'I cannot tune a harp or play a lyre, but I know how to make a small city great.' Themistocles After almost three thousand years, the brilliant achievements of ancient Athens - the philosophy of Plato, the birth of modern democracy, architecture and theatre - continue to tower over modern culture. Lords of the Sea seeks to write the first modern biography of this extraordinary ancient city from a dramatic new angle - the sea. How did a humble, unremarkable fishing village turn itself into a dazzling democratic empire fuelled by silver, intellect, sheer cunning, sophisticated rowing power, and blood shed during heroic battles, to become the most intrepid free superpower the world has ever known? Lords of the Sea brings together the impressive modern scholarly knowledge of ancient Athens. Its narrative relies on ancient literature (the histories, plays, speeches, poetry, inscriptions), the latest archaeological discoveries (bronze rams, ship houses and docks, naval monuments), first-hand study of every important theatre of war, and insight into a society that was one of the few in history to grant extreme sexual license to free adult males.
Famous names, such as Themistocles, Pericles, Socrates, the treacherous Alcibiades, Thucydides, Sophocles, Euripides, Plato and Aristotle, appear in vividly-drawn portraits as the Athenians themselves would have seen and judged them at the time. The dramatic rise, decline and fall of ancient Athens is much more than a gripping historical tale. Lords of the Sea shows that it is one of the first struggles of everything that makes the human race potentially great.
John R. Hale received his doctorate from Cambridge University, and also studied archaeology at Yale. He was a field archaeologist at the University of Nottingham excavations at Dragonby, before embarking on a distinguished archaeological career that includes extensive underwater searches for ancient warships. He has been featured in documentaries broadcast by The Discovery Channel and The History Channel.