Syracuse 415-13 BC: Destruction of the Athenian Imperial Fleet

Overview

Osprey's study of one of the most important battles of the Peloponnesian War (431 - 404 BC). In 415 BC Athens launched a large expeditionary force, its goal the rich, grain-producing island of Sicily. This was in response to a call for help in a minor war from an old ally but the true objectives were the powerful city of Syracuse, suspected of supporting Athens' Peloponnesian enemies, and imperial expansion. The Athenians won an inconclusive victory over the Syracusans late in the year and renewed their attack in...
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Overview

Osprey's study of one of the most important battles of the Peloponnesian War (431 - 404 BC). In 415 BC Athens launched a large expeditionary force, its goal the rich, grain-producing island of Sicily. This was in response to a call for help in a minor war from an old ally but the true objectives were the powerful city of Syracuse, suspected of supporting Athens' Peloponnesian enemies, and imperial expansion. The Athenians won an inconclusive victory over the Syracusans late in the year and renewed their attack in the spring of 414. After a period of energetic siege warfare and a series of large-scale battles on land and sea, the Syracusans gained the upper hand and the expedition ended in total disaster with grave consequences for the future of Athens.

Nic Fields explores the background of this foolhardy venture in which Athens took on a nation that was militarily and financially strong and over 700 miles distant. Then, following the narrative of Thucydides, the chronicler of the Peloponnesian War, he describes and explains the long and violent campaign that pitted the two largest democracies of the Greek world against each other.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781846032585
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 5/20/2008
  • Series: Campaign
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 733,512
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Nic Fields started his career as a biochemist before joining the Royal Marines. Having left the military, he went back to University and completed a BA and PhD in Ancient History at the University of Newcastle. He was Assistant Director at the British School at Athens, Greece, and then a lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh. Nic is now a freelance author and researcher based in south-west France. The author lives in St Augustin sur Mer, France.

Peter Dennis was born in 1950. Inspired by contemporary magazines such as Look and Learn he studied illustration at Liverpool Art College. Peter has since contributed to hundreds of books, predominantly on historical subjects. He is a keen wargamer and modelmaker.Peter Dennis lives in Nottinghamshire, UK.

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Table of Contents


Introduction
Origins of the campaign     7
Chronology     13
Opposing Commanders     16
The Athenians
The Syracusans
Opposing Armies     24
Citizen-militia
Panoply
Tactics
Ritual
Cavalry
Lightly armed troops Opposing navies
Opposing Plans     43
The Athenian plan
The Syracusan plan
The target
The Campaign     49
The Athenian armada
Arrival in Sicily
The phoney war
The siege begins
Help arrives
Nikias writes home
The tide turns
The last venture
The lunacy of Nikias Total annihilation
The campaign in retrospect
Aftermath     87
War at sea
The fall of Athens
Citizen Sophokles
The fate of Alcibiades
Bibliography and Further Reading     94
A note on Thucydides
Index     95
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