Remembering The Sea Battle

Shoes off and I sit comfortably by the window in Sobi Cocoa in Munich, eager to start reading “The Year of Salamis” by Peter Green. The place is warm and the carpet under my feet feels perfect. I am tempted to call this „Best Place to Read A Book“. Click below to see why…

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Sobi Cocoa

About the Book:
On a warm September day, while wandering around the Schwabing area of Munich, I came across a small bookstore with collectible books; I wanted a new interesting book to read and review for my blog so I looked through some used old ones placed in paper cartons outside the shop. “The Year of Salamis” published in 1970, written by Peter Green immediately caught my attention. Salamis is my hometown and at school we studied about this great historic sea battle of the Greek states against the Persians which took place in 480 B.C., so I was interested to see what an important British classical scholar had to say about the subject; especially since he had spent almost a decade in Greece during the 60’s.

Peter Green’s narration is so captivating, that it feels like reading a novel packed with action. The parts about the immense Persian army marching towards Greece, crossing rivers, digging channels, feasting on the local supplies of northern Greek villages are truly fascinating. It is said that “when Xerxes sat down to a meal, he had no less than 15,000 regular guests…”

 

The author has chosen the most interesting trivia about this period in Greece and Persia; I guess Greek readers will relate more to the following trivia: did you know that the inhabitants of Akanthus (an ancient city in the Athos peninsula) worshiped the Persian general Artachaees as a semi-god, “invoking his name during their prayers” for almost a hundred years after his death around 480 B.C.?

 

In “The Year of Salamis” I am also fond of the parallels drawn between ancient and modern history figures: “…of all modern statesmen, Churchill is the one whose career parallels that of Themistocles in so many ways that coincidence will hardly suffice as an explanation”.

 

This book has sparked my interest in learning more about the Classical and the Hellenistic Age and since I have a keen interest in art, I am checking out Khan Academy’s art discussions on the subject.

You can find a short biography and the publications of Peter Green here, read his contributions to the New York Review of Books here and read an interview from 2003 here.

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“The Year of Salamis” by Peter Green

About the Cafe:
Sobi Cocoa is away from the touristy center, it’s never crowded and it has a laid back atmosphere. Its owner, Sobi, is an incredible person and he treats every guest like a friend. He always sits and chats with everyone and his staff always serve you with a smile. They truly deliver their promise on their website: “in Sobi Cocoa you will be served with love by Sobi and by the greatest people in the universe”. The window ledges are very wide, they are laid with carpet, a small, wooden table is in the middle, so when you sit there to read your book, it feels like sitting in your living room.

Address: Georgenstraße 48, 80799, Munich, Germany
Opening times: Summer> Mon-Fri 8:30-22:30 / Sat:9:00-22:30 / Sun:10:00-22:30. Winter> Mon-Sat:9:00-22:00 & Sun:10:00-22:00
Food: good breakfast/ delicious sandwiches/ inspired cocktails/ homemade lemonade/ vegan dishes
Wifi: yes
Ambient noise: moderate, it’s more quiet during the morning hours.
Music: jazz, blues, pop depending on the mood of the owner.
WebSobi Cocoa


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