The best books about Sparta

1 authors have picked their favorite books about Sparta and why they recommend each book.

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Term贸pilas (Grandes Batallas)

By Paul Cartledge,

Book cover of Term贸pilas (Grandes Batallas)

The legendary feat of the 300 Spartans who sacrificed for their city and their ideals is narrated in an excellent way in this book that also accurately reflects the way of thinking and understanding the world. A highly recommended reading for those who wish to learn about the world of the Spartans. In this story are the most important events of that historic moment.


Who am I?

My passion for the Spartans and ancient history in general comes from the iconic idea that those men needed to have a lot of courage to face the battles they faced and survive that. These soldiers faced terrible deaths in every battle to defend their families, their lands, their cities. More specifically, the ability of the Spartans to understand that through suffering and lack they could become stronger even if that meant suffering it in their flesh or seeing their children suffer. The different ways of understanding the world by the Persians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Celts... is something incredible.


I wrote...

The legacy of Sparta

By Christian Zamora Salamanca,

Book cover of The legacy of Sparta

What is my book about?

A great story that will immerse you in the world of the Spartans. You will accompany a group of Spartans who will have to make a series of decisions in order to survive, leading them to make history. Without a doubt a story that will transport you to ancient Greece.

Aretes de Esparta (Hist贸rica)

By Llu铆s Prats Mart铆nez,

Book cover of Aretes de Esparta (Hist贸rica)

I don't know if this book has an English version, but it should still be recommended because it is the book that introduced me to the world of the Spartans, their ideology, and their way of understanding the world. For me, it is a book for seniors written as if it were for children. A fluent reading that guides you through the emotions of the protagonist, getting to share her joys and her illusions. Definitely a must-read if you want to enjoy the exciting world of ancient history.


Who am I?

My passion for the Spartans and ancient history in general comes from the iconic idea that those men needed to have a lot of courage to face the battles they faced and survive that. These soldiers faced terrible deaths in every battle to defend their families, their lands, their cities. More specifically, the ability of the Spartans to understand that through suffering and lack they could become stronger even if that meant suffering it in their flesh or seeing their children suffer. The different ways of understanding the world by the Persians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Celts... is something incredible.


I wrote...

The legacy of Sparta

By Christian Zamora Salamanca,

Book cover of The legacy of Sparta

What is my book about?

A great story that will immerse you in the world of the Spartans. You will accompany a group of Spartans who will have to make a series of decisions in order to survive, leading them to make history. Without a doubt a story that will transport you to ancient Greece.

The Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece

By Paul Cartledge,

Book cover of The Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece

Not 鈥 repeat not 鈥 because I am its editor and wrote more than half of it but mainly because this is I believe the one-volume, one-stop-shop book to have on your shelves or digitally on your computer if you want to gain something like a complete understanding and appreciation of the world or rather worlds of Ancient Greece. I can do no better than quote from the 鈥榖lurb鈥 provided online by the C.U.P. itself.

It is sumptuously illustrated throughout, almost entirely in colour. It offers fresh interpretations of the whole range of 鈥楥lassical鈥 Greek culture, different aspects of which are expertly handled by members of an international cast of top-notch scholars both male and female. These aspects include: the influences of the environment and economy; the effects of interstate tensions; the implications of (bi-, homo-, hetero-normative) sexuality; the experiences of workers, soldiers, slaves, peasants and women; and the roles鈥


Who am I?

I have studied Classics and Ancient Greek history since my teens, I read 鈥楪reats鈥 (Ancient History and Philosophy) at Oxford, completed an archaeological doctorate on early Sparta also at Oxford (1975), while spending my teaching career (1972-2014) in Northern and Southern Ireland, and in England at Warwick and Cambridge Universities. I retired as the inaugural, endowed A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture before taking up my current position as A.G. Leventis Senior Research Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. I have been the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of some 30 books on ancient Greek history, most recently Thebes: the Forgotten City of Ancient Greece.


I wrote...

Thebes: The Forgotten City of Ancient Greece

By Paul Cartledge,

Book cover of Thebes: The Forgotten City of Ancient Greece

What is my book about?

Among the extensive writing available about the history of ancient Greece, there is precious little about the city-state of Thebes. At one point the most powerful city in ancient Greece, Thebes has been long overshadowed by its better-known rivals, Athens and Sparta. In Thebes: The Forgotten City of Ancient Greece, acclaimed classicist and historian Paul Cartledge brings the city vividly to life and argues that it is central to our understanding of the ancient Greeks' achievements--whether politically or culturally--and thus to the wider politico-cultural traditions of western Europe, the Americas, and indeed the world.

Okela

By Pedro Santamar铆a Fern谩ndez,

Book cover of Okela: Espartanos en Cantabria

The ease of reading of this author is fascinating. He also manages to tell us a story that he connects in a wonderful way with some Roman remains found in the north of Spain. Definitely a great read if the reader can read Spanish. It is full of exciting and brilliant moments that the reader of ancient history will undoubtedly appreciate.


Who am I?

My passion for the Spartans and ancient history in general comes from the iconic idea that those men needed to have a lot of courage to face the battles they faced and survive that. These soldiers faced terrible deaths in every battle to defend their families, their lands, their cities. More specifically, the ability of the Spartans to understand that through suffering and lack they could become stronger even if that meant suffering it in their flesh or seeing their children suffer. The different ways of understanding the world by the Persians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Celts... is something incredible.


I wrote...

The legacy of Sparta

By Christian Zamora Salamanca,

Book cover of The legacy of Sparta

What is my book about?

A great story that will immerse you in the world of the Spartans. You will accompany a group of Spartans who will have to make a series of decisions in order to survive, leading them to make history. Without a doubt a story that will transport you to ancient Greece.

The Spartans

By Paul Cartledge,

Book cover of The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece

Of the over 1,000 independent city-states that made up the Hellenic world -- and competed in the Olympic Games -- Sparta is today the most notorious and influential (after Athens). This book provides a wonderful insight into its extraordinary culture, where Spartan males were brought up in a strict, even ruthless regime of military training, discipline, and self-sacrifice for the communal good -- but where women were given unexpected freedom and power.

Who am I?

As a historian, journalist, and travel writer,聽Tony Perrottet聽has made a career out of bringing the past to vivid life. Born in Australia, he started writing as a foreign correspondent in South America, where he covered guerrilla wars in Peru, drug running in Colombia, and military rebellions in Argentina. He continues to commute to Athens, Iceland, Tierra del Fuego, and Havana, while contributing to the聽Smithsonian Magazine, The New York Times,聽and TheWall Street Journal, amongst others. He has written six books on subjects ranging from classical tourism to the Pope's "pornographic bathroom" in the Vatican, and most recently,聽隆Cuba Libre!, an anecdotal account of the Cuban Revolution. His travel stories have been selected seven times for the聽Best American Travel Writing聽series, and he is a regular guest on the History Channel, where he has spoken about everything from the Crusades to the birth of disco.


I wrote...

The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Ancient Games

By Tony Perrottet,

Book cover of The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Ancient Games

What is my book about?

While researching a book on ancient Roman tourists, Pagan Holiday, I discovered that the classical Olympic Games were history's longest-running festival, held without fail, every four years for nearly twelve centuries. It's an astonishing record given that the modern Olympics have been canceled three times due to wars since they were restarted in Athens in 1896, and the 2021 Tokyo Games were delayed a year due to the Covid pandemic. I also realized that the ancient Greek Olympics were chaotic and sprawling events -- the Woodstock of Antiquity -- where 40,000 sports fans crowded in wretched conditions, punished by searing summer heat, plagues of flies, endless dust, and dehydration. But they were also unforgettable spectacles, combining sports with religious rituals, cultural tourism, political grandstanding, and a level of debauchery that impressed Emperor Nero when he competed in the chariot race.

In The Naked Olympics, I set out to recreate what it might really have been like to visit the festival as a competitor, a sports fan, or an official, using firsthand reports and obscure sources, including an actual Handbook for a Sports Coach used by the ancient Greeks. My aim was to peel away the layers of myth that cloud our vision of the classical world to understand the experience itself, including the round-the-clock bacchanal inside the tents of the Olympic Village, the all-male nude workouts under the statue of Eros (all athletes went naked in the Greek world), and history's first corruption scandals involving competitors. 

Hunting the Eagles

By Ben Kane,

Book cover of Hunting the Eagles

A wonderful book that will show us the story of a Roman soldier, his experiences, his way of thinking, and his ability to rebuild himself. We can also learn a lot about Roman culture and their way of seeing the world. A great book that leaves no one indifferent. I really recommend this book because it shows the importance of not giving up in the face of different circumstances and changes that occur in life. I recommend this book to all types of readers.


Who am I?

My passion for the Spartans and ancient history in general comes from the iconic idea that those men needed to have a lot of courage to face the battles they faced and survive that. These soldiers faced terrible deaths in every battle to defend their families, their lands, their cities. More specifically, the ability of the Spartans to understand that through suffering and lack they could become stronger even if that meant suffering it in their flesh or seeing their children suffer. The different ways of understanding the world by the Persians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Celts... is something incredible.


I wrote...

The legacy of Sparta

By Christian Zamora Salamanca,

Book cover of The legacy of Sparta

What is my book about?

A great story that will immerse you in the world of the Spartans. You will accompany a group of Spartans who will have to make a series of decisions in order to survive, leading them to make history. Without a doubt a story that will transport you to ancient Greece.

The Plague of War

By Jennifer T. Roberts,

Book cover of The Plague of War: Athens, Sparta, and the Struggle for Ancient Greece

Roberts鈥 groundbreaking, game-changing story of the Peloponnesian War (really, wars) is richly detailed and comprehensive, a modernizing 鈥渓eveling up鈥 from Donald Kagan鈥檚 2004 standard text. By centering her narrative in the impact of the war, rather than strategy and politics, Roberts brings home the terrible human cost of the conflict, and the book serves as a critical examination of what wholesale violence means to a society, from the high to the low. Roberts writes with incredible empathy, and her voice makes the book more than enlightening, it鈥檚 a deeply moving mediation on the depths of self-inflicted suffering as only human beings can engender.聽


Who am I?

I鈥檓 a lifelong warfighter, law enforcement officer, intelligence officer, and emergency services worker, intimately familiar with the crisis response and what makes conflict so fascinating to students of history. I鈥檓 also a popular novelist with an in-depth understanding of story arcs and what makes great prose. I鈥檝e previously published narrative military history myself 鈥 Legion Versus Phalanx: The Epic Struggle for Infantry Supremacy in the Ancient World. My short nonfiction, much of it based on military history and crisis work, has appeared in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, and Ancient Warfare Magazine.


I wrote...

The Bronze Lie: Shattering the Myth of Spartan Warrior Supremacy

By Myke Cole,

Book cover of The Bronze Lie: Shattering the Myth of Spartan Warrior Supremacy

What is my book about?

The Spartan hoplite enjoys unquestioned currency as history's greatest fighting man. The last stand at Thermopylae made the Spartans legends in their own time, famous for their ability to endure hardship, control their emotions, and to never surrender - even in the face of impossible odds, even when it meant certain death. Was this reputation earned? Or was it simply the success of a propaganda machine that began turning at Thermopylae in 480 BC?

The story of the Spartans is one of the best known in history, from their rigorous training to their dramatic feats of arms--but is that portrait of Spartan supremacy true? I go back to the original sources to set the record straight.

The Endless Skies

By Shannon Price,

Book cover of The Endless Skies

Winged! Lion! Shifters! What more could you want? Maybe a simmering romance? A warrior society reminiscent of Sparta? A floating kingdom? This book has all that and more. Set against the backdrop of a harrowing race against time, this book is perfect for fans of Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young and Wonder Woman, with core themes of friendship, family, and loyalty.

This book is all the magic, action, and romance you could want from a YA fantasy.


Who am I?

There鈥檚 something truly magical about the bond people between and animals, whether it be in stories with animal companions, or books about mythical creatures who are actually just metaphors for life鈥檚 monsters or magic. It鈥檚 something I include in all my stories, from the cats that make a hard day a little easier, to the fantastical beasts rooted in a society鈥檚 survival. There鈥檚 always something new to learn from them, and I hope you enjoy these stories about them as much as I did!


I wrote...

The Storm Crow

By Kalyn Josephson,

Book cover of The Storm Crow

What is my book about?

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life...until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything. That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother's death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

Gates of Fire

By Steven Pressfield,

Book cover of Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

Ever since watching the 2006 movie 300 about the famous Spartan defense against the Persians in Ancient Greece, I was intrigued by the people behind the story and the events which shaped it. I immediately fell in love with Steven Pressfield鈥檚 Gates of Fire! He effortlessly blends historical realism with character development while not shying away from the important questions that transcend the ages. What is fear and how do soldiers of any army reach deep into themselves to fight for hearth and home? It was my first foray into Ancient Greece and would shape my vision for Spartan culture for years to come.  


Who am I?

I have always loved reading and feel a natural attraction to history and the lessons it can give us. I want to learn something new whenever I pick up a book but also enjoy the story and characters as well. Since 2010, I have authored six historical novels of my own and am working on my seventh. I carefully weave years of extensive research into a fast-paced, exciting story that pushes all the right buttons! Intrigue, love, fear, and hope are integral parts of my novels, and I hope along the way, my readers will gain a new insight into a different culture or era they never knew before.  


I wrote...

Gifts of the Gods: Iron and Bronze

By Thomas J. Berry,

Book cover of Gifts of the Gods: Iron and Bronze

What is my book about?

Five men and women in Ancient Greece are set on a dangerous journey of self-discovery during the bitter conflict of the Peloponnesian War.

The Olympic festivals honor the gods with their renowned athletic contests and one woman finds herself in a deadly gamble when she must make an agonizing choice. A young helot slave longs for freedom while a new wife imperils herself to stand by her husband and home. When a wealthy aristocrat finds his world turned upside down, he must learn what true sacrifice is all about. A Spartan officer who has lived by a strict code of tradition must discover new ways to cope in an unconventional war.聽 Who will survive and what will their lives be like when it's over?

Helen of Sparta

By Amalia Carosella,

Book cover of Helen of Sparta

Carosella offers another, refreshing take on Helen. This Helen takes control of her life and tries to defy fate (and the gods do their darndest, as usual in Greek mythology, to make her and everyone else miserable). Carosella鈥檚 engaging novel develops the characters鈥 jealousies, passions, and loyalties, as well as bringing the reader directly into the ancient Greek world. I enjoyed the sense of interconnectedness between different parts of this Greek and Mediterranean world, Troy, Sparta, Egypt, Mycenae, and Athens. This accurately reflects the current understanding of this exotic world. I appreciate a flexible view of all the legendary mythology surrounding this iconic war, and Carosella has flexed some impressive muscle.


Who am I?

I write fiction set in the Bronze Age world of the Trojan War and the Hittite Empire. I love to combine history and archaeology with magic and fantasy arising from the ancient beliefs of this period. My novels bring women to the fore鈥攚hether the captive Briseis or a remarkable Hittite queen lost to human memory until recently. Armed with degrees in Classics, I have spent too much time exploring the remains of the ancient Greeks and Hittites through travel and research. From the beginning, the Trojan War tradition has left room for many variations. Here are five entirely different 鈥渢akes鈥 on this iconic war鈥攁ll masterfully written.


I wrote...

Hand of Fire: A Novel of Briseis and the Trojan War

By Judith Starkston,

Book cover of Hand of Fire: A Novel of Briseis and the Trojan War

What is my book about?

A legendary war, an invincible warrior, a woman forced to defend her family and realm鈥攁nd her independent spirit. Will she become the captive or the captor?

Briseis struggles to protect her city, an ally of Troy, from marauding Greeks and her husband鈥檚 arrogant violence. She finds strength in visions of a handsome warrior god until he appears before her in flesh and blood. When Briseis raises a sword against the mighty Achilles, she ignites a passion that threatens to betray everyone she holds dear. Hand of Fire gives voice to Briseis, a pivotal but silenced woman of the Trojan War. Set within a richly developed Bronze Age world, it depicts the resilience of ancient women finding the strength to overcome trauma and loss.

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