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Very Short Introductions #117: Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introductionby Harry Sidebottom
Synopses & Reviews
Greek and Roman warfare was unlike that of any other culture before or since. The key difference is often held to be that the Greeks and Romans practiced a "Western Way of War," in which the aim is an open, decisive battle--won by courage instilled, in part, by discipline. Here, Harry Sidebottom looks at how this Western Way of War was constructed and maintained by the Greeks and Romans and why this concept is so prevalent today.
All aspects of ancient warfare are thoroughly examined--from philosophy and strategy to the technical skills needed to fight. Sidebottom examines war in the wider context, showing how wars were able to shape classical society, and how an individual's identity was sometimes constructed by war, as in the case of the Christian soldier fighting in God's name. He also explores the ways in which ancient society thought about conflict: Can a war be just? Why was siege warfare particularly bloody? What role did divine intervention play in the outcome of a battle? Taking fascinating examples from the iliad, Tacitus, and the Persian Wars, Sidebottom uses arresting anecdotes and striking visual images to show that any understanding of ancient war is an ongoing process of interpretation.
All aspects of ancient warfare thoroughly examined from philosophy to the technical skills needed to fight.
About the Author
Harry Sidebottom is Lecturer in Ancient History at Merton College, Oxford, and part-time lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick. He has written for and contributed to many publications, including Classical Review, Journal of Roman Studies, and War and Society in the Roman World.
Table of Contents
1. 'On my command unleash hell!' The Western Way of War?
2. Thinking with war
3. War and Society
4. Thinking about war
5. Strategy, Campaigns, and Logistics
7. 'Some people don't know when they are beaten.' Imagining war.
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