Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction

Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback Very Short Introductions

By (author) Harry Sidebottom

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 106mm x 174mm x 18mm | 159g
  • Publication date: 2 June 2005
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0192804707
  • ISBN 13: 9780192804709
  • Illustrations note: Half-tones and drawings throughout
  • Sales rank: 89,543

Product description

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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Author information

Dr Harry Sidebottom is Fellow of Greyfriar's Hall, and Lecturer in Ancient History at Lincoln College, University of Oxford. He had written for and contributed to many publications, including Classical Review, Journal of Roman Studies, and War and Society in the Roman World.

Review quote

This is a little book which is jam-packed with ideas and insights. This book offers an interesting and invigorating read. TLS I am addicted to this series of pocket-portable introductory lectures - they provoke active and reactive thought. The Guardian Small but impressive Soldier Magazine

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 ; 6. Fighting ; 7. 'Some people don't know when they are beaten.' Imagining war.