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Timeline: the Spartans

Traditional foundation date for Olympic Games c.776 BC Homer’s epics The Iliad and The Odyssey composed c.750 BC Sparta conquers Messenia c.700 BC Messenian Revolt followed by Spartan Reconquest c.650 BC At this time, radical changes took place in Sparta, with a new constitution (the Laws of Lykourgos), the development…

Epaminondas: the man who destroyed Sparta

The Spartans are so famous that their name has become part of the language. But the name of the military genius who broke their power – and whose example inspired Philip of Macedon and Alexander the Great – is hardly remembered at all. This is the story of Epaminondas and…

Isandlwana, 1879: Humbling the Great White Queen

‘I can’t understand it!’ That was British commander Lord Chelmsford’s response. Isandlwana was perhaps the greatest defeat inflicted on British redcoats by native warriors in imperial history. Zulu War expert Ian Knight, who has published a major new study, tackles the key question: what went wrong for the British at…

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