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After Thermopylae: The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  16 reviews
The Battle of Plataea in 479 BCE is one of world history's unjustly neglected events. It decisively ended the threat of a Persian conquest of Greece. It involved tens of thousands of combatants, including the largest number of Greeks ever brought together in a common cause. For the Spartans, the driving force behind the Greek victory, the battle was sweet vengeance for the ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 1st 2013 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2013)
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3.69  · 
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 ·  65 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Jun 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, history
This book was actually rather scattered and far more academic than I was expecting for a book geared towards a more general audience, not necessarily in the depth of detail presented, but in the unwieldy and often confusing sentence construction. A lot of Cartledge's argument was predicated on a basic understanding of Classical Greek culture and the specific events of the Graeco-Persian Wars, which I have but many readers may not.

Having read other works by Cartledge, most notably his works on th
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
The sort of book that makes you wonder (a) whether they hired someone to copyedit and nothing else, or (b) what the manuscript looked like before an editor fixed it. Cartledge takes what promises to be an interesting discussion --the way certain memorials in ancient Greece revised history-- and applies to it a dry and pompous "I wear a tweed coat, isn't that enough to make me interesting?" authorial voice that makes for somewhat painful reading. Bits here and there capture the reader's attention ...more
Philip Girvan
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Cartledge quickly dismisses the notion that the Oath of Plataea has a historical authenticity as an oath sworn prior to the Battle of Plataea.

Those interested in a detailed examination will want to consult other sources. However this short book is a satisfactory introduction to a key, rather underrated battle in the Graeco-Persian Wars. Most interesting for its review of the rivalry between Athens and Sparta as the respective states vie for narrative dominance in what's now understood as "Greek
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book (monograph) focusing more on the ways the battle of Platea in 480 BCE was memorialized than on the actual battle itself (some 7-8 pages in the book). Looks at the religious, politcal and social forces at play and how they help to interpret the stele with the Oath of Plataea incscribed on it. In short, it appears the stele was a Hellenic example of political spin, by Athens at a time when its ascendency was on the wane--in essence an attempt to re-interpret history and attempt to regain pr ...more
Peter Dunn
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This short book takes as its starting point a slightly dodgy inscription on an ancient stele found by a farmer in the early 20th century. This leads to a journey through: a too much neglected crucial battle, the development of the discipline of history, Athenian and Spartan propaganda wars, and a debate about east versus west including a dash through orientalism. Quite an achievement for a book that’s only 203 pages long, and that’s if you also count the index.
Nov 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, history
This re-examination of the Battle of Plataea does not add much Herodotus' account of the battle itself, which is unsurprising, given the paucity of reliable sources. However, that is also not its avowed purpose. This book does offer an interesting look at how the memorialization of the history has been used for propaganda at various times, and by actors as various as the individual contemporary Greek cities and the Emperor Constantine.
I agree with other reviewers that this work could have stood a more vigorous editor. One has gone so far as to call it "tweedy", which I get, and yet cannot completely agree with. For one thing, as an academic, I have read much more painful material than this. By the standards of social science in particular, Cartledge is a paragon of comprehensibility.

And yet, the reviewer has a point that the composition of this book is distinctly odd. I had the distinct, and unsettling, impression, when readi
Craig Fiebig
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great discussion on two levels. The first was the history of the battle of Platea and it's oft-neglected importance in the Graeco-Persian conflict(s). Contrasting its pertinence relative to the more commonly discussed Marathon and/or Thermopylae was eye-opening from a historical perspective. The second was the history of the 'Oath of Platea' and how it was manipulated to alter the arc of the narrative for the participants. Cartledge teasingly introduces the logical flaws of Said and Adib-Moghadd ...more
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
As an ancient history and archaeology graduate who specialised in Spartan history, I was very excited about reading this book. Paul Cartledge is, in my opinion, the expert on Greek and Spartan history, and this book definitely lived up to my expectations. Full of information, yet easy to read, it reignited by love for Greek history. Definitely worth a read!
Jay Fisher
May 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I originally thought I was getting a history of the time between the Persian Wars and the Peloponessian War, instead I got something better. The book is a treatment of a single 4th century inscriptions and all the issues surrounding it including our evidence for the Battle of Platea. I learned a great deal and I am happy to see that it is part of a series of books about a single ancient object.
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Detailed discussion of the Greek political discussions/proclamations and arguments about a mostly forgotten battle that save Hellas from the Persian empire. Interesting commentary on the fragmentation and disunity of the various Polis involved. Not for the casual reader.
Mick Maye
Dec 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1
Recommended to Mick by: probably only historians
The topic of the book led me to buying the book and overall it was reasonably satisfying, unfortunately at times it is a hard book to read.
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ignore those clamoring for an editor.. This little book is well worth your time. A very good coda to a read through the histories.
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Less a study of the battle of Plataea than a academic work that rambles without a clear direction. Though interesting moments occur I would take a pass on this one.
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Paul Anthony Cartledge is the 1st A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge University, having previously held a personal chair in Greek History at Cambridge. He was educated at St Paul's School & New College, Oxford where he took his 1st degree & completed his doctoral thesis in Spartan archaeology in 1975 under Prof. Sir John Boardman. After a period at the University of War ...more