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Great naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World by Owen Rees   Once again I am proud to review a Pen & Sword r...

Great Naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World by Owen Rees Great Naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World by Owen Rees

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Great Naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World


 Once again I am proud to review a Pen & Sword release. The book shows us thirteen naval battles from The Battle of Lade in 494 BC to The Battle of Cnidus in 394 BC. The author has picked a very interesting group of battles to depict. There were, in actuality, so many to choose from that he mentions he chose only the ones that have the most information available to historians.

 The author's introduction is unusual in that he does not just explain why he wrote the book, but gives the reader a grounding in Grecian naval warfare. It is a short, but very informative lesson. What exactly was a trireme, how were the rowers set up, and what was each bank of them called? These and more are answered in the introduction. He also dips our toes in the water of their tactics. Even the earliest battles show how sophisticated the Greeks had become in naval warfare. More than 1500 years later some European naval battles were no more than a land battle at sea, with ships lashed together to make to make a pseudo island to fight on.

 The battles start at the Persian Wars, where Persia was invading Greece. They continue through the Archidamian and Ionian  (usually called the Decelean War by scholars, but the author points out that all of the action took place in Ionia)Wars. The familiar names are all here: Conon, Lysander, and of course Alcibiades. The Greek strategy and tactics of the period are still studied today. Many of the famous ancient historians are quoted in the book. The author attempts (I think successfully) to make sense of these military actions from the sometime very skimpy sources.

 The duel between Alcibiades and Lysander are the most interesting parts of the book in my opinion. The author shows that Persian money was the only reason that Sparta was able to keep fighting at the end of the Peloponnesian War.

 All in all, this is a great book to add to your collection. The maps, which are a little Spartan (sorry), do help. It would have been nice to see more of them. Mr. Rees, soon to be Dr. Rees, does an excellent job of sweeping away the cobwebs of 2500 years. Thank you Casemate Publishers for allowing me to review this book.


Author: Owen Rees
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Distributor: Casemate Publishers