Best Spartan Generals Poll

Best Spartan Generals


  • Total voters
    79
Apr 2017
5
Chicago
Lysander was a great "politician" and a superb navarch, but his lack of land battle victories should ot allow him to be alone at the top. Please review in depth the Cleomenean War. With nothing such as his forbears had at their disposal, Cleomenes III reaorganized the extinct Spartan military, reinstituted the disciplines of the past, and equipped them in the modern fashion. Afterwards, with the changes in place, Cleomenes III dismantled the Achaean League, crushing three Achaean armies, eliminating garrisons from multiple cities and towns, ravaging the countryside, and siezing Corinth and Argos. Only when Aratus betrayed his own people by inviting the Macedonians into the Peloponnese, was Cleomenes III defeated by a combined Achaean-Macedonian force.

Cleomenes III is most definately one of the best commanders ever produced by the city. Agesilaos II's ability to break with te Spartan norm puts him just a gnat's hair behind him. However, for this poll I will chose Cleomenes III for his vision and success, and Lysander for his taking his people to the next level in the Great War. If Cleomenes III would have been able to win at Sellasia, he would have been the undisputed ruler of this poll.
Although I agree with you almost completely, He died a dishonorable death. And he was facing much weaker forces than what Sparta faced during the Peloponnesian War.
 

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,503
here
That is because you are a highly evolved and intelligent man. :cool:

Cleomenes III is one of two kings, Agis IV being the other, that is often considered to be the Spartan "Gracchi"...some really interesting reading.
I'm sure it is. But I have to say, I've never read anything about the Spartans that wasn't terribly dry. I can't say I've read that many books about them, but the ones that I have read, Paul Cartledge I think, were really boring.

Any recommendations for some readable and entering Spartan books/authors?
 
Jul 2013
300
Scotland
Here as some excellent spartan books I have read:

Miltiadis Michalopoulos
In the Name of Lykourgos: The Rise and Fall of the Spartan Revolutionary Movement (243-146BC)

Charles D. Hamilton
Agesilaus and the Failure of Spartan Hegemony

Charles D. Hamilton
Sparta's Bitter Victories: Politics and Diplomacy in the Corinthian War

John Carr
Sparta's Kings

Godfrey Hutchinson
Sparta - Unfit for Empire

Mike Roberts
Two Deaths at Amphipolis: Cleon vs Brasidas in the Peloponnesian War

Donald kagan and four books on the Peloponnesian war: outbreak of the war, the archidamian war, the peace of nicias and the Sicilian expedition and the fall of the Athenian empire

William J. Woodhouse
King Agis of Sparta and His Campaign in Arkadia in 418 B.C.


Dr Scott M. Rusch
Sparta at War: Strategy, Tactics and Campaigns
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,975
Republika Srpska
Lysander is the best for me. He managed to bring the Peloponnesian War to an end and he secured Spartan hegemony. He actually won his most famous battle, unlike Leonidas.
 
Mar 2017
176
UK
Although I agree with you almost completely, He died a dishonorable death. And he was facing much weaker forces than what Sparta faced during the Peloponnesian War.
I don't know if I would call Lysander's death dishonourable. The dishonour was on Pausanias for abandoning Lysander at Haliartus; that is why Pausanias was condemned to death and forced into exile. Lysander made some pretty basic mistakes at Haliartus, of course, but I would not say he died dishonourably.
 
Last edited:

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,503
here
Here as some excellent spartan books I have read:

Miltiadis Michalopoulos
In the Name of Lykourgos: The Rise and Fall of the Spartan Revolutionary Movement (243-146BC)

Charles D. Hamilton
Agesilaus and the Failure of Spartan Hegemony

Charles D. Hamilton
Sparta's Bitter Victories: Politics and Diplomacy in the Corinthian War

John Carr
Sparta's Kings

Godfrey Hutchinson
Sparta - Unfit for Empire

Mike Roberts
Two Deaths at Amphipolis: Cleon vs Brasidas in the Peloponnesian War

Donald kagan and four books on the Peloponnesian war: outbreak of the war, the archidamian war, the peace of nicias and the Sicilian expedition and the fall of the Athenian empire

William J. Woodhouse
King Agis of Sparta and His Campaign in Arkadia in 418 B.C.


Dr Scott M. Rusch
Sparta at War: Strategy, Tactics and Campaigns
Thanks.
 
Apr 2017
5
Chicago
I don't know if I would call Lysander's death dishonourable. The dishonour was on Pausanias for abandoning Lysander at Haliartus; that is why Pausanias was condemned to death and forced into exile. Lysander made some pretty basic mistakes at Haliartus, of course, but I would not say he died dishonourably.
I might have quoted the wrong entry. I was referring to Cleomenes III. Not Lysander. Lysander died a very honorable death. At least in Spartan terms. Lysander was definitely one of Sparta's best leaders. If not the best and most important.
 
Mar 2017
176
UK
I might have quoted the wrong entry. I was referring to Cleomenes III. Not Lysander. Lysander died a very honorable death. At least in Spartan terms. Lysander was definitely one of Sparta's best leaders. If not the best and most important.
His death was still quite stupid, though, even if it wasn't dishonourable. Yet, it's exactly what I imagine a proper Spartan death to be. Grumpy and arrogant. He couldn't be bothered to wait for Pausanias, beginning his assault almost just to punish his co-commander, and then marched his men right against the walls of Haliartus as though the walls should give way for men as great as those of Sparta.

Maybe land warfare wasn't his forte.
 
Mar 2017
176
UK
Also, did Leonidas ever actually win a battle that we know of? Or was his only known contribution a single defensive effort and then hopeless last stand? If Thermopylae was all he did, then I hardly think he could ever be considered one of Sparta's greatest generals, despite the tremendous sacrifice he gave.