Sparta's Second Attic War

The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta, 446-418 B.C.

Paul A. Rahe

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The latest volume in Paul Rahe’s expansive history of Sparta’s response to the challenges posed to its grand strategy

In a continuation of his multivolume series on ancient Sparta, Paul Rahe narrates the second stage in the six-decades-long, epic struggle between Sparta and Athens that first erupted some seventeen years after their joint victory in the Persian Wars. Rahe explores how and why open warfare between these two erstwhile allies broke out a second time, after they had negotiated an extended truce. He traces the course of the war that then took place, he examines and assesses the strategy each community pursued and the tactics adopted, and he explains how and why mutual exhaustion forced on these two powers yet another truce doomed to fail. At stake for each of the two peoples caught up in this enduring strategic rivalry, as Rahe shows, was nothing less than the survival of its political regime and of the peculiar way of life to which that regime gave rise.

Paul A. Rahe studied ancient history at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, then later at Yale. He holds the Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in the Western Heritage at Hillsdale College, where he is professor of history.

“Paul Rahe stands out as one of the world’s leading scholars on the Peloponnesian War. His latest volume on Sparta’s protracted struggle with Athens, Sparta’s Second Attic War, provides insight into enduring problems of politics and strategy in wartime, into why and how peoples fight, both in the ancient world and in our own troubled times.”—John H. Maurer, Naval War College

“The West’s victory in the Cold War may not have been the equal of the early 5th century Greek victory over the Persians. But, as Paul Rahe’s Sparta’s Second Attic War explains in elegantly crafted language, the notion of resolving global-sized confrontations is a modern conceit. Based on an understanding that equals that of any contemporary strategic thinker, Rahe examines the upheavals in the Hellenic world that followed Persia’s defeat, the roots of dissension in the geography of Sparta and Athens, and the influence of domestic policy on the contestants’ diplomatic and military maneuvers.”—Seth Cropsey, former deputy Undersecretary of the Navy

“The book succeeds marvelously as a tale of this time. No lover of the Greeks would want to miss this gripping tale, told by someone with keen political sensibilities and a vivid imagination for what is possible. The book also succeeds marvelously as a reintroduction to the portrait of grand strategy so central to the ancient view of political science. . . . Rahe’s approach to grand strategy provides an indispensable preparation for political philosophy. The books are fun reads and grist for deep political reflection.”—Scott Yenor, Boise State University, Interpretation
 
ISBN: 9780300242621
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
408 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
30 b/w illus.
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