Recommendations from our site
“I chose this because I wanted to pick a work of fiction…Gates of Fire is about the Spartans and the Spartans are the heroes, but Pressfield doesn’t hide the murky part of Spartan society. The Helots are very prominent.” Read more...
Andrew Bayliss, Classicist
In the history of war and heroism, few events loom as large in our imagination as the epic defence of the Greeks at the Battle of Thermopylae. Defending a small spur of land between mountains and the sea, 300 Spartans were able to hold off the invading Persians long enough for the Greek navy to defeat the Persians at sea and save Greece. You can of course read about Thermopylae in Herodotus’s Histories, or….you can read about it in this well-researched historical novel, recommended by historian Andrew Bayliss of the University of Birmingham in his interview on the best books on ancient Sparta. It may be fiction, but it also doesn’t hide the darker side of the Spartans and their heroism.