Pylos and Sphacteria 425 BC: Sparta's island of disaster

Pylos and Sphacteria 425 BC: Sparta's island of disaster

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by William Shepherd, Peter Dennis
     
 

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During the Peloponnesian War the Athenians occupied the promontory of Pylos to counter Sparta's repeated invasions of Attica. Over two days of fighting the small garrison beat off the Spartan army and the returning Athenian fleet won a crushing victory in the nearby waters, stranding a contingent of elite Spartan hoplites on the island of Sphacteria.

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Overview

During the Peloponnesian War the Athenians occupied the promontory of Pylos to counter Sparta's repeated invasions of Attica. Over two days of fighting the small garrison beat off the Spartan army and the returning Athenian fleet won a crushing victory in the nearby waters, stranding a contingent of elite Spartan hoplites on the island of Sphacteria.

With the campaigning season drawing to a close the Athenians mounted an attack on the island using an unconventional amphibious night assault they overran the Spartan outpost covering the beaches and light-armed missile troops landed at daybreak in overwhelming numbers. The Spartans were slowly driven back to their stronghold, losing men steadily as they were prevented from engaging in the hand-to-hand fighting at which they excelled. With their commander dead and his deputy incapacitated by wounds, the 292 survivors surrendered. This was a surprising blow to the Spartans' glorious reputation, and these prestigious prisoners-of-war served the Athenians very well as bargaining counters in the diplomatic activity that punctuated the hostilities that continued for the next four years.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781782002734
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
12/20/2013
Series:
Campaign , #261
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
96
File size:
23 MB
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This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

William Shepherd studied classics at Clare College, Cambridge, in the 1960s and then embarked on a career in publishing, which finally brought him to Osprey, retiring from the position of chief executive in 2007. He is author of The Persian War (Cambridge, 1982), translated from Herodotus. He has also written reading books for children and articles in the Osprey Military Journal, of which he was joint editor, and makes regular contributions to the Osprey blog. He lives in the Cherwell Valley, north of Oxford.

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