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Κυριακή, 12 Σεπτεμβρίου 2010

"The Battle of Salamis" Barry Strauss

 " Το 480 π.Χ. στη Σαλαμίνα δύο μεγάλοι πολιτισμοί έρχονται αντιμέτωποι: της Ελλάδας και της Περσίας. Και στους δύο κυριαρχούσε η φιλοδοξία, και οι δύο ήταν στρατιωτικά ανεπτυγμένοι. Αν καταστρεφόταν ο περσικός στόλος, η Αθήνα θα μπορούσε να κατακτήσει τη δύναμη και τον πλούτο για να δημιουργήσει ένα χρυσό αιώνα. Αν αποτύχαινε, η κλασική Ελλάδα θα έχανε τη λάμψη, τον πολιτισμό και τους θεσμούς οι οποίοι θα αποτελούσαν την ιστορία του μετέπειτα κόσμου.


Η εποποιία της Σαλαμίνας προσφέρει μια δραματική γνώση των πολεμικών τεχνών, της ευφυΐας, της στρατηγικής, των τεχνασμάτων και των αντι-τεχνασμάτων.

Η ριζικά νέα ερμηνεία του Μπάρι Στράους ξεδιπλώνεται μέσα από τις ατομικές ιστορίες δώδεκα εκπληκτικών χαρακτήρων: από τον ίδιο τον Ξέρξη και τη βασίλισσα Αρτεμισία ―μία από τις ελάχιστες γυναίκες-καπετάνισσες της Ιστορίας― μέχρι τον Αθηναίο ναύαρχο Θεμιστοκλή και τον Ερμότιμο, τον ευνούχο.

Στο βιβλίο "Η Ναυμαχία της Σαλαμίνας" παρουσιάζονται τα κρίσιμα γεγονότα ενός μηνός του 480 π.Χ., όταν ο αρχαίος κόσμος έτρεμε τις συνέπειες από τη μεγαλύτερη εισβολή από στεριά και θάλασσα που είχε δοκιμάσει ως τότε, μετά την οποία τίποτε δε θα ήταν όπως πριν.


Barry Strauss, Professor of History and Classics at Cornell, has published the new standard work on the naval battle between the Greeks and Persians in the Straits of Salamis in 480 B.C. Strauss is modest about his achievement, saying, "So much has been written about the battle of Salamis, and it is of such high quality, that one approaches the scholarly literature with respect, gratitude, and humility." Yet the only book-length account he mentions is a French work published in 1915. It was high time for a new in-depth study of Salamis, and this book admirably fills the bill.
Strauss uses individuals--some famous like Themistocles and Herodotus and some lesser known like Queen Artemisia of Halicarnassus and the Persian eunuch slave Hermontimus--to tell the story. These players add the human interest that turns a simple narrative into a great and engaging tale. The result is a manuscript based on the solid scholarship of good history with the readability of a good novel. One can almost smell the stench below decks as the rowers silently pull their oars, and the terror on a sinking ship is palpable (especially if it was Persian and the crew could not swim).
Strauss tells the story of Salamis in all its political and military complexity. There are, of course, no new sources or recently discovered manuscripts to consult, although modern archaeology and data from trials of the replica trireme Olympias do inform the discourse. Instead of new material, Strauss presents a fresh and comprehensive interpretation. He treats Salamis not simply as a naval battle, but as a significant political-military event. He describes the inner workings of the Persian court where fear of and toadying to the king predominated and how that affected the campaign against Greece. Strauss contrasts that approach with the rough and tumble politics of ancient Greek city-states and the delicate workings of the improbable alliance they cobbled together to protect their freedom. Strauss portrays Themistocles as the political and military genius who authored the Athenian and thus the Greek strategy; however, he also paints the famous Greek statesman as the scheming, conniving, manipulative, and perhaps treasonous politician he was. That there was no direct counterpart of Themistocles in the Persian court perhaps helps explain the eventual Greek victory.

Barry Strauss is one of the best ancient naval historians alive, and in The Battle of Salamis he combines his classical expertise with his natural gifts as a storyteller to make the inexplicable Greek victory not just explicable -- but captivating as well. The ensuing drama is as riveting as it is historically accurate.

Victor Davis Hanson
Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institute, author of Carnage and Culture. Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power

Barry Strauss is the Patrick O'Brian of the Persian-Greek war that set the course of western history. He builds a cast-of-thousands classical drama as exciting as any modern epic on a base of astounding detail.

Dava Sobel
author of Longitude and Galileo's Daughter

Led by a shrewd and bold commander, the sailors of the world's first democracy -- badly outnumbered, their capital destroyed -- drew strength from their freedom and crushed the forces of the massive Persian Empire to save the dawning of Western Civilization. Superbly told, and as dramatic as history gets.

R. James Woolsey
Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton,
and former Director of Central Intelligence

A ripping yarn of a world at the brink of annihilation and of the heroes (and fools) who brought it back from the edge. Strauss's deep scholarship and clear prose bring the men and the era alive. We can see the ships and smell the action, but more importantly, we understand what it meant -- for the Greeks then and for all of us now. This is the indispensable work on Salamis.

Steven Pressfield
author of Gates of Fire : An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

Translations : "The Battle of Salamis"


UK edition ,  Brazilian (Portugese), Italian, Spanish, Greek, Korean -  Seoul

                                                                                                                                                                       


                                                                                         
                                                                                                                               
Μπάρι Στράους, καθηγητής Ιστορίας και Κλασικών Σπουδών στο Πανεπιστήμιο Κορνέλ, είναι συγγραφέας οχτώ βιβλίων με θέματα που κυμαίνονται από τον πόλεμο ως την πολιτική και τον αθλητισμό. Συχνά καλείται να δώσει συνεντεύξεις σε ιστορικά προγράμματα. Έχει δημοσιεύσει άρθρα σε εφημερίδες και έχει συνεργαστεί με το BBC. Για το διδακτικό του έργο έχει τιμηθεί από το Πανεπιστήμιο Κορνέλ.