Barry Stuart Strauss

Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies


Barry Strauss is a classicist and a military and naval historian and consultant. In addition to teaching at Cornell, he is also the Corliss Page Dean Fellow at the Hoover Institution. As the Series Editor of Princeton's Turning Points in Ancient History and author of nine books on ancient History, 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 is a former Chair of Cornell's Department of History as well as a former Director of Cornell’s Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, where he studied modern engagements from Bosnia to Iraq and from Afghanistan to Europe. He also served as Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is an expert on military strategy. He is currently director as well as a founder of Cornell’s Program on Freedom and Free Societies, which investigates challenges to constitutional liberty at home and abroad.  He holds fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Korea Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the American Academy in Rome, among others and is the recipient of Cornell’s Clark (now Russell) Award for Excellence in Teaching. In recognition of his scholarship, he received he received the Lucio Colletti Journalism Prize for literature and he was named an Honorary Citizen of Salamis, Greece.

His Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter That Saved Greece—and Western Civilization was named one of the best books of 2004 by the Washington Post. His Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar and the Genius of Leadership was named one of the best books of 2012 by Bloomberg. His The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination, (Simon & Schuster, March 2015) has been hailed as “clear and compelling” by TIME, “brilliant” by the Wall Street Journal, “engrossing, exhaustive yet surprisingly easy to read” by Barrons, and “an absolutely marvelous read” by The Times of London.

His bestselling Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustine to Constantine (Simon & Schuster, March 2019) was called "an exceptionally accessible history of the Roman Empire ... much of Ten Caesars reads like a script for Games of Thrones (Wall Street Journal), "enlightening," (New York Times), "an excellent and eminently readable introduction," (New Criterion), "a history page-turner which brings to life Rome's rulers," (National Geographic), and "a captivating narrative," (Publisher's Weekly). The book was named to five best book lists of the year.

Strauss's books have been translated into nineteen languages. Strauss is also author of over 60 scholarly articles and reviews.

Strauss is a well-known television personality with appearances on The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, CNN, PBS, and Netflix. He is host of the popular podcast, "ANTIQUITAS: Leaders and Legends of the Ancient World," or on most platforms.

In March 2022 he will publish his latest book, The War that Made the Roman Empire: Antony, Cleopatra, and Octavian at Actium (Simon & Schuster).

Research Focus

  • Ancient Greek and Roman History
  • Military History



  • 2022: The War that Made the Roman Empire: Antony, Cleopatra, and Octavian at Actium (Simon & Schuster).
  • 2021: Troya Savasi (Istanbul: Kronik - Turkish translation of The Trojan War

    Von Augustus tot Constantin (Utrecht: Omniboek - Dutch translation of Ten Caesars)

    Dez Césares (Lisbon: Bertrand Editora - Portuguese translation of Ten Caesars)

  • 2020: Imperatori (Rome: Laterza - Italian translation of Ten Caesars)

     The Trojan War (Social Science Academic Press - Chinese edition)

  • 2013:  Western Civilization: Beyond Boundaries, co-author (Cengage). Seventh Edition, previous editions, 1994-2009.

    L’arte del Comando: Alessandro, Annibale, Cesare. (Rome-Bari: Editori Laterza). [Italian translation of Masters of Command.]

    Tarihe Yön Veren Büyük Komutanlar (Istanbul: Say Yayinlari). [Turkish translation of Masters of Command.]

  • 2010: The Spartacus War. Paperback editions published by Simon & Schuster, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (UK edition). 

    Spartacus [French translation]. Paris: l’école des loisirs. 

    La Guerra de Espartaco [Spanish translation]. Barcelona: edhasa.

    The Trojan War: A New History [Korean translation]. Seoul: Puriwa Ipari Publishing Company.

  • 2009: The Spartacus War. Simon & Schuster, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (UK edition).
    Named one of the best books of the year by Books & Culture.

    La Guerra di Spartaco. [Italian translation] Roma-Bari: Laterza.

    Audiobook of The Spartacus War available on

  • 2006:  The Trojan War, A New History, Simon & Schuster, USA, paperback edition 2007.

    La Batalla de Salamina [Spanish translation]. Barcelona: Edhasa.

    Saramas Haejan [Korean translation of the Battle of Salamis]. Seoul: Galapagos.

  • 2005: The Battle of Salamis, Paperback edition (Simon & Schuster, USA); Arrow Books/Random House, UK (title: Salamis: The Greatest Naval Battle of the Ancient World, 480 BC).

    I Nafmakhia tis Salaminas [Greek translation]. Athens: Livani Publishing, Organization. 

    La forza e l’astuzia [Italian translation of the Battle of Salamis]. Rome-Bari:Laterza.

  • 2001:  War and Democracy: A Comparative Study of the Korean War and the Peloponnesian War. Co-edited with David McCann. (M.E. Sharpe).
  • 1993:  Fathers and Sons in Athens.  Ideology and Society in the Era of the Pelopon­nesian War (Princeton University Press and Routledge).  Paperback edition (Princeton University Press, 1997).
  • 1991:   Hegemonic Rivalry from Thucydides to the Nuclear Age, co-editor (Westview Press).
  • 1990:  The Anatomy of Error: The Lessons of Ancient Military Disasters for Modern Strategists, co-author (St. Martin’s Press).  Paperback edition, 1992        
  • 1987:  Athens After the Peloponnesian War: Class, Faction and Policy 403-386 B.C. (Cornell University Press and Croom Helm Ltd.).


  • 2014:  Spartaco! (Laterza), a children’s book based on my The Spartacus War.

Articles and Chapters

  • 2013: “The Classical Greek Polis and Its Government,” in Hans Beck, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Classical Greek Government (Oxford: Blackwell), 22-37.

    “The Antiwar Museum that Wasn’t: Alesia and the Contradictions of the European Heart,” on City Journal, 17 June. 

  • 2012: “Three Giant Warriors in Ancient Anatolia: Perfect leadership lessons from immortal commanders.” NTV Tarih (August) [in Turkish].
  • 2011: “Trojan War: The Myth of Helen and the Anatolian Reality,” NTV Tarih (July) [in Turkish].
  • 2010: “A New Spartacus,” in Chronicle Review (Chronicle of Higher Education), January 29, 2010, B12-13.

    “Slave Wars of Greece and Rome,” in Victor Davis Hanson, ed., Makers of Ancient Strategy, From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome. Princeton University Press, 185-205.

    “Anatolian Crossroads,” The New Criterion (October 2010), 30-34.

  • 2009: “Sparta’s Maritime Moment,” in Andrew S. Erickson, Lyle J. Goldstein, and Carnes Lord, eds., China Goes to Sea: Maritime Transformation in Comparative Historical Perspective. Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 33-62.

    “Athens as Hamlet: The Irresolute Empire,” in David Edward Tabachnik and Toivo Koivukoski, eds., Enduring Empire: Ancient Lessons for Global Politics. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 215-226.

  • 2008: “Military Education: Models from Antiquity,” Academic Questions 21: 52-61.
  • 2007: “Achilles: Bronze Age Warrior,” MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 20.1 (Autumn 2007): 18-31.

    “Chapter 4: Combat: (b) Naval Battle and Sieges,” in P. Sabin, H. van Wees, and M. Whitby, eds. The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare. Volume I: Greece, the Hellenistic World, and the Rise of Rome. Cambridge University Press: 2007, 223-247.

  • 2006: “The Resilient West: Salamis without Themistocles, Classical Greece without Salamis, and the West without Greece,” in P.E. Tetlock, R.N. Lebow, and G. Parker, eds. Unmaking the West: Counterfactual Thought Experiments in History (University of Michigan Press), 90-118.
  • “Why Troy is Still Burning,” Historically Speaking, The Bulletin of the Historical Society. Volume VII/Number 6 (September/October, 2006).
  • “The Black Phalanx: African-Americans and the Classics After the Civil War,” Arion 12.3 (Winter 2005): 39-64.
  • “The Agony of War Under Oars,” Naval History 19.1 (February 2005): 39-42.
  • “The Scholar and Teacher,” Humanities, The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities 26.3 (May/June 2005): 8-13.
  • “The Rebirth of Narrative,” Historically Speaking 6.6 (July/August 2005): 1-5.
  • “Korea’s Legendary Admiral,” MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 17.4 (Summer 2005): 52-61.
  • “In the Shadow of the Fortress,” in Toivo Koivukoski & David Tabachnick, eds. Confronting Tyranny: Ancient Lessons for Global Politics. Rowman & Littlefield, 2004, 233-241.
  • “The Dead of Arginusae and the Debate About the Athenian Navy” [in modern Greek translation as well as in English] Nautiki Epithewrisi 545.160s (Jan-Feb 2004): 40-67.
  • “Flames Over Athens,” Arion 12.1 (Spring/Summer 2004): 101-116.
  • “Go Tell the Spartans,” MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 17.1 (Autumn 2004): 16-25.
  • “Faith for the Flight,” Arion 11.3 (Winter 2004): 129-140.
  • “On Public Speech in a Democratic Republic at War.” In Republicanism: History, Theory, and Practice, a special issue of the CRISPP (Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy) 6.1 (Spring 2003): 22-37.
  • “Alexander: The Military Campaign,” in J. Roisman, ed., Alexander the Great. Leiden: Brill, 2003, pp. 133-158.
  • “On National Security Strategy and American Policy Toward Iraq.” In M. Evangelista, ed. Iraq and Beyond: The New U.S. National Security Strategy. Occasional Paper No. 27. Ithaca, N.Y.: Peace Studies Program, Cornell University, January 2003, pp. 11-14.
  • “Reflections on the Citizen-Soldier." Parameters: US Army War College Quarterly The United States Army’s Senior Professional Journal. Summer 2003 vol. 33.2: pp. 66-77.
  • “Collateral Damage: Commentary.” In Andru E. Wall, ed. The Legal and Ethical Implications of NATO’s Kosovo Campaign. International Law Studies vol. 78. Newport, RI: Naval War College, 2002, pp. 293-296.
  • “The Price of Rivalry.” MHQ. The Quarterly Journal of Military History 13.3 (Spring), 2001.
  • “Democracy, Kimon, and the Evolution of Athenian Naval Tactics in the Fifth Century B.C.” In Pernille Flensted-Jensen, Thomas Heine Nielsen, and Lene Rubenstein, eds. Polis & Politics. Studies in Ancient Greek History. Presented to Mogens Herman Hansen on his 60th Birthday. (Museum Tuscylanum Press. University of Copenhagen, 2000) 315-326.
  • “Perspectives on the death of fifth-century Athenian seamen,” in Hans van Wees, ed. War and Violence in Ancient Greece. (Duckworth, 2000), 261-284.
  • “Victory By Guile. Breaking the Siege of Constantinople” in MHQ. The Quarterly Journal of Military History 11.3 (Spring 1999), 104-111.
  • “Epilogue: On War and Society in the Pre-Modern World,” with Victor Hanson in K. Raaflaub and N. Rosenstein, eds. War and Society in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds (Harvard University Press), 439-453 (1999).
  • “The Dark Ages Made Lighter: The Consequences of Two Defeats,” in Robert Cowley, ed. What If: The Greatest might Have Beens in military History (New Putnam), 71-92 (1999).
  • “Rome’s Persian Mirage” in MHQ. The Quarterly Journal of Military History 11.4 (Autumn 1999), 18-27.
  • “A Lighter Dark Ages,” in “What If? The Greatest Might Have Beens of Military History,” MHQ, The Quarterly Journal of Military History 10:3 (Spring 1998), 69.
  • “The Problem of Periodization: The Case of the Peloponnesian War,” in M. Golden and P. Toohey, eds., Inventing Ancient Culture: Historicism, Periodization, and the Ancient World (Routledge, 1997), 165-175.
  • “The Art of Alliance and the Peloponnesian War,” in C.D. Hamilton and P. Krentz, eds., Polis and Polemos: Essays on Politics, War and History in Ancient Greece in Honor of Donald Kagan (Regina Press, 1997), 127-140.
  • “Genealogy, Ideology, and Society in Democratic Athens.” In I. Morris and K. Raaflaub, eds., Democracy 2500? Questions and Challenges. Archaeological Institute of America. Colloquia and Conference Papers, No. 2, 1997 (Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1997): 141-154.

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