The End of Sparta: A Novel
Victor Davis Hanson
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In this sweeping and deeply imagined historical novel, acclaimed classicist Victor Davis Hanson re-creates the battles of one of the greatest generals of ancient Greece, Epaminondas. At the Battle of Leuktra, his Thebans crushed the fearsome army of Sparta that had enslaved its neighbors for two centuries.
We follow these epic historical events through the eyes of Mêlon, a farmer who has left his fields to serve with Epaminondas-swept up, against his better judgment, in the fever to spread democracy even as he yearns to return to his pastoral hillside.
With a scholar's depth of knowledge and a novelist's vivid imagination, Hanson re-creates the ancient world down to its intimate details-from the weight of a spear in a soldier's hand to the peculiar camaraderie of a slave and master who go into battle side by side. The End of Sparta is a stirring drama and a rich, absorbing reading experience.
Praise for Victor Davis Hanson:
"I have never read another book that explains so well the truth that 'war lies in the dark hearts of us all' but that history offers hope."-William Shawcross on The Father of Us All
"Few writers cover both current events and history-and none with the brilliance and erudition of Victor Davis Hanson."-Max Boot on The Father of Us All
"Enthralling."-Christopher Hitchens on The Western Way of War
Boiotarchs was to skirt the Athenian border. The army would take the mountain fork and avoid the Eleusis road. That way they could get to the Megarid along the Oinoi path between the watchtowers to the plain across Salamis, with the summit of Mt. Pateras on their right. They could sleep up on the pass on this first night and be tented around Megara and its market on the afternoon of the second day. At noon on the third day from Thebes, the army would cross the Isthmos—Korinthians and Athenian
ambushers behind. We are near the crest. Be careful since we are ever closer to the border of Lakonia.” Ainias patted his hilt on his sword belt and gripped tighter his spear. Melissos said little, though he grunted under a pack on his back and the reins of a stubborn pony struggling with two shields that hit the brush and boughs of spruce. If there were to be spear work, he would be at the van and take a stab at Scorpas first of all. He knew that much. Melissos had started out the lackey of
not far from the ravine at the spring of Kastalia, happy to spend their last night together in the nearby tavern beneath the upper sanctuary of Apollo. In the morning the four headed down the Boiotian road with an escort of Phokians who were eager to hear of the victories in the south as the wage of their escort—and who pressed them for news of booty and more to be had. Rumors had already reached them that the army of Epaminondas would come up from the Isthmos in a new moon with wagons of Spartan
well—and my father Malgis, and nearly me twice. So I think, Alkidamas, the problem was not in our sons or in us, but in Lichas, whom few who breathe and walk can kill. As for the education of your Melissos, perhaps let him ape the Sacred Band. They drill, they say, and take kindly to boys in their midst. Though, to be frank, your spindly barbarian Melissos with his bony nose and foreign tongue might not stir up Erôs in those boy-lovers.” “The note of contempt in your voice I share, Mêlon, for
better yet, the helot Messenians next, turn away from superstitions of the Olympians to worship the deity Reason that had so ordered their own lives? Or would they loot in their new city as the serfs and helots they innately were, and prove the Spartans right that they were inferiors by nature and would make their new city as foul as they? A voice of the master answered in the head of Proxenos, “No, one day they will think as they live in their new grids. Square corners make square thoughts.” A