A Naval History of the Peloponnesian War

Ships, Men and Money in the War at Sea, 431-404 BC

Marc G de Santis

Date Published :
January 2018
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
Approx 10 b/w maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781473861589
Pages : 280
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Naval power played a vital role in the Peloponnesian War. The conflict pitted Athens against a powerful coalition including the preeminent land power of the day, Sparta. Only Athens’ superior fleet, her ‘wooden walls’, by protecting her vital supply routes allowed her to survive. It also allowed the strategic freedom of movement to strike back where she chose, most famously at Sphacteria, where a Spartan force was cut off and forced to surrender.

Athens’ initial tactical superiority was demonstrated at the Battle of Chalcis, where her ships literally ran rings round the opposition but this gap closed as her enemies adapted. The great amphibious expedition to Sicily was a watershed, a strategic blunder compounded by tactical errors which brought defeat and irreplaceable losses. Although Athens continued to win victories at sea, at Arginusae for example, her naval strength had been severely weakened while the Spartans built up their fleets with Persian subsidies. It was another naval defeat, at Aegispotomi (405 BC) that finally sealed Athens’ fate. Marc De Santis narrates these stirring events while analyzing the technical, tactical and strategic aspects of the war at sea.

About The Author

Marc De Santis is an associate editor with Military History Quarterly, a prominent US military history magazine. He is the author of a number of articles on aspects of military history for specialist military magazines, including Military Heritage and Ancient Warfare Online. He has also written a fantasy novel.


“This book is filled with everything a history lover would like to know about the era. From its in depth delving into the monetary cost and upkeep of the navies, to the actual tactics used by both sides during the war, it is all here… This was a well written and fascinating book on ancient warfare.”

- A Wargamers Needful Things

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