Greek Warfare: From the Battle of Marathon to the Conquests of Alexander the Great

Greek Warfare: From the Battle of Marathon to the Conquests of Alexander the Great

Greek Warfare: From the Battle of Marathon to the Conquests of Alexander the Great

Greek Warfare: From the Battle of Marathon to the Conquests of Alexander the Great

Synopsis

" Greek Warfare: From the Battle of Marathon to the Conquests of Alexander the Great" is a unique reference book that examines warfare in ancient Greece during the Classical era between 490 and 323 BCE.

This easy-to-use, multi-format handbook provides a range of tools for investigating the military history of Classical Greece, including a timeline, reference entries, selected primary source documents, charts, and a glossary. The accessible reference entries illuminate all of the most important topics and issues within Classical Greek warfare, while the book's logical organization allows students, educators, and general readers alike to quickly find the specific information they seek. The comprehensive bibliography serves as a perfect gateway to additional resources on the subject.

Excerpt

Standing as we do in the shadow of the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon, it seems a good time to consider the continuing interest in classical Greek warfare. More than two millennia ago, in 490 BCE, a Greek army of Athenians and Plataeans stood between a Persian expeditionary force and Athens. The battle’s result was not a foregone conclusion; the Greeks could have lost. They won, however, so we celebrate their victory, still. We also study the battle and the military history of the period that followed. Indeed, despite all the interest in Alexander the Great, it is not possible to understand his career without considering the development of warfare after Marathon. Despite all the changes that have occurred in warfare, ancient Greek military history continues to attract attention of all sorts. Considering the variety of reasons for this interest can tell us much about the topic I address in this volume.

One overarching reason for interest in Greek warfare is the vitality of the field. Students often joke with me that ancient history should be easy because it is ancient. Like many people, they think it does not change because it is ancient. Given how much warfare has changed they are convinced that the military history of Greek warfare is stuck in an unchanging past. In a way, they are correct. The reasons for this are not hard to locate. Much of what has been written about Greek warfare in the last two centuries has focused heavily on battle narratives and consideration of famous personalities (Brice and Roberts, 2011). This type of military history has carried the label “drums and trumpets” because of its traditional focus on battle narratives. Much of what we call “drums and trumpets” style work is stuck in old methods and styles, which is why students who think ancient military history does not change are correct to an extent. Despite that, it remains immensely popular with general readers.

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