seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy

Tides of War - Politics in Athens

Seeing as how I absolutely loved Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield, I finally got around to reading Tides of War. Whereas Gates of Fire dealt with the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae (prior to the comic book movie making the 300 iconic among the masses), this book traces the rise and fall of Alcibiades, Athens, and the Pelopennesian War. But really it is about the politics of Athens and it is fascinating.

Tides of War is certainly heavier and a slower read than Gates, but as someone who knows very little of Ancient Athens, I found it fascinating even as I knew I could not understand all of it given my ignorance. But passages like this made me all the more interested... in it Gylippus is a Spartan sent to Syracuse to break the Athenian siege.

To raise revenue, Gylippus employed the following statagem. Fearing the direct levy might turn the aristocratic element against him, he induced the Assembly instead to require each citizen to come forward on a specific day and render a public accounting of his wealth. Now each could behold with his own eyes the extent of treasure his fellows had hoarded. At once the privileged felt shame not to have contributed more, while the humble who had served with honor were esteemed as better than the rich. Contributions flooded in. The cavalry grew flush with mounts, while the vaults overflowed with treasure.