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About Barry Strauss
Strauss grew up in and around New York City. He received bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in history from Cornell and Yale. He has lived and studied in Greece, Germany, and Israel and has traveled extensively in Italy, Turkey, Croatia, Cyprus, Jordan, Tunisia, and other countries with classical sites; he has also taken part in archaeological excavations. He speaks and reads seven foreign languages.
Aside from a brief stint as a newspaper reporter, he has made his career as a college teacher. Back at Cornell, he is Professor of History and Classics and Chair of the Department of History. A former director of Cornell's Peace Studies Program, he is currently director as a well a founder of its Program on Freedom and Free Societies. He considers himself the luckiest person alive to be able to spend his time reading, writing, and teaching.
His website is www.barrystrauss.com. He blogs at http://bstrauss.wordpress.com/.
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In this essential and “enlightening” (The New York Times Book Review) work, Barry Strauss tells the story of the Roman Empire from rise to reinvention, from Augustus, who founded the empire, to Constantine, who made it Christian and moved the capital east to Constantinople.
During these centuries Rome gained in splendor and territory, then lost both. By the fourth century, the time of Constantine, the Roman Empire had changed so dramatically in geography, ethnicity, religion, and culture that it would have been virtually unrecognizable to Augustus. Rome’s legacy remains today in so many ways, from language, law, and architecture to the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. Strauss examines this enduring heritage through the lives of the men who shaped it: Augustus, Tiberius, Nero, Vespasian, Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Septimius Severus, Diocletian, and Constantine. Over the ages, they learned to maintain the family business—the government of an empire—by adapting when necessary and always persevering no matter the cost.
Ten Caesars is a “captivating narrative that breathes new life into a host of transformative figures” (Publishers Weekly). This “superb summation of four centuries of Roman history, a masterpiece of compression, confirms Barry Strauss as the foremost academic classicist writing for the general reader today” (The Wall Street Journal).
For many years it was thought that Troy was an insignificant place that never had a chance against the Greek warriors who laid siege and overwhelmed the city. In the old view, the conflict was decided by duels between champions on the plain of Troy. Today we know that Troy was indeed a large and prosperous city, just as Homer said. The Trojans themselves were not Greeks but vassals of the powerful Hittite Empire to the east in modern-day Turkey, and they probably spoke a Hittite-related language called Luwian. The Trojan War was most likely the culmination of a long feud over power, wealth, and honor in western Turkey and the offshore islands. The war itself was mainly a low-intensity conflict, a series of raids on neighboring towns and lands. It seems unlikely that there was ever a siege of Troy; rather some sort of trick -- perhaps involving a wooden horse -- allowed the Greeks to take the city.
Strauss shows us where Homer nods, and sometimes exaggerates and distorts, as well. He puts the Trojan War into the context of its time, explaining the strategies and tactics that both sides used, and compares the war to contemporary battles elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean. With his vivid reconstructions of the conflict and his insights into the famous characters and events of Homer's great epic, Strauss masterfully tells the story of the fall of Troy as history without losing the poetry and grandeur that continue to draw readers to this ancient tale.
Julius Caesar was stabbed to death in the Roman Senate on March 15, 44 BC—the Ides of March according to the Roman calendar. He was, says author Barry Strauss, the last casualty of one civil war and the first casualty of the next civil war, which would end the Roman Republic and inaugurate the Roman Empire. “The Death of Caesar provides a fresh look at a well-trodden event, with superb storytelling sure to inspire awe” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
Why was Caesar killed? For political reasons, mainly. The conspirators wanted to return Rome to the days when the Senate ruled, but Caesar hoped to pass along his new powers to his family, especially Octavian. The principal plotters were Brutus, Cassius (both former allies of Pompey), and Decimus. The last was a leading general and close friend of Caesar’s who felt betrayed by the great man: He was the mole in Caesar’s camp. But after the assassination everything went wrong. The killers left the body in the Senate and Caesar’s allies held a public funeral. Mark Antony made a brilliant speech—not “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” as Shakespeare had it, but something inflammatory that caused a riot. The conspirators fled Rome. Brutus and Cassius raised an army in Greece but Antony and Octavian defeated them.
An original, new perspective on an event that seems well known, The Death of Caesar is “one of the most riveting hour-by-hour accounts of Caesar’s final day I have read....An absolutely marvelous read” (The Times, London).
Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar—each was a master of war. Each had to look beyond the battlefield to decide whom to fight, when, and why; to know what victory was and when to end the war; to determine how to bring stability to the lands he conquered. Each general had to be a battlefield tactician and more: a statesman, a strategist, a leader.
Tactics change, weapons change, but war itself remains much the same throughout the centuries, and a great warrior must know how to define success. Understanding where each of these three great (but flawed) commanders succeeded and failed can serve anyone who wants to think strategically or has to demonstrate leadership. In Masters of Command, Barry Strauss explains the qualities these great generals shared, the keys to their success, from ambition and judgment to leadership itself.
The result of years of research, Masters of Command is based on surviving written documents and archeological evidence as well as the author’s travels in Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, and Tunisia in the footsteps of Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar.
In this dramatic new narrative account, historian and classicist Barry Strauss brings this landmark battle to life. He introduces us to the unforgettable characters whose decisions altered history: Themistocles, Athens' great leader (and admiral of its fleet), who devised the ingenious strategy that effectively destroyed the Persian navy in one day; Xerxes, the Persian king who fought bravely but who ultimately did not understand the sea; Aeschylus, the playwright who served in the battle and later wrote about it; and Artemisia, the only woman commander known from antiquity, who turned defeat into personal triumph. Filled with the sights, sounds, and scent of battle, The Battle of Salamis is a stirring work of history.
The Spartacus War is the extraordinary story of the most famous slave rebellion in the ancient world, the fascinating true story behind a legend that has been the inspiration for novelists, filmmakers, and revolutionaries for 2,000 years. Starting with only seventy-four men, a gladiator named Spartacus incited a rebellion that threatened Rome itself. With his fellow gladiators, Spartacus built an army of 60,000 soldiers and controlled the southern Italian countryside. A charismatic leader, he used religion to win support. An ex-soldier in the Roman army, Spartacus excelled in combat. He defeated nine Roman armies and kept Rome at bay for two years before he was defeated. After his final battle, 6,000 of his followers were captured and crucified along Rome's main southern highway.
The Spartacus War is the dramatic and factual account of one of history's great rebellions. Spartacus was beaten by a Roman general, Crassus, who had learned how to defeat an insurgency. But the rebels were partly to blame for their failure. Their army was large and often undisciplined; the many ethnic groups within it frequently quarreled over leadership. No single leader, not even Spartacus, could keep them all in line. And when faced with a choice between escaping to freedom and looting, the rebels chose wealth over liberty, risking an eventual confrontation with Rome's most powerful forces.
The result of years of research, The Spartacus War is based not only on written documents but also on archaeological evidence, historical reconstruction, and the author's extensive travels in the Italian countryside that Spartacus once conquered.
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Ist der Diktator auf Lebenszeit nur wenige Schritte davon entfernt, die Monarchie einzuführen? Um Caesars engste Vertraute bildet sich eine große Gruppe an Senatoren, die fürchtet, dass er die Republik nicht nur umgestalten, sondern abschaffen will. Barry Strauss präsentiert die Charaktere, die am Attentat beteiligt waren - Strippenzieher, falsche Freunde und alte Feinde.
Meisterhaft gewährt uns Strauss in seinem Buch Einblick in die Geschichte der späten Republik. Wie in einem Krimi beschreibt er, was sich an jenem schicksalhaften Tag zutrug.
Barry Strauss mette a confronto i capi militari più importanti e più grandi dell'antichità. Il migliore fu Annibale, il generale cartaginese, un condottiero formidabile, superiore persino ad Alessandro e a Cesare. Di lui si può dire che fu l'eroe delle cause perdute e delle battaglie perfette. Ha scritto Winston Churchill: «Quelli che sanno vincere una guerra, raramente sanno stabilire una buona pace, e quelli che hanno saputo fare una buona pace, non avrebbero mai vinto la guerra». Annibale avrebbe potuto essere l'unica eccezione della storia. Paolo Mieli, "Corriere della Sera"
Strauss si concentra sull'elemento biografico e psicologico dei tre condottieri. Non mancano lunghe digressioni di pura strategia militare, come la magistrale descrizione della battaglia di Canne, la più grande battaglia terrestre dell'antichità. "Il Foglio"
Dal confronto di Alessandro, Annibale e Cesare emergono le 10 qualità necessarie per essere un comandante di successo. Questi giganti della classicità si mostrano come straordinari strateghi a tutto campo, eterni esempi. "BBC History"