The Fall of the Athenian Empire

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In the fourth and final volume of his magisterial history of the Peloponnesian War, Donald Kagan examines the period from the destruction of Athens' Sicilian expedition in September of 413 B.C. to the Athenian surrender to Sparta in the spring of 404 B.C. Through his study of this last decade of the war, Kagan evaluates the performance of the Athenian democracy as it faced its most serious challenge. At the same time, Kagan assesses Thucydides' interpretation of the reasons for Athens’ defeat and the destruction of the Athenian Empire.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The fourth volume in Kagan's history of ancient Athens, which has been called one of the major achievements of modern historical scholarship, begins with the ill-fated Sicilian expedition of 413 B.C. and ends with the surrender of Athens to Sparta in 404 B.C. Richly documented, precise in detail, it is also extremely well-written, linking it to a tradition of historical narrative that has become rare in our time."—Virginia Quarterly Review

"With its three predecessors, this volume will long stand as the definitive work on the Peloponnesian War and the nature of the Athenian empire."—American Historical Review

"Kagan offers political history at its best. He does a masterful job of laying out the strategic choices confronting ancient Greek statesmen and generals, then explaining why events took the course they did. . . . Kagan shows a remarkable gift for drawing analogies to more recent wars to illuminate this struggle between ancient great powers. These insightful analogies also help us understand better the imperial rivalries and wars of our own troubled century."—Orbis

"A profound analysis of the relation of strategy to politics, a sympathetic but searching critique of Thucydides' masterpiece, and a trenchant assessment of the voluminous modern literature on the war."—Bernard Knox, The Atlantic Monthly (reviewing the four-volume series)

"The temptation to acclaim Kagan's four volumes as the foremost work of history produced in North America in the twentieth century is vivid. . . . Here is an achievement that not only honors the criteria of dispassion and of unstinting scruple which mark the best of modern historicism but honors its readers. To read Kagan's 'History of the Peloponnesian War' at the present hour is to be almost unbearably tested."—George Steiner, The New Yorker (reviewing the four-volume series)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801499845
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1991
  • Series: A New History of the Peloponnesian War Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 989,517
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald Kagan is Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale University.

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Table of Contents

1. After the Sicilian Disaster
2. The War in the Aegean
3. Athens Responds
4. Sparta's Riposte
5. The Revolutionary Movement
6. The Coup
7. The Four Hundred in Power
8. The Establishment of the Five Thousand
9. The War in the Hellespont
10. The Restoration
11. The Return of Alcibiades
12. Cyrus, Lysander, and the Fall of Aicibiades
13. The Battle of Arginusae
14. The Trial of the Generals
15. The Fall of Athens
16. Conclusions

General Index
Index of Ancient Authors and Inscriptions
Index of Modem Authors

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    An essential Library Book

    If you missed this book in its original printing, do not miss it this time. This book is written by a master story-teller and very easy to read and understand. One might ask: Why does Athens matter? My response is that Athens, allied with the other Greek city-states, was the first Democracy challenged by the so-called King of Kings coming out of Persia. Not only did Athens successfully resist the attempt but ejected the trespasser from its shores. This is a story about the first democracy in the known world and points out how it came to fall. One must remember that Athens lies across the Mediterraean Sea from the Middle East. Athens had trade relations with the Middle East for spices, grain, and other goods. The Greek scholars had relationships with the Hebrew community in the Middle East and, following Alexander's conquest, sent scholars and settlers to that very region. The Greek's gave us the first greek translation of the Bible in the Septuagint. Part of this mutual cooperation originated with Alexander himself when he went out of his way to gain Hebrew support instead of opposition. The outcome might have been entirely different had he lived long enough to consolidate his kingdom but that was not to be. To me. understanding the Greeks is essential to understanding the Bible and what took place in the Maccabean Revolt. It is all more pieces of the puzzle. Don't miss this book. It is worth far more than the asking price and you will never regret having purchased it.

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