War and Society in the Greek World

War and Society in the Greek World

War and Society in the Greek World

War and Society in the Greek World


The role of warfare is central to our understanding of the ancient Greek world. In this book and the companion work, War and Society in the Roman World , the wider social context of war is explored. This volume examines its impact on Greek society from Homeric times to the age of Alexander and his successors and discusses the significance of the causes and profits of war, the links between war, piracy and slavery, and trade, and the ideology of warfare in literature and sculpture.


‘There is and has been a powerful reluctance among historians to discuss ancient warfare and its consequences with a steady eye.’ Thus Moses Finley, in one of his last published works (Ancient History: Evidence and Models (London, 1985), 71). The present book, and its companion volume War and Society in Ancient Rome, constitute an attempt to respond to Finley’s challenge.

Like the earlier volumes in the series ‘Leicester-Nottingham Studies in Ancient Society’, they are the product of seminars jointly organized by the classical departments of the universities of Leicester and Nottingham. ‘War and Society in the Ancient World’ was the theme of a series of meetings held in Leicester and Nottingham between 1988 and 1990. The two volumes contain substantially revised versions of a selection of papers from that series.

Although the seminars focused mainly on Greece and Rome, they also included papers on other ancient societies, represented in this volume by Carroll’s chapter, which brings out similarities and points of contrast with the Greek experience. The other papers in this volume examine various aspects of Greek warfare, and of its impact on Greek society, from Homeric times to the age of Alexander and his successors.

We are very grateful to all the participants in the seminar series, both our colleagues in Leicester and Nottingham and those from further afield, some of whom regularly travelled long distances to take part in the discussions. We also thank those of our colleagues who helped us by reading and commenting on drafts of the

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