Lords of the Sea tells the true story behind the upcoming blockbuster 300: Rise of an Empire and explains how the Athenians established the modern world as we know it. 300: Rise of an Empire is the bloody epic based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller. However, the true history behind leading character General Themistocles and the rise of Athens is a story that also deserves to be told: without him and the courageous exploits of his free men, the world as we know it would never have come to be. Lords of the Sea is a wonderful and evocative book looking at the remarkable birth of the first ever modern democracy following a September day in 480 BC in Athens. When the Athenians lured the armada of Persian King Xerxes into the narrow straits at Salamis, their small navy inflicted a crushing defeat that became a key turning point for world history. John R. Hale narrates for the first time how democracy grew from the need for skilled rowers who were free men through the definitive history of these 600 swift and dangerous ships, and the stories of Athens's great leaders, from visionary strategists to seductive rogues, who established Athens' democratic rule and its astonishing supremacy. This is history as thriller-writing, with a cast of colourful characters forming a stirring chronicle in the mould of Rubicon and Persia.
CONTENTS List of Maps and Diagrams xv Preface xvii Introduction xxiii Part One FREEDOM 1 One Man, One Vision [483 B.C.] 3 2 Building the Fleet [483-481 B.C.] 15 3 The Wooden Wall [481-480 B.C.] 29 4 Holding the Pass [Summer, 480 B.C.] 43 5 Salamis [End of Summer, 480 B.C.] 55 Part Two DEMOCRACY 6 A League of Their Own [479-463 B.C.] 77 7 Boundless Ambition [462-446 B.C.] 95 8 Mariners of the Golden Age [Mid-fi fth Century B.C.] 110 VTSU_all_6p.indd xi 3/6/09 1:03:05 PM Part Three EMPIRE 9 The Imperial Navy [446-433 B.C.] 125 10 War and Pestilence [433-430 B.C.] 138 11 Fortune Favors the Brave [430-428 B.C.] 154 12 Masks of Comedy, Masks of Command [428-421 B.C.] 171 13 The Sicilian Expedition [415-413 B.C.] 185 Part Four CATASTROPHE 14 The Rogue's Return [412-407 B.C.] 205 15 Of Heroes and Hemlock [407-406 B.C.] 221 16 Rowing to Hades [405-399 B.C.] 233 Part Five REBIRTH 17 Passing the Torch [397-371 B.C.] 249 18 Triremes of Atlantis [370-354 B.C.] 269 19 The Voice of the Navy [354-339 B.C.] 280 20 In the Shadow of Macedon [339-324 B.C.] 294 21 The Last Battle [324-322 B.C.] 311 Chronology 319 Glossary 333 Note on Sources 341 Acknowledgments 375 Index 379