Leonidas and the Kings of Sparta: Mightiest Warriors, Fairest Kingdom

Leonidas and the Kings of Sparta: Mightiest Warriors, Fairest Kingdom

Book rating: 03 Hardback

By (author) Alfred S. Bradford

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  • Publisher: Praeger Publishers Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 251 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 236mm x 25mm | 612g
  • Publication date: 17 October 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Westport
  • ISBN 10: 031338598X
  • ISBN 13: 9780313385988
  • Edition: 1
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 656,621

Product description

The Spartans have seemingly never gone out of interest, serving as mythic icons who exemplify fearlessness and an unwillingness to give in against impossible odds. Yet most are unaware of the true nature of the Spartan leaders-the fact that the kings maintained their position of power for 600 years by their willingness to compromise, even if it meant giving up some of their power, for example. Organized in a logical and chronological order, Leonidas and the Kings of Sparta: Mightiest Warriors, Fairest Kingdom describes the legendary origins of the dual kingship in Sparta, documents the many reigning eras of the kings, and then concludes with the time when the kingship was abolished six centuries later. The book examines the kings' roles in war and battle, in religion, in the social life of the city, and in formulating Spartan policy both at home and abroad. No other book on Sparta has concentrated on describing the role of the kings-and their absolutely essential contributions to Spartan society in general.

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Author information

Alfred S. Bradford, PhD, is the John Saxon Chair of Ancient History at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK. His published works include Philip II of Macedon: A Life From the Ancient Sources; Some Even Volunteered: The First Wolfhounds Pacify Vietnam; With Arrow Sword and Spear: A History of Warfare in the Ancient World; and Flying the Black Flag: A Brief History of Piracy.

Customer reviews

By Steve Bridges 16 Aug 2013 3

This is a useful book that fills a gap in the literature. It examines the roles, lives and place of kings in Sparta. The layout is unusual in that it uses a chronological narrative of particular kings, rather than using a thematic approach. It is not, therefore, strictly an academic book, even though the knowledge is solidly researched and explained.

The writer gives his accounts of his travels through the region and tends to tell too many stories of how he meet this or that taxi-driver or local and asks them about their views of their ancient heritage and so forth. I found this a little distracting.

So, not really a textbook for senior high school students or academics, but an easy read with a lot of useful information and anecdotes.

Review quote

"Writing entertaining yet scholarly works on ancient history requires expertise, eloquence, and a dash of elegance. With this latest book, renowned scholar of ancient Sparta Bradford (Oklahoma) demonstrates all three... It is a tale not to be missed." - Choice