Ancient History & Civilisation

Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West

Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West

In the fifth century B.C., a global superpower was determined to bring truth and order to what it regarded as two terrorist states. The superpower was Persia, incomparably rich in ambition, gold, and men. The terrorist states were Athens and Sparta, eccentric cities in a poor and mountainous backwater: Greece. The story of how their citizens took on the Great King of Persia, and thereby saved not only themselves but Western civilization as well, is as heart-stopping and fateful as any episode in history. Tom Holland’s brilliant study of these critical Persian Wars skillfully examines a conflict of critical importance to both ancient and modern history.

Acknowledgments

Preface

Chapter I: THE KHORASAN HIGHWAY

Woe to the Bloody City

King of the World

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Double Vision

Chapter II: BABYLON

Stairway to Heaven

The End of History

Chapter III: SPARTA

“Who Are the Spartans?”

Slaves of the Law

Ancestral Voices

Chapter IV: ATHENS

Earth-Born

I Capture the Acropolis

Drama out of a Crisis

Power to the People

Chapter V: SINGEING THE KING OF PERSIA’S BEARD

The Great Game

A Low, Dishonest Decade

The Road to Marathon

That Greece Might Still Be Free

Chapter VI: THE GATHERING STORM

Weeds in Paradise

Clearing the Decks

The Rape of Europa

Drawing a Line

Chapter VII: AT BAY

Epic Preparations

The Storm Breaks

King’s Dinners and Spartan Breakfasts

Ghost Town

Chapter VIII: NEMESIS

Sucker Punch

So Near, So Far

The Dorian Spear

Hubris

Timeline - Envoi

Notes