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Barry Strauss’ Interview with TO VIMA Newspaper

The American College of Greece is proud to present its twentieth annual Kimon Friar lecture, this year featuring acclaimed military historian and classicist Barry Strauss on October 14 at 19:00 the John S. Bailey Library – Upper Level.

Barry Strauss, in his lecture “Cunning and Strength: Leadership Lessons from Themistocles,” will discuss one of the most renowned historical personalities: Athenian politician and General Themistocles – who won the Battle of Salamis for Greece in 480 BC.

On the occasion of the Twentieth Annual Kimon Friar lecture to be delivered tomorrow, Barry Strauss spoke about history, war and politics in an interesting interview with TO VIMA newspaper.

“Themistocles was a great patriot, a genius who had the unbelievable ability to predict the future and to persuade people. He was brave, bold and intelligent. At the same time he was dishonest, self-interested, and ready to cooperate with the enemy. His personality can teach us a lot,” said Dr. Strauss, who has written on the strategic aspect of the Battle of Salamis in his book The Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter That Saved Greece—and Western Civilization (2004).

“Today, we need the practical wisdom of Themistocles, the martial virtue of Alexander the Great and the philosophical ingenuity of Aristotle,” he added, concluding that “war as an object of study and research is fascinating. It reminds us that life is neither easy nor fair.”

A military historian, classicist, and head of history at Cornell University, Barry Strauss’ work has been translated into ten languages. He is also Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies at Cornell.

“My idea of a perfect day is walking an ancient battlefield and listening to the voices of the dead,” the acclaimed historian said, while adding that he became a military historian because he grew up in the shadow of the war of Vietnam while his father and grandfather were both US combat veterans of the World Wars.

Barry Strauss, who has participated in excavation projects both in Greece and Cyprus, also commented on the promising Amphipolis excavation that has received global publicity, saying that “the findings in Amphipolis are exquisite either way, but any proven connection to Alexander the Great may transform a hard excavation project into pure magic.”

The interview was published on Sunday, October 12. To read the full interview (in Greek), please click here.

For more on Barry Strauss, go to

The twentieth annual Kimon Friar lecture by Barry Strauss is organized by the Frances Rich School of Fine and Performing Arts and is open to the public.For more information on the event, please visit our Events Page here.