Persian Fire (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
In his preface to Persian Fire, Tom Holland notes that though the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, seemed almost unbelievable to Americans and Europeans, the animosity between East and West had its roots in ancient history. Long before Christ or Muhammad, the Greek historian Herodotus had speculated on the source of the enmity between East and West that had convulsed the civilized world for a century, ending only forty years before he began writing his history. Could it, he wondered, have had its roots in the Trojan War almost eight hundred years before? Or was its origin shrouded in some forgotten event or myth? Although, like Herodotus, Holland finds himself unable to account for the determination of the East to subdue the West, in Persian Fire he shows how close the East came to succeeding and makes it clear that the outcome was crucial in human history. By winning the battle of Marathon, the Greeks made it possible for nations to live in freedom and for their people to govern themselves.
Although the time line in Persian Fire begins with the approximate date of the Trojan War and includes references to the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonians, and the Medes, such events and civilizations, for Holland, were merely prologue. The Persian Empire began in 559 b.c.e. with the accession of Cyrus II to the throne of an obscure country called Persia. The following year, Cyrus...
(The entire section is 1679 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
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