Dec 19 2014

Persian Fire by Tom Holland

I have read other books on the Greco-Persian wars, but this was the most readable account I have come across, and the rendering of the battle of Thermopylae was the best I have ever read. The courage and resourcefulness of the Greeks is well documented, but the author also gives the Persians their due, arguing that they were by no means the ignoble barbarians that the Greeks and later western historians have regarded them as. Indeed, if one regards the outcome of wars as manifesting the will of God, one might well wonder why God sided with the pagan, homosexual Greeks against the monotheistic, heterosexual Persians. Persia was a great civilization in its own right, and deserves more respect than jingoistic western scholars have afforded it. Nevertheless, the preservation of Greek freedom and autonomy was undoubtedly a boon to the West, one which we still benefit from today. We Westerners are all the heirs of Thermopylae.

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