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    Persian Fire By Tom Holland

    Persian Fire By Tom Holland Rezensionen und Bewertungen

    Der populäre Bestseller aus Großbritannien vom Jungstar der Historikerszene Es geschah vor Jahren, dass Ost und West Krieg miteinander führten. Im 5. Jahrhundert v. Chr. war eine globale Supermacht fest entschlossen, zwei Staaten Wahrheit und. Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West: The First World Empire, Battle for the West | Holland, Tom | ISBN: | Kostenloser​. Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West | Holland, Tom | ISBN: | Kostenloser Versand für alle Bücher mit Versand und. A brilliant new account of the worlds very first clash of civilisations between the Persians and the Greeks in BC. Inhaltsangabe zu "Persian Fire". A brilliant new account of the world's very first clash of civilisations between the Persians and the Greeks in BC.

    Persian Fire By Tom Holland

    Finden Sie Top-Angebote für Persian Fire Tom Holland bei eBay. Kostenlose Lieferung für viele Artikel! Der populäre Bestseller aus Großbritannien vom Jungstar der Historikerszene Es geschah vor Jahren, dass Ost und West Krieg miteinander führten. Im 5. Jahrhundert v. Chr. war eine globale Supermacht fest entschlossen, zwei Staaten Wahrheit und. Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West: The First World Empire, Battle for the West | Holland, Tom | ISBN: | Kostenloser​.

    Persian Fire By Tom Holland Video

    #JLF 2013: Persian Fire- The First Battle for the West Ihr Warenkorb 0. For seventy years, victory - rapid, spectacular victory - had seemed the birthright of the Persian Empire. Novoline.Gmbh Feuer. Unsere preisgünstigen Bücher kosten wirklich nicht die Welt. Published by: Brown Book Group Little. Buch Zustand akzeptabel EUR 4, Had the Greeks been defeated at Salamis, not only would the West have lost its first struggle for independence Besten Wettquoten survival, but it is unlikely that there would ever have been such and entity as the West at all. There is no competing popular book describing these events. Alle Casino Club Android App ansehen - Alle Angebote für dieses Produkt. Bestellen bei:. Mein Konto Login Anmeldung. Die Botschaft des Home Live Com Login. Published by: Brown Book Group Little. EUR 7,00 Neu Gebraucht. Tom Holland's brilliant new book describes the very first 'clash of Empires' between East and West. Mein Konto. Weitere Informationen.

    Spara som favorit. Skickas inom vardagar. Fri frakt inom Sverige över kr för privatpersoner. Finns även som. Laddas ned direkt. Its success should have been a formality.

    For seventy years, victory - rapid, spectacular victory - had seemed the birthright of the Persian Empire. In the space of a single generation, they had swept across the Near East, shattering ancient kingdoms, storming famous cities, putting together an empire which stretched from India to the shores of the Aegean.

    As a result of those conquests, Xerxes ruled as the most powerful man on the planet. Yet somehow, astonishingly, against the largest expeditionary force ever assembled, the Greeks of the mainland managed to hold out.

    Noel Malcolm reviewed it for The Daily Telegraph and called it "a tremendously good read" but criticized the lack of detail about historical evidence and Holland's "elevated" style of prose.

    His highly individual road map to the hitherto 'dark ages' is written with forceful — and convincing — panache.

    Holland's book on the rise of Islam, In the Shadow of the Sword: The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World , was called "a work of impressive sensitivity and scholarship" by The Daily Telegraph [21] and "a book of extraordinary richness For Tom Holland has an enviable gift for summoning up the colour, the individuals and animation of the past, without sacrificing factual integrity" by The Independent.

    Classics professor Emily Wilson , reviewing it for The Guardian , was critical of the "overblown style" of Holland's writing and the narrative's lurid details, saying of the book "this is ancient Rome for the age of Donald Trump".

    Holland next wrote two historical biographies for children. It is an examination of Christianity's influence on Western civilization in which Holland maintains that the religion's influence continues to be seen in ethics and cultural norms throughout the world today, even when the religion itself is rejected: "To live in a western country is to live in a society still utterly saturated by Christian concepts and assumptions.

    Holland's new translation of The Histories by Herodotus , the ancient Greek scholar, was published in I am in awe of Tom Holland's achievement.

    Holland has written dozens of articles for newspapers, journals and websites on varied topics including wildlife conservation, [35] sports, [36] [37] politics [38] and history.

    In March , he announced on Twitter that he had written an opera about Cleopatra and it was in the showcase stage of development. It presented the narrative as that of a veteran war reporter under siege in the studios of Radio Free Athens.

    Since , he has been one of the presenters of Radio 4's popular history series Making History. It explored the influence of fossils on the mythology of various cultures throughout history, including the ancient Greeks and Native Americans.

    In August , Holland produced and presented a documentary for Channel 4 television titled Islam: The Untold Story , [49] which questioned Islamic doctrine that maintains Muhammad founded the religion in Mecca in the 7th century, and that the Quran was transmitted, in full, directly to Muhammad by Allah God via the angel Gabriel , rather than being written by a person or persons.

    Holland argued that there is very little contemporary historical evidence about the life of Muhammad, with no mention of him at all in historical texts until decades after his death, and no mention of Mecca in any datable text relating to him until over a century after he died.

    He concluded that it is much more likely that Islamic theology developed gradually over several centuries as the Arab Empire expanded, and that descriptions of Muhammad's home more closely resemble what is now southern Israel than Mecca.

    Holland said the program provoked "a firestorm of death threats" against him. Islam: The Untold Story generated more than 1, complaints in total to Ofcom and Channel 4 [52] [53] though Ofcom found there was no breach of its broadcasting code to investigate.

    Several religious scholars, including Dr. Keith Small of the International Qur'anic Studies Association, defended Holland and the right of historians to critically examine the origin stories of religions.

    Writing on the Channel 4 website, Holland responded to the criticism by saying that the origins of Islam is a "legitimate subject of historical enquiry" and that his documentary was "a historical endeavour and is not a critique of one of the major monotheistic religions".

    In , Holland revisited the topic of Islam by writing and presenting another documentary for Channel 4. Isis: The Origins of Violence looked at the militant terror group ISIS and argued that they use Islamic doctrine to inform and justify their quest for a global caliphate.

    In the film, Holland visited the site of the Bataclan theatre massacre in Paris, interviewed a Salafi jihadist leader in Jordan, and then went to the Iraqi city of Sinjar , which had historically been largely populated by the Yazidi minority.

    In , ISIS forces swept into the city and killed most of the Yazidi men and old women, taking the young women as sex slaves and the young boys to train as ISIS soldiers.

    At one point, Holland was shown approaching a pit filled with the remains of Yazidi women whom Isis considered too old to be used as sex slaves, and then had to vomit off-camera.

    In an interview with the Evening Standard to promote the film, he said "Just as Nazis justified genocide in terms of racial theory, there are Islamic scholars who justify it in terms of what the Koran says.

    Not to engage with that, to pretend that's not an issue, is essentially to be complicit in genocide.

    We want to believe it's about foreign policy — because then we can do something about it. Although some Muslim groups once again registered their disapproval of the programme's content and of Channel 4 for airing it, Holland stated their reaction this time was much less severe than with Islam: the Untold Story.

    Holland has campaigned and written articles in support of measures to save London's disappearing hedgehog population.

    He is a staunch opponent of the proposed Stonehenge road tunnel and other development projects that threaten landscapes around Britain's historic sites and since has been president of the Stonehenge Alliance, a group dedicated to stopping construction of the tunnel or at least convincing the government to redesign it from the planned 1.

    It has stood there for 4, years. And up to now, no one's thought of injecting enormous quantities of concrete into the landscape and permanently disfiguring it.

    In August , Holland and fellow historian Dan Snow organized British public figures in signing a letter to the people of Scotland, published by The Guardian , expressing the hope that Scotland would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom in the September referendum on that issue.

    The letter read in part "We want to let you know how very much we value our bonds of citizenship with you, and to express our hope that you will vote to renew them.

    What unites us is much greater than what divides us. Let's stay together. Earlier that year, he had voiced his desire for the United Kingdom to stay a part of the European Union , saying: "I would like to remain a citizen of the European Union, but I would like even more to continue in a country that includes Scotland I don't want to be a Little Englander.

    I want to stay European, and I want to stay British. He posted on his Twitter account in October "Brexit has to happen — anything else would be undemocratic.

    But the result was close, close, close — so the Brexit settlement should properly accept that. I'm sure that's what most people feel. It is devoted to stimulating positive debate about Britain's identity, Brexit and the Scottish independence issue, and promoting the idea that staying united as a nation is beneficial to all the countries that make up Great Britain.

    A number of academics and activists have contributed papers to the These Islands website. In , Holland was a signatory on a public letter to The Guardian denouncing Jeremy Corbyn , leader of the Labour Party and candidate for Prime Minister , for alleged antisemitism.

    Taking a stand against it, however, is something that Jeremy Corbyn, by backing a promoter of the blood libel, has failed to do.

    While filming Isis: Origins of Evil , Holland interviewed Yazidi refugees, survivors of an ethnoreligious population of northern Iraq who in suffered the mass murder of many of their men and older women, and the kidnapping of their children and young women, by ISIS.

    In , he wrote an article for The Spectator in which he implored the Western world not to forget the Yazidi. In a camp I visited, a woman who had been raped for an entire year, then shot in the head when her owner grew tired of her, then finally sold back to her husband, lay curled in a foetal ball in a makeshift tent, rocking and moaning to herself.

    In June , he gave an interview to James Delingpole on the latter's podcast and spoke about Western apathy toward the Yazidi's suffering: "Nobody in the West really gives a shit.

    And the reason nobody gives a shit, as a Yazidi refugee I spoke to said, is that in the West you have Christians, you have Muslims, you have Jews who all speak up for their co-religionists, but who cares about the Yazidi?

    Who cares about them? In June , he joined several other speakers in addressing an assembly of members of Parliament in the Grand Committee room of the House of Commons , [74] where he spoke about the cruelties inflicted upon the Yazidi.

    The wealth that the leading [independent] schools can call upon has become obscene. How can state-funded schools possibly compete with sports fields and state-of-the-art facilities that have seen sport, acting and even popular music dominated by the privately educated?

    Which said, I am not convinced that the teaching in private schools is any better than in state schools. Our local primary school has teachers as good as any you could hope to meet, and when I compare the start that it has given my children to that given to the prep-school pupils I know, I do not remotely feel that my children have come off second-best.

    Just the opposite, in fact. He supported the plan of Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove to spread the teaching of Latin in state schools.

    Traditionally, an education in ancient languages has served as a marker of privilege — which is why public schools have always been so keen on providing it.

    Dominic Sandbrook writing in The Telegraph gave Persian Fire a mixed review, calling it 'spirited and engaging' but criticizing Holland's attempts to compare the ancient world and the 21st century.

    Christopher Hart writing under the name William Napier in The Independent gave Persian Fire a positive review, calling it 'masterly and gripping' [4].

    A mostly positive review in Kirkus Reviews praised the battle scenes as 'stirring' but called Holland's 'East-versus-West' notion 'anachronistic'.

    A review in Publishers Weekly was positive, stating 'Holland's graceful, modern voice will captivate those intimidated by Herodotus' [6]. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    Redirected from Persian fire. The Guardian. The Observer.

    Persian Fire By Tom Holland Video

    Tom Holland \u0026 AC Grayling • History: Did Christianity give us our human values?

    The Persian treasuries were filled to overflowing and this made their military might all the more overwhelming. Against this was pitted the tiny states of Greece who by no means were united.

    There were others in the fray too but the alliances they all maintained were all flimsy, treacherous and bound to fail. And so were born the legends : Of Leonidas and his men who defied a million Persians at the pass of Thermopylae and of the Battle of Salamis which proved to be an unbelievable victory for the Greeks.

    Tom Holland sets a scorching pace for the book and makes sure he follows it up fully during the course of the book. The battles : Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis are captured with all their blood, gore and brutality as in military fiction.

    The Spartans — while they certainly were nothing like Gerard Butler and his men were still badass! I did happen to come across a few reviews who pointed out historical inaccuracies here and there but for a layman like me this book left me with a level of understanding of the Greco-Persian wars that I was lacking before.

    Dec 08, Ali Khan rated it it was ok. I must say that this book was really disappointing for me as I was, judging from the title, excitedly expecting a historical narrative of the first Persian Empire.

    The title was, however, misleading, to say the least. The book starts with a rather hasty overview of Persian empire's background and even with the clever and very interesting insertions of anecdotes, one cannot but feel that the pace is forced.

    Cyrus the Great gets a decent but short description and his two sons are mentioned in the p I must say that this book was really disappointing for me as I was, judging from the title, excitedly expecting a historical narrative of the first Persian Empire.

    Cyrus the Great gets a decent but short description and his two sons are mentioned in the passing in not very glorious terms. Darius reign again is pushed through with excellent anecdotes and conjectural musings and we are led to the times of Xerxes but to the king's reign.

    That ends the Persian Empire and thus far my short summary above would bravely rival the book in details. The Persians are, henceforth, mainly referred to as 'savages' as they are called by the Greeks and we are told only about the palatial war tents, luxuries and depletion of the ranks of the Persian side while Greeks cities, their individual legends, genealogies and ancestries, war machine and readiness, strategy, tactics and even minutes acts of bravery and valor are recorded in great details.

    Even when Xerxes leaves the area, the book is reluctant to move with him to the Persian lands and dwells on Greece even more so that Greek cities politics and rivalries are assiduously documented.

    I was not reading this book for that. Furthermore, the book, while discussing the War, read so much like the the two installments of the "" Movies.

    Especially, as in the second movie where the Persians are never shown to kill or even fight but just to get killed, drowned and burn, I noticed that this book also almost never depict the Persians killing anyone.

    The episode where Spartan king is defending the narrow pass with a lot more than men for days on end, the active combat from dawn till dusk never mentions how many casualties were suffered by them while the deaths of the Greeks are told in gruesome details where the Persians, almost always, are shown to be pushed forward under a threat to be killed if returned.

    These accounts might or might be true at times minute by minute details of a raging battle that took place so long ago are hard to digest but the way they are painted and presented were not to my poor and wanting taste.

    Apparently, the Persian sources of the War are not not that detailed and most of the accounts must have been borrowed from the contemporary or near-contemporary Greek sources, who are, incidentally, often depicted in the book as excelling each other in fabricating false ancestries and appropriating outlandish mythical and war-like qualities, therefore, it would have been prudent to treat the accounts with a little more caution.

    In the end, the book merely felt like a ruse to force Greek history on readers who were expecting Persian chronicles. Holland clearly describes the events of the time period from both sides, but with a decided focus on the Persians.

    Holland gives us plenty of background, beginning with the Assyrian empire to the rise of Persia, and why Persia viewed Sparta and Athens as such dangerous threats.

    Holland gives us plenty of background, beginning with the time when Athens was ruled by a rapid succession of quarreling tyrants mobsters, basically , until one of them comes up with the idea of a democracy: out of pure self-interest.

    In the meantime, Sparta develops a bizarrely militaristic state of super-soldiers. As all this is going on, Cyrus of Persia conquers Babylon, Media, Lydia and expands throughout the Middle East before deciding to try the same thing with Europe.

    Holland brings all the various characters to life; even Xerxes and Darius come off as sympathetic and understandable, even though older accounts tend to treat them as sadistic megalomanical tyrants.

    Holland describes their motives and beliefs and what led them to war against the Greeks. The Greeks are also given good treatment, especially the unprincipled Themistocles, who built the Athenian navy and probably saved Greece but whose priority was always increasing his own power; Themistocles had advised the Persians to blockade Salamis and thus forced Greece to unify in order to defeat Persia.

    On page , Holland writes that "Argive ambassadors had crossed Sardis and informed the startled Persians that they were in fact descendent--roll of drums--from an ancient King of Argos.

    The title may lead some reviewers to think the book is told from the perspective of Persia, which it is, but to a lesser degree than that of Greece.

    Aug 01, Sean DeLauder rated it it was amazing Shelves: history , holland. The title of this book would lead a reader this reader, anyway to believe the focus to be the Achaemenid Empire and it's leading men, Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes, leading up to and through the clash between Persia and Greece.

    That assertion is an error of scope, as Holland looks not only at the rise of Persia, but that of all the major players e.

    Persian Fire The title of this book would lead a reader this reader, anyway to believe the focus to be the Achaemenid Empire and it's leading men, Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes, leading up to and through the clash between Persia and Greece.

    This duplication, coupled with the abundance of sources though largely 20th century , seems an indication that the information is well established, it's simply overlooked as part of a grade school education of the period.

    Notably, the most prominent Greeks as fractious, greedy, and overconfident; not that that isn't characteristic of most peoples, only that it contrasts with the cursory lay education most receive on the topic.

    The most enjoyable aspect of an education is when an important historical event one has accepted suspected, perhaps, but never had the sense or resources to investigate , has in truth been falsely represented or unduly oversimplified, and is at last exposed as a fallacy.

    My favorite example of a shattered illusion is the unprecedented beginning of the West's cherished Democracy and the halcyon Greek period that bore it.

    In Holland's work, Democracy is presented less as a philosophical belief that the common man should have some say in the form of their government rather than the aristocracy, or that positions of authority ought not be exclusive to inheritance, all of which arose as a consequence of Greek philosophers gathering to determine the most equitable method of rule.

    Instead, it came about as a means for one aristocratic family to wrest power away from another at the cost of the inability for anyone to maintain absolute power.

    It was a brilliant and elaborate stroke, but invariably one brought about by, as Holland implies, the spite of an out-of-favor aristocratic family.

    Naturally, the citizens of Athens enthusiastically supported the proposal that they would be allowed to help decide the rules of their society, they rebelled in the streets when Cleisthenes , who gave the power to vote on laws to the people, was chased from the city by a "tyrant" a form of monarch, though rarely of the disposition that lends to the modern definition of tyranny , who in turn found themselves faced with the power of the mob.

    Similar anecdotes are strung through Holland's works, creating a tapestry of interwoven events from which he often extrapolates the thoughts, feelings, and ambitions of the characters in these histories.

    It is a style that may seem somewhat dishonest without supporting text, and is probably the point where he takes the greatest creative license, but at the same time makes the historical figures more than empty-eyed marble busts or rigid profiles on coins, is extremely engaging, and makes sense in the context provided.

    I believe Holland is in the same league as Pulitzer Prize Winner David McCullough in terms of narrative skill, with an ability to draw a reader into a historical period through the details they choose to include and elaborate upon.

    The difference between the two, thus far, is McCullough an American author tends to focus on American i. Holland began his his writing career as an author of supernatural fiction.

    He has since turned his English acumen toward bringing history to vibrant life, and he's clearly made the right move for his career, and, more importantly, my enlightenment.

    I still have two more Holland historical works to read, but I'm enthused by the prospect that, according to his current pace of publication, we should be getting a new Holland work in the next year.

    I look forward to continuing the process of adulthood re-education. View all 3 comments. May 01, Abtin rated it it was ok Shelves: , spk.

    Thoroughly disappointing. Based on the title and cover, I hoped that the author would give the Persians a fair shake, and it started well.

    Sadly, it quickly fell into the old pro-Greek narratives. He has a terrific overview of why the Persian empire deserves more credit than it gets.

    The Persians had a proper multi-cultural empire where dozens of languages and people were united under one banner. The Greeks were a couple of city- Thoroughly disappointing.

    The Greeks were a couple of city-states on a rocky outcrop that spent all their time fighting with one another.

    The greatest cities in the world including Babylon were in the Persian empire. The Greeks had the Spartans who prided themselves on the fact that every year their highly trained warriors would sneak into the slave settlements and slaughter a few slaves during the night without getting caught—yay?

    Or how about the Athenians, where it was assumed that if a woman was seen in public that she was a prostitute—Hoorah? The more interesting take away from reading the book is the realization that we think the Persian wars were important because the Greeks wrote about it a lot.

    It makes sense when you think about a super-power taking on some second-world nuisance. In the end, the Persians routed the Greeks.

    They were slightly delayed at Thermopylae where they destroyed Spartans plus the slaves the Spartans forced to fight for them, although you never hear about the slaves , sacked and burned Athens twice, got bored, and went home.

    Jan 31, Mike rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction , history. Very readable and entertaining, this book tackles a topic that has been covered by many historians and attempts to give a balanced view of the events leading up to and following the war between Greece and Persia, as well as of course covering the war itself in detail.

    The striking thing about this one is that the Persians are given equal time and a fair treatment. It is all too tempting to dwell on the heroism of the Greeks defending their liberty in a series of dramatic episodes out of Herodotu Very readable and entertaining, this book tackles a topic that has been covered by many historians and attempts to give a balanced view of the events leading up to and following the war between Greece and Persia, as well as of course covering the war itself in detail.

    It is all too tempting to dwell on the heroism of the Greeks defending their liberty in a series of dramatic episodes out of Herodotus.

    Instead both sides are shown, warts and all, and the considerable achievements of the Persians are given their due.

    Captivating from start to finish I found this a fascinating historical read. The authors style of writing is so fluid it holds the readers focus throughout.

    I think any historical book that makes the reader think to themselves post reading, I want to learn more about that period, is a triumph. A worthy 5 stars.

    The story of Persia vs the Greeks is one that has told many times over the centuries. Part of this is because we have some very good Greek sources about the conflict, so that we know more about these wars than nearly anything else before it other parts are the high drama, and Ancient Greece's place in the foundation of Western thought.

    Tom Holland's Persian Fire tries, and largely succeeds in expanding the Persian point of view. He starts out with the rise of Persia, and how it took over from M The story of Persia vs the Greeks is one that has told many times over the centuries.

    He starts out with the rise of Persia, and how it took over from Media and Assyria. This section is very well done, and well worth the price of admission if you already have all you need of the later parts with Darius and Xerxes.

    He then proceeds through the histories of Sparta and Athens in turn, showing just how they had evolved from somewhat typical Greek city-state beginnings to the distinctive forms that we are used to hearing about.

    From there, discussions of Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis are a bit more typical, but there is still effort to see just what was going on in the heads of the principles, especially Xerxes.

    However, the writing in the entire book is very good, so even if you're very familiar with the subject, this telling is very well done.

    He also does a good job with Platea, though I thought it was lacking compared to other parts of the book.

    Also lacking is his analysis of what kept Persia from coming back for round three, though he does talk about it some.

    Overall, I'm very happy to have picked up yet another book on this subject. Holland does a very good job at the overview, and widens the scope of his gaze just a bit more to make this the best 'lighter' book you're likely to find on the two Persian invasions of Greece.

    Dec 16, Stoyan Stoyanov rated it it was amazing Shelves: history. This book is a truly remarkable achievement. On one hand, it is genuine, unadulterated history On the other hand, though, Tom Holland's prose is remarkably vivid, more readable and exciting than many books of fiction I've read.

    This is the history of the clash between Greece and Persia remember the movie "The "? What makes this book really great is the fact that Holland provides a panoramic view of almost 3 centuries of rather obscure ancient history.

    He tells the s This book is a truly remarkable achievement. He tells the story from both sides. Almost half the book is devoted to the rise of the Persian Empire and believe you me, it makes for an incredibly fascinating read.

    Who knew the court at Persepolis was as full of intrigue and behind-the-scenes struggles and betrayals as the proverbial court at Constantinople over 8 centuries later would be reputed to be?

    The details about the religion of the Persian kings and the administration of the Empire are presented effortlessly. I will never forget now who the Medes were On to the part of the book dealing with Athens and Sparta.

    I already knew most of the details, but Holland makes this the best part of the book. Of special interest is the story of how Athens first experimented with a democratic system of government.

    And then, of course, there are the chapters devoted to the actual battles -- Marathon, Thermopilae, Salamis and Platea -- told as vividly as if the author was there on the battlefield.

    This is a truly amazing read and highly recommended. Yes, I can see why the Greeks regarded history as one of the arts and gave its own Muse.

    Recommended to Bettie by: Susanna, then gifted by mimal. Shelves: spring , ancient-history , published , greece , dip-in-now-and-again , history , winter , nonfiction , autumn , paper-read.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Dedication: For Jamie and Caroline Maps and a timeline, foot notes, diagrams and glossy colour photographs.

    Timeline very useful , Notes, Bibliography, Index. Excellent read Listen now to a further point: no living thing Has a beginning, nor does it end in death and obliteration; There is only a mixing then seperating of what was mixed, But by mortal men these processes are named beginnings.

    Empedocles The gods, having scorned to mould a world that was level, had preferred instead to divide it into tw Dedication: For Jamie and Caroline Maps and a timeline, foot notes, diagrams and glossy colour photographs.

    Empedocles The gods, having scorned to mould a world that was level, had preferred instead to divide it into two. View all 9 comments.

    Nov 08, James Foster rated it really liked it. The Persian Wars in ancient Greece are, arguably, one of the main reasons we still have Democracy.

    The ancient Greeks were a tribal people, with severe wealth and power inequality. It was far more natural for them to fight over which rich family would rule than to ask whether any of them should do so at all.

    But the Persian empire was a world power in every sense. Sure, some Greeks made nice pottery and built nice buildings, but mostly because rich people like pottery and buildings.

    But, the Persion army was so large that the ground shook when it moved, and the dust from it darkened the sun. The Persian navy was four times larger than all the ships from the dozens of Greek city-states combined.

    The Greeks had to figure out how to work together when Persia invaded. They also had to decide that resisting the Persians was better than a comfortable life as a remote Persian satrapy.

    Turns out, once the people have a taste of freedom and power, they rather like it. The rise of Democracies and near-democracies was enough to startle the world by turning back the largest military invasion in history.

    The near miraculous victories at Marathon and Thermopolae were, well, miraculous. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of the Persian wars the Greeks turned on each other again, leading to the Peloponesian Wars and the collapse of Democracies.

    Persian Fires is engagingly written. The writing is brisk and action driven. It is an enjoyable read. By the way, Herodotus is perfectly accessible and engrossing.

    I highly recommend it. I have some quibbles, though. The author seems not to like verbs sometimes. Sentence fragments.

    And some of the details bothered me. On the other hand, the footnotes provide plenty of reference to original and secondary sources, for history geeks.

    Spy stuff in ancient Greece. This was one of the most rivetting reads I have encountered in the field of popular history.

    I finally tackled it shortly after seeing the cartoon cut-out version of the film "" for the first time, and actually found this more balanced account the more moving and fascinating.

    There can be no doubt about the unique symbolic significance of Thermopylae, which might have been made for cinema, but once one looks past the pro-Greek propaganda to try and see how the suicidal stand fits into the bro This was one of the most rivetting reads I have encountered in the field of popular history.

    There can be no doubt about the unique symbolic significance of Thermopylae, which might have been made for cinema, but once one looks past the pro-Greek propaganda to try and see how the suicidal stand fits into the broader flow of the history of the time there is much to ponder.

    Holland does justice to this richness and avoids a monochrome portrayal of "freedom" against "tyranny".

    Clearly there were great cultural riches on both sides, as well as great inspiration for totalitarian, industrial-era regimes. The Nazis understandably saw Sparta as a model society; the Persians issued ration chits to ducks being fattened for the royal table.

    A duck was entitled to more wine per day than a young woman of low birth might be allocated per week. Here are two models of the repressive state - one of patriotic submission to the state by the individual, one of pervasive and obsessive bureaucracy.

    On the other hand the Athenians brought us the concept of democracy, while the Persians freed the Jews from their captivity and tolerated all manner of religions in a way that the Mongols, and then the secular West, were to echo centuries later.

    So cartoon versions make for great cinema, but poor understanding. Holland sure-footedly avoids this more simplistic portrayal and still manages to create an exciting and fascinating read.

    Here are some potential misconceptions which Holland clarifies for victims of Holywood's various references to Thermopylae: Aristodemus was not half-blinded in battle but laid up by an eye infection along with one other man, the other of whom ordered a slave to lead him blind into battle and died there, against Leonidas' instructions.

    Aristodemus was condemned as a coward when he got back and forced to wear the patched cloak of the "trembler". When the army met the Persians a year later at Plataea he, alone of all the Spartans, broke formation and charged the enemy, redeeming himself from the charge of cowardice but proving himself to be deplorably excitable.

    Plataea took nearly ten days, with the Spartans and Athenians holding their ground while being harried by Persian cavalry, until the Persians managed to destroy the water supply which they had left unguarded.

    The two groups got split up retreating to a new defensive position and the Persians, numbering about ,, took the opportunity to take on the Spartans alone, cavalry and light infantry against heavy hoplite infantry with at least a three-to-one advantage.

    The hoplites turned, formed up and slowly and systematically chopped the Persians into buzzard food over the course of a whole day. The Persian satrap got a rock in the head, his troops started to panic and by the end only about 3, survived.

    Then the Greeks went back to fighting each other. Retrieved 29 April Los Angeles Times. The Independent. The Bone Hunter.

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