By Paul A. Cartledge
The conflict of Plataea in 479 BCE is one in all international history's unjustly ignored occasions. It decisively ended the specter of a Persian conquest of Greece. It concerned tens of millions of opponents, together with the most important variety of Greeks ever introduced jointly in a typical reason. For the Spartans, the motive force at the back of the Greek victory, the conflict was once candy vengeance for his or her defeat at Thermopylae the 12 months earlier than. Why has this pivotal conflict been so overlooked?
In After Thermopylae, Paul Cartledge masterfully reopens one of many nice puzzles of old Greece to find, up to attainable, what occurred at the box of conflict and, simply as vital, what occurred to its reminiscence. a part of the reply to those questions, Cartledge argues, are available in a little-known oath apparently sworn by way of the leaders of Athens, Sparta, and several Greek city-states sooner than the battle-the Oath of Plataea. via an research of this oath, Cartledge presents a wealth of perception into historical Greek tradition. He indicates, for instance, that after the Athenians and Spartans weren't struggling with the Persians they have been struggling with themselves, together with a propaganda warfare for keep an eye on of the reminiscence of Greece's defeat of the Persians. This is helping clarify why this day we without problems consider the Athenian-led victories at Marathon and Salamis yet now not Sparta's victory at Plataea. certainly, the Oath illuminates Greek anxieties over historic reminiscence and over the Athens-Sparta contention, which might erupt fifty years after Plataea within the Peloponnesian warfare. additionally, as the Oath used to be finally a non secular rfile, Cartledge additionally makes use of it to focus on the profound position of faith and fable in old Greek lifestyles. With compelling and eye-opening detective paintings, After Thermopylae presents a long-overdue heritage of the conflict of Plataea and a wealthy portrait of the Greek ethos in the course of some of the most serious sessions in historical historical past.
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Additional resources for After Thermopylae: The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars (Emblems of Antiquity)
The ﬁrst phase of the War lasted for a full decade and was rounded oﬀ with a peace conventionally named after its chief Athenian negotiator, Nicias. Since the Spartans had started the War with the express aim of terminating the Athenian empire, and since it had failed by a long way to achieve this goal, the peace represented a win on points for Athens. Conversely, when the War resumed in 413, the Athenians, who had restarted it, were in very bad shape militarily after a major defeat in Sicily, and soon in very bad shape politically, as civil war convulsed the city and a vicious oligarchy replaced the democracy in 411.
39–40)? Is this a reference only to this particular written text—or is it (also) to some earlier written text or texts? It seems unlikely to me, at any rate, to be a reference to the alleged aboriginal oath sworn actually before the Battle of Plataea, at Eleusis or wherever, since there wouldn’t have been the time or probably the material available for anyone to write it down. Besides, there wouldn’t have been felt quite the same need as there would be perhaps by us: Greeks of necessity in a largely oral world of communication had much better developed memories than we do.
The Oath of Plataea thus both vividly illuminates Greek anxieties over historical memory and reﬂects the Atheno-Spartan rivalry that erupted in little under ﬁfty years after the Battle of Plataea—in what we usually refer to as the Peloponnesian War (431–404 bce). Indeed, hostilities actually commenced by proxy at Plataea itself, where (in the words of the War’s great historian, Thucydides of Athens) a treaty sworn between Athens and Sparta and their respective allies in 445 bce and ostensibly destined to last for thirty years “had overtly been broken” by an invasion of Plataea launched by the Thebans in spring 431.
After Thermopylae: The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars (Emblems of Antiquity) by Paul A. Cartledge