Challenging Leonidas: Shattering the Myth of Spartan Warrior Supremacy

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Saturday September 25, 2021 12:30pm EST
Myke Cole
Challenging Leonidas: Shattering the Myth of Spartan Warrior Supremacy

The last stand at Thermopylae made the Spartans legends in their own time, famous for their toughness, stoicism and martial prowess. But was this reputation earned? The Spartan hoplite enjoys unquestioned currency as history’s greatest fighting man, but is this simply down to the success of a propaganda machine that began working long before the battle at the Hot Gates? Covering Sparta’s full classical history from the foundation of the city-state through to its final overthrow by Rome in the 1st century BC, author Myke Cole challenges the long-held myths about this ancient Greek society and depicts a very different view of Spartan warfare – one punctuated by frequent and heavy losses. Looking at the major battles, with a special focus on previously under-publicized Spartan reverses that have been left largely unexamined, it reveals why Spartan society became dedicated to militarism, and examines the men who lived under its brutal rule.

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Myke Cole has had a colorful and varied career, with service in war and crisis response with the CIA, the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), and the ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence). He commanded the reserve at US Coast Guard Station New York, where he was responsible for maritime law enforcement and search-and-rescue operations around the island of Manhattan. He went on to work for the NYPD in cyber threat intelligence, and continues that work in the private sector. Most recently he has taken up firefighting in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Myke’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The New Republic, and Foreign Policy. He is the author of Legion versus Phalanx: The Epic Struggle for Infantry Supremacy in the Ancient World and The Bronze Lie Shattering the Myth of Spartan Warrior Supremacy. Myke is also a popular fantasy and science fiction novelist with several major imprints. He appeared on CBS’ hit TV show Hunted, where he joined a team of elite investigators pursuing fugitives across the south-eastern United States, and later starred on Discovery Channel’s Contact alongside fellow Osprey author Dr. Michael Livingston.

(Photo: © Karsten Moran)

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