Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction

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Greek and Roman warfare differed from other cultures and was unlike any other forms of warfare before and after. The key difference is often held to be that the Greeks and Romans practised a 'Western Way of War', where the aim is an open, decisive battle, won by courage instilled in part by discipline. Harry Sidebottom looks at how and why this 'Western Way of War' was constructed and maintained by the Greeks and Romans, why this concept is so popular and prevalent today, and at whether or not this is an accurate interpretation. All aspects of ancient warfare are thoroughly examined - from philosophy and strategy to the technical skills needed to fight. He looks at war in the wider context - how wars could shape classical society, and how the individual's identity could be constructed by war, for example 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 the any understanding of ancient war is an ongoing process of interpretation. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
 

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User Review  - Abbas.Jafri - LibraryThing

Focusing solely on ancient Greece and Rome, the author discusses how the Western Way of War evolved from a concept to an ideology and how it was practiced during the classical period. A little short ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gmicksmith - LibraryThing

Harry Sidebottom's Ancient Warfare is highly regarded by Robin Lane Fox in his "The Classical World" and he lists Sidebottom's "Further Reading" as worthy of note. It is an well-written and ... Read full review

Contents

the Western Way of War?
1
2 Thinking with war
16
3 War and society
35
4 Thinking about war
53
5 Strategy
65
6 Fighting
82
the reinventions of the Western Way of War
112
Further reading
129
Chronology
151
Index
157
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About the author (2004)


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.

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