The Bronze Lie


23 November 2021

The author of Legion versus Phalanx cheerfully tells us he’s not an academic historian, but has taken on this challenge to disprove the myth of Spartan invincibility and its use by the far right as a racist template. With his chatty, informal style it’s easy to get into but it starts to sound like a bloke down the pub propping up the bar at times. To be fair, Cole says at the start that this is his aim and he backs up assertions with copious research and quotes. What is less palatable is the endless denouncing of some random historical fact, which turned out to be no more than a writer’s opinion written 1,000 years later, as part of the Bronze Lie.

Many of these aren’t part of any global Spartan propaganda machine so there are times when it feels like Cole is addressing far right nationalists rather than informing the reader. That said, he is meticulous in combing through the Spartan system, why it was inevitably doomed to failure, in picking apart the military record and showing all the evidence of disastrous campaigns and political corruption.

  • Osprey Publishing
  • ISBN 978-1-4728-4375-3
  • 468 pages. Hardback. £25



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