Combat Story (Ep 42): Barry Strauss on Brasidas | Spartan Legend | Commander | Special Ops Pioneer


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Today we have a unique History Edition of Combat Story focused on Sparta. As you know, I’m fascinated by the experiences of warriors in combat and I’ve always wanted to better understand what the combat experience would have been like for veterans from history like the Spartans, Romans, or Mongols.

On this episode, we’ll interview Professor Barry Strauss, an accomplished scholar, historian, and expert on ancient military history. Barry brings to life a very famous Spartan warrior named Brasidas as we dive into his combat story.

Brasidas led warriors into remarkable battles employing conventional tactics but also leveraging special operations and psychological or hybrid warfare with great success. Barry gives us a front row seat of what it was like to grow up and live in this austere, militaristic, and aggressive society we know as Sparta.

We could not have done this without Barry, who is a Professor of History and Classics at Cornell University, Series Editor of Princeton’s Turning Points in Ancient History, author of eight books, and a military and naval historian and consultant.

Professor Strauss is a recognized authority on the subject of leadership and the lessons that can be learned from the experiences of the greatest political and military leaders of the ancient world (Caesar, Hannibal, Alexander among many others).

He has a new book coming out in March 2022 titled The War that Made the Roman Empire: Antony, Cleopatra, and Octavian at Actium.

I hope you enjoy this unique Combat Story and the dive into the world of Sparta as much as I did.

Find Barry Online:

Find Ryan Online:


  • Guest: Dr. Barry Strauss
  • Host: Ryan Fugit
  • Editor: Owen Fugit

​​Show Notes

  • 0:00 - Intro
  • 1:46 - Interview begins
  • 3:50 - Barry’s background
  • 7:18 - Facts and Fiction about Spartans
  • 9:14 - The Greek and Persian Empire
  • 11:23 - Beliefs and Views of Spartans and Athenians
  • 12:20 - The Peloponnesian War
  • 15:57 - Brasidas, Son of Tellis
  • 18:47 - Life of a Spartan
  • 22:52 - The Hoplites and the Phalanx
  • 34:08 - The Spartan Way of War
  • 35:48 - The Athenian’s First Encounter with Brasidas
  • 39:11 - The Defeat of Brasidas
  • 50:58 - Brasidas’ Greatest Coup
  • 56:30 - Siege Warfare
  • 1:02:09 - Psychological Warfare

56 episodi