Book Review: The Tyrants of Syracuse: War in Ancient Sicily, Vol. II, 367-211 BC


by Jeffrey Champion

Barnsley, S. York.: Pen & Sword / Havertown, Pa.: Casemate, 2012. Pp. xx, 250. Illus., maps, diagr., notes, biblio., index. $39.95. ISBN: 1848843674

Less famous now than many other ancient cities, during the “Golden Age” Syracuse was the largest, richest, and for several centuries arguably the most powerful of all Greece city-states.  In The Tyrants of Syracuse Chapman, an independent scholar who has written extensively on ancient military history, gives us a lively look at the city and its string of “ tyrannoi ,” a word only poorly translated as “tyrants.”  This is a story so rich it takes two volumes to tell.

In this volume, Chapman takes up the tale of Syracuse from the death of the great "tyrant" Dionysius in 367 BC, through the reign of his less able son, and the years which followed, including brutal internal struggles for power  between aristocrats and democrats, the rise of Macedon, the age of the Successors of Alexander, the Romano-Carthaginian wars, through the incorporation of Syracuse into the Roman state.

The Tyrants of Syracuse is a must read for anyone interested in ancient history.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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