Jul 18, 2023
Dr John O. Hyland joins Paul and Beatrice to discuss fifth-century BC Persian ruler Xerxes I, whose royal progress took him to the Western boundaries of his empire.
Xerxes I tried to extend his rule beyond the Aegean, which his father had failed to accomplish. For a land power this was a challenge, despite the formidable army that Xerxes commanded. He used two strategic tools – engineering, to construct a pontoon bridge across the Hellespont, and the hire of a navy, to tackle the Athenian fleet. While the latter did not work so well for him at Salamis, Xerxes’ army returned by land.Safely back beyond the Straits, Xerxes portrayed himself as conqueror and enforcer of order on the Greeks.
Dr John O. Hyland is the perfect specialist to talk to us about Xerxes, and also about the theory of a Greek or ‘Western’ Way of War, identified and scorned by Xerxes’ cousin Mardonius, and contrasted with a supposedly more subtle ‘Eastern’ way of war. Dr Hyland holds a PhD on the Ancient Mediterranean World from the University of Chicago and teaches at Christopher Newport University. His next book will explore Persia’s Greek Campaigns.