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ANCIENT WARFARE: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION

ISBN: 9780192804709
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. 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 `I am addicted to this series of pocket-portable introductory lectures. Harry Sidebottom fairly presumes that you wouldn't know a hoplite if one thrust a spear at you, and that you grasped legionary tactics from watching the DVD of Gladiator. The book manages to cover practical fighting from the Iliad to Islam's challenge to Byzantium; war as personal and state metaphor in Greece and Rome; strategy and motivation on sea and land; and then nips briskly on to historians' re-evaluations of the above - in 128 neat pages plus extra reading list and a wicked chronology. Got that? Right, then. Fall in.' Guardian Review