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Sparta: Unfit for Empire (Hardback)

Ancient History Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: Ancient History

By Godfrey Hutchinson
Frontline Books
Pages: 296
ISBN: 9781848322226
Published: 17th November 2014



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The end of the Peloponnesian War saw Sparta emerge as the dominant power in the Greek world. Had she used this position wisely her hegemony might have been secure. As it was, she embarked on actions that her former allies, Thebes and Korinth, refused to support. The rise of Thebes as a threatening power to Sparta's control of Greece was largely the result of the brilliant exploits of Epaminondas and Pelopidas whose obvious examination of Spartan tactics allowed them to provide counters to them.

While noting the political issues, Godfrey Hutchinson's focus is upon the strategic and tactical elements of warfare in a period almost wholly coinciding with the reign of the brilliant commander, Agesilaos, one of the joint kings of Sparta, who, astonishingly, campaigned successfully into his eighties.

Let us start with the main point – if you are looking for a book which tells you what happened immediately after the Peloponnesian War which ended in 404 BC, this is probably the best book for the job...

The overall text is rather like the Parson's egg. However, while that egg was 'good in parts', this book is excellent in parts, good in most of the rest, and pedestrian only on rare occasions. There are many books on Sparta in print – and this is definitely one of the better ones.

Read the full review here!


Hutchinson investigates the causes behind those years of military decline between the 404 bc end of the Peloponnsian War and the 362 bc Battle of Mantinea.

Military History Magazine - Thomas Zacharis

As seen in...

Vae Victis

The review and conclusions are well argued and very effectively supported by illustration in the form of maps, charts, and photographs. An interesting and informative read that will be enjoyed by many.

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