A Greek Army on the March: Soldiers and Survival in Xenophon's Anabasis

A Greek Army on the March: Soldiers and Survival in Xenophon's Anabasis


By (author) John W.I. Lee


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  • Format: Hardback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 230mm x 30mm | 680g
  • Publication date: 30 January 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521870682
  • ISBN 13: 9780521870689
  • Edition: 1
  • Illustrations note: 7 b/w illus. 1 map 3 tables

Product description

Professor Lee provides a social and cultural history of the Cyreans, the mercenaries of Xenophon's Anabasis. While they have often been portrayed as a single abstract political community, this book reveals that life in the army was mostly shaped by a set of smaller social communities: the formal unit organisation of the lochos ('company'), and the informal comradeship of the suskenia ('mess group'). It includes full treatment of the environmental conditions of the march, ethnic and socio-economic relations amongst the soldiers, equipment and transport, marching and camp behaviour, eating and drinking, sanitation and medical care, and many other topics. It also accords detailed attention to the non-combatants accompanying the soldiers. It uses ancient literary and archaeological evidence, ancient and modern comparative material, and perspectives from military sociology and modern war studies. This book is essential reading for anyone working on ancient Greek warfare or on Xenophon's Anabasis.

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Author information

John W. I. Lee is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Review quote

'Lee's engaging voice and well-documented research brings the officers and their men alive; on each page, readers accompany this intrepid group on their adventures, encountering exotic villagers and customs, unfamiliar food sources, urgent searches for water, conflicts with hostile forces, and struggles to survive in rugged terrain and extreme weather. ... Anyone interested in ancient warfare and military logistics will find this an accessible, exciting, and original narrative of a dramatic, celebrated episode in ancient history.' The Anglo-Hellenic Review 'A Greek Army on the March is a remarkable book and one that the author should be proud of. ... I ... marvel at what Lee has achieved here. I am sure that students of ancient warfare in particular, but also those interested in ancient society more generally and the issues relating to the formation of community, will find this book of immense value.' John Dillery, University of Virginia

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. The march route; 3. Portrait of an army; 4. Unit organization and community; 5. The things they carried; 6. Marching; 7. Resting; 8. Eating and drinking; 9. The soldier's body; 10. Slaves, servants, and companions; 11. Beyond the battlefield.