This book presents a selection of eighteen land battles and sieges that span the Classical Greek period, from the Persian invasions to the eclipse of the traditional hoplite heavy infantry at the hands of the Macedonians. This of course is the golden age of the hoplite phalanx but Owen Rees is keen to cover all aspects of battle, including mercenary armies and the rise of light infantry, emphasising the variety and tactical developments across the period.
Each battle is set in context with a brief background and then the battlefield and opposing forces are discussed before the narrative and analysis of the fighting is given and rounded off with consideration of the aftermath and strategic implications. Written in an accessible narrative tone, a key feature of the book is the author’s choice of battles, which collectively challenge popularly held beliefs such as the invincibility of the Spartans. The text is well supported by dozens of tactical diagrams showing deployments and various phase of the battles.