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Sparta's Kings (Hardback)

Ancient History

Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
ISBN: 9781848848498
Published: 22nd October 2012

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In ancient Greece, Sparta was unique in having a dual kingship – two kings from different clans, the Agiads and the Eurypontids, reigning simultaneously. The institution was already well-developed by the 8th century BC, when Theopompos of the Eurypontid clan emerges as the first recorded Spartan king. At least fifty-seven men held office as Spartan king between Theopompos and the Agiad Kleomenes III who died in 222 BC. For almost all this period the Spartan kingship was primarily a military office, and thus the kings embody much of the military history of Sparta.

Wherever Sparta’s main battles took place, there the kings were. Naturally, the character of the particular king would often determine the outcome of a battle or campaign. Leonidas I at Thermopylai was one example. At the other end of the scale the young and unwarlike Pleistoanax twice declined an encounter with the Athenians when sent against that city.

John Carr offers a chronological account of the kings and their accomplishments (or lack thereof), from the founding Herakleidai clan to Kleomenes III and his successor, the dictator Nabis, and the Roman conquest in the middle of the 2nd century BC. The book is not intended to be a complete history of Sparta. It will be a human interest and war story, focusing attention on the kings’ personal qualities as well as their (or their generals’) military accomplishments and, where applicable, their politics as well.

John Carr has performed admirably with this publication about Spartan history and I look forward to seeing what he will work on next.

Ancient Warfare

John Carr has performed admirably with this publication about Spartan history and I look forward to seeing what he will work on next.

Ancient Warfare Magazine

Thousands of years ago, rulers rode into battle alongside their men. “Sparta's Kings” is a historical look at the Kings of Sparta who three thousand years ago ruled as dual monarchs over their clans and the actions they made that gained Sparta its place in history. John Carr presents a riveting chronicle of these warrior kings offering insight onto these great men of legend and the strategy behind their actions. “Sparta's Kings” is a worthy addition to any collection focusing on ancient Greek history, highly recommended.

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