- Hardback | 448 pages
- 164 x 242 x 36mm | 776g
- 15 Mar 2017
The life-and-death struggle between Athens and Sparta that embroiled all of the Greek world for an entire generation was a war that almost did not happen. Both sides entered it with hesitation, and the fortunes of war swung back and forth so wildly that at many junctures either side could have won. The plague that visited Athens in the war’s early years was entirely unforeseen, as was the death in 429 of their leading statesman Pericles, who was expected to guide
Athens through the war until the Spartans acquiesced. The war could have concluded many times before the conventional ending of open hostilities in 404 BCE, even as early as 425 when a team of crack Spartan troops, marooned on an island off the coast of the Peloponnesus, laid down their arms and
surrendered, something that had never happened before. Sparta sought peace to regain its men, but the Athenians thought they could get better terms and kept fighting. After 27 years of butchery on land and at sea previously unparalleled in Greece, nothing had really been gained by either side, not even by the Spartan “victors,” who seemed to be as capable of winning a war as of losing a peace….