About Barry Strauss

Barry Strauss is a classicist and a military and naval historian and consultant. He is Professor of History and Classics, Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies at Cornell University, the visiting Corliss Dean Page Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Series Editor of Princeton’s Turning Points in Ancient History, and an author of bestselling books.

Professor Strauss is a recognized authority on 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).

Professor Strauss has spent years researching and studying the leaders of the ancient world and has written and spoken widely of their mistakes and successes. He is also a widely acclaimed military and naval historian whose analyses of the strategies and campaigns of some of history’s great commanders reveal the successful rules of engagement that were true on the battlefield and resonate in today’s boardrooms and executive suites.

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 the Lucio Colletti Journalism Prize for literature and he was named an Honorary Citizen of Salamis, Greece. He holds a Ph.D. from Yale and a B.A. from Cornell.

Professor Strauss is the author of nine books on ancient history. 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.

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

Professor Strauss is a well-known television personality with appearances on The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, CNN, PBS, and Netflix. He is the host of the popular podcast, "ANTIQUITAS: Leaders and Legends of the Ancient World," which is accessible 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), available for pre-order now.

Photograph © Oliviero Olivieri

Recent Scholarship

Salamis and Actium: Lessons from Two Decisive Ancient Battles in Greek Waters,” in Nicholas Kyriazis and Emmanouil M.L. Economou, eds. Salamis and Democracy 2500 Years After. Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany, Springer Verlag, forthcoming 2022.

The Punic Wars,” in David Berkey, ed. Disruptive Strategies: The Military Campaigns of Ascendant Powers and their Rivals. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2021, 43-66.

Duality, Determinism and Demography: The Greeks on Geopolitics,” in Kurt Almqvist, and Alexander Linklater, eds. The return of geopolitics : a global quest for the right side of historyStockholm, Sweden: Bokförlaget Stolpe Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit, 2021, 61-72.

Sextus Pompeius and the Strategy and Tactics of Ancient Sea Power.” In Laura Kersten and Christian Wendt, eds. Rector Maris: Sextus Pompeius und das Meer. Bonn, Germany: Habelt, 2020, 121-140.

Three Modern Navalist Thinkers and Antiquity,” in Kopp, Hans, and Christian Wendt. Thalassokratographie: Rezeption Und Transformation Antiker Seeherrschaft. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018, 221-232.

The War for Empire: Rome vs. Carthage,” in James Lacey, ed. Great Strategic Rivalries: From the Classical World to the Cold War. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2016) 81-102.

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

Slave Wars of Greece and Rome,” in Victor Davis Hanson, ed., Makers of Ancient StrategyFrom the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome. Princeton University Press:  2010, 185-205.

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: 2009, 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: 2009, 215-226.

Military Education: Models from Antiquity,” Academic Questions 21 (2008): 52-61.

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.

Media Appearances

2019, The Roman Empire, Season 3 [Caligula], Netflix

2018, The Roman Empire, Season 2 [Julius Caesar], Netflix

2016, Barbarians Rising, History Channel

2010, When Rome Ruled: ‘Secrets of the Gladiators’, National Geographic Channel

2010, When Rome Ruled: ‘Killing Caesar’, National Geographic Channel

2009, Clash of the Gods, History Channel

2008, The Secret Life of Gladiators, Discovery Channel

2007, Athens: The Dawn of Democracy, PBS

2006, Where Did It Come From? Ancient Ships, History Channel

2006, Engineering an Empire: the Greeks and Engineering an Empire: Alexander, History Channel

2006, The Real Spartacus, National Geographic Channel

2005, Hannibal, National Geographic Channel

2004, Alexander and the Battle of Gaugamela (Great Battles); Real Gladiators, Discovery Channel

2004, Who Killed Alexander?

2003, Assassination of Julius Caesar, Discovery Channel

2003, Spear of Jesus, Discovery Channel

2002, Unconventional Warfare, History Channel

2002, The Rise and Fall of Sparta, History Channel

2002, Debates, Debates PBS

2000, The Greeks, PBS

Barry Strauss © 2023