Ancient Greece first coined the concept of democracy, yet almost every major ancient Greek thinker - from Plato and Aristotle onward - was ambivalent toward or even hostile to democracy in any form. The explanation for this is quite simple: The elite perceived majority power as tantamount to a dictatorship of the proletariat. In ancient Greece, there can be traced not only the rudiments of modern democratic society but the entire Western tradition of antidemocratic thought.
The Spartans of ancient Greece were a powerful and unique people, radically different from any civilization before or since. A society of warrior-heroes, they were living exemplars of self-sacrifice, community endeavor, and achievement against all odds, qualities that today signify the ultimate in heroism. Scholars even believe that Thomas More had Sparta specifically in mind when he coined the term "Utopia".
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Paul Cartledge, one of the world's foremost scholars of ancient Greece, illuminates the brief but iconic life of Alexander (356-323 B.C.), king of Macedon, conqueror of the Persian Empire, and founder of a new world order. Alexander's legacy has had a major impact on military tacticians, scholars, statesmen, adventurers, authors, and filmmakers.
"Interesting World History."
In 480 B.C., a huge Persian army, led by the inimitable King Xerxes, entered the mountain pass of Thermopylae to march on Greece, intending to conquer the land with little difficulty. But the Greeks, led by King Leonidas and a small army of Spartans, took the battle to the Persians at Thermopylae and halted their advance: almost. It is one of history's most acclaimed battles, one of civilization's greatest last stands.
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