, Leonidas was a savvy diplomat. But Leonidas' accomplishments as king were probably even more significant, if harder to document. It is clear from looking at Spartan history from the Messenian wars to Sparta's dismal and ignominious end under Rome that Leonidas' reign was a turning point. Archaic Sparta not only saw the establishment of a new, revolutionary form of government (arguably the first democracy in history), but also a significant flourish of the art and trade. Sparta's most significant monuments were built in the Archaic age, and her most famous poets lived then too. In contrast, Sparta in the Classical Period is characterized by artistic stagnation and a dramatic end to Sparta's competitiveness in trade and manufacturing. In this period, Spartans disdained all forms of luxury, and by inference, art itself. In short, Spartan society underwent a radical, indeed revolutionary, change in the mid-fifth century BC, immediately after Leonidas' death. Leonidas was the last of the archaic kings not just in terms of timing, but in terms of policy. During Leonidas' lifetime Sparta took an active interest in world affairs, and led an international coalition opposing Persia. Even more significant is the possibility that Leonidas' domestic policies were tolerant and liberal.
As in the earlier two books in this series, I have made maximum use of the available ancient sources, relying as much as possible on Herodotus and the sayings attributed to Leonidas and his wife Gorgo by Plutarch and other ancient scholars. This book also reflects extensive secondary research on ancient Sparta as well as a dozen trips to Greece to visit Sparta, Athens, Corinth, Delphi, Argos, Messenia, Olympia and Thermopylae. Over the years this research has led me to an understanding of Spartan society that stands in sharp contrast to the often simplified, sometimes fantasized portrayals found in other works. Sparta was a complex and far from static society, and readers interested in a systematic discussion of my interpretation of Spartan society should refer to my essays on Sparta on my website Sparta Reconsidered and my blog of the same name.
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Libreria AbeBooks dal: 7 maggio 2014
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