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Extended Audio Sample Thermopylae: The Battle That Changed the World, by Paul Cartledge Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (293 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Paul Cartledge Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In 480 BC, a vast Persian army, led by the inimitable King Xerxes, entered the mountain pass of Thermopylae to march on Greece, intending to conquer the land with little difficulty. But the Greeks, led by King Leonidas and a small army of Spartans, took the battle to the Persians at Thermopylae and halted their advance—almost. It is one of history’s most acclaimed battles, and one of civilization’s greatest last stands.

Renowned classical historian Paul Cartledge looks anew at this history-altering moment and shows how its repercussions affect us even today. The invasion of Europe by Xerxes and his army redefined culture, kingdom, and class. The valiant efforts of the Greek warriors, the legendary 300 facing a huge onrushing Persian army at the narrow pass at Thermopylae, changed the way future generations would think about combat, courage, and death.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Impeccable...Enthralling...Vividly reconstructs [the Spartans’] finest hour.” 

    Independent (London)

  • “Briskly written...Offers a fresh look at the battle and the complex events leading up to it.”


  • “As this beautifully written and stirring saga asserts, the history of Western civilization would almost certainly have been fundamentally different had the Persians prevailed…Cartledge’s account has a special urgency and poignancy. An outstanding retelling of one of the seminal events in world history.”


  • “A masterful account of the causes, preparations for and consequences of the three-day battle in 480 BC...A class in Western civilization that both instructs and entertains.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Max | 2/6/2014

    " While the unabashedly eurocentric of introduction put me off, this book is turning out to be much more wide reaching and nuanced. Cartledge spends a good half of the book exploring the battle of Thermoplylae and the Spartans in literature, myth, and intellectual tradition. The style is 'informal academic' with occasional flights of outrageuousness, as in: "To him we owe a travelogue of 1447 that outdoes even the second-century Pausanias the Periegete's jeremiad over the lamentable present and his recherche of a much better temps that had been perdu." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Theresa | 1/30/2014

    " Excellent book, very well written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Squire | 1/29/2014

    " Have reada few of his books he can tend to be a bit dry, but this was probably his best book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Erica | 1/28/2014

    " Very interesting from the perspective of someone who knows little ancient history, but the author couldn't figure out if he was writing for an academic or a general audience. "

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