War and Society in the Greek World

War and Society in the Greek World

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0415121663

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The role of warfare is central to our understanding of the ancient Greek world. In this book and the companion work, War and Society in the Roman World, the wider social context of war is explored. This volume examines its impact on Greek society from Homeric times to the age of Alexander and his successors and discusses the significance of the causes and profits of war, the links between war, piracy and slavery, and trade, and the ideology of warfare in literature and sculpture.













that antimilitarist positions exist, which has been true only in recent generations. If war was taken for granted in Europe before 1919, was it so taken for granted in classical Greece? It was clearly important in many ways; but the truth may be that while war affected most people at some time in antiquity, it probably did so to a lesser extent than today. The ideological importance of war for ancient (largely male, civic) culture, pre-selected and handed down to us, cannot be denied; for

of Warfare in Biblical Lands in the Light of Archaeological Discovery (London). Addendum Niditch, S. (1993), War in the Hebrew Bible: A Study in the Ethics of Violence (Oxford). ∞3∞ Hoplites and Homer: Warfare, hero cult, and the ideology of the polis Hugh Bowden The Homeric poems are some of the earliest creations of Greek literature, and were enormously influential on the way in which the Greeks of the archaic and classical periods understood the world in which they lived.1 It is usually

consistent with this. When in 545 the growing might of Persia threatened their homeland, some of the Phokaians left to join their apoikia on Corsica. ‘For five years they lived at Alalia with the earlier settlers, and built temples. Because they plundered and carried off all the people in the vicinity, the Etruscans and Carthaginians made common cause to attack them, each with a fleet of sixty ships’ (Hdt. 1. 166). The Phokaians are said to have won this battle, albeit in a Pyrrhic victory.

dialectical process the Persians in Greek discourse began in turn to assume Amazonic features. The visual representation of the battles with the Persians in the fifth century owed much to previous representation of the Amazonomachy, borrowing postures, ethos, and details like patterned tights and wicker shields. The gender hierarchy of male over female, implicit in the old myth of the Amazons, now crept inexorably into the language and imagery of written representations of the Persian wars.

If we are to take the long-term view, we must look forward to aims, as well as backwards to causes. Not enough is said, in ancient or modern books, about the ‘war aims’ of belligerents, beyond simple victory. This may be because the occurrence of wars was taken for granted (peace not being regularly set up as the desirable opposite of war), and because the aims of a community waging war were not felt to need stating; victory or survival were seen as unquestioned goods. Yet wars are almost never

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