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Review: “Lion”

Conn Iggulden

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


The book “The Lion” by Conn Iggulden is a historical novel from the new “Golden Age” series, the action of which takes place in ancient Greece in the 5th century BCE. and depicts the turbulent times of competition between Greek cities and the approaching Persian threat. The book was published by REBIS publishing house.

Conn Iggulden is a world-famous British writer of historical novels from various times and places around the world. This time, the author took as his backdrop one of the most interesting times in the history of ancient Greece – the 5th century BCE, when Greek cities faced a threat from the east – the Persian army of King Xerxes – and gained the upper hand. A breakthrough moment was the establishment of the League of the Hellenes by Greek cities in 481 BCE. and defeating the Persian fleet at Salamis a year later. This event motivated the Greeks to continue fighting and finally defeat the threat. As it turned out, the common enemy allowed the conflicting Greek cities to cooperate and put aside their quarrels.

Kimon and Pericles, later outstanding statesmen of Athens, fight in the Greek army and compete with each other. During the fights, they gain, among others: the island of Cyprus or are fighting on Persian soil. The author of the book focuses primarily on Kimo, who, as an older and more mature man than Pericles, is building his reputation on the political scene of Athens.
In addition to presenting the battles and the complicated political scene of Athens, the author describes in a very interesting way the theater, the festival of Dionysus and the social life of those times.

The advantages of the book include a very nice cover, clear font, an overview map of Greece and a historical note in which the author refers to the times described and presents his inventions. On the downside, no dates given; It’s hard to find your way around the events in question.

To sum up, the book is a very interesting proposition for enthusiasts of ancient Greece. We are given an exuberant story about the turbulent period of the 5th century BCE, when Greece must stop the Persian threat, and Kimon, as the “Lion”, becomes the leading figure of Athens. As it turns out, however, a common threat is the only factor that unites Greek cities; Gradually, the conflict of interests between Athens and Sparta becomes more and more visible.

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