This chapter explores the Greek armored infantrymen and the weapons they carried. The hoplite shield is called Argive. The Boeotian is a shield that appears on seventh- and sixth-century
Lee L. Brice
This chapter discusses the Sicilian Expedition by Athens. Athens sent a large military force to Sicily in what has come to be called the Sicilian Expedition. The expedition, which grew into a massive military effort led by multiple generals, began with multiple leaders, one of whom, Nicias, had opposed it from the beginning. It is noted that the Athenian withdrawal in Sicily initially appears to have been ridiculous given their success, but as Thucydides explained, it was based on the late season and the lack of cavalry, money, allies, and supplies. The final phase of the expedition began with a naval battle. The expedition that had begun in 415 with a grand send-off in Athens ended in 413 with a tortuous retreat and pursuit.
John W. I. Lee
This chapter introduces the diverse troops, equipment, formations, and tactics that characterized the period from about 500–350
Thomas R. Martin
This chapter describes the ideas of Demetrius Poliorcetes on Hellenistic warfare, specifically taking the conventional position that Hellenistic warfare designates warfare as conducted and conceptualized in the aftermath of the lifetime of Alexander the Great. It also presents the salient events in Demetrius's riches-to-rags history as a commander, king, and god. His career contributes several examples of the momentous scale that Hellenistic battles could attain and also provides evidence for the propensity for large-scale battles to occur in Hellenistic warfare. In addition, it offers notable data for changes in the possible political and religious meanings of war. It is shown that over the long term, the divinization of a living human being who promised liberation was the most enduring and most consequential result of the changes in the meanings of war in the Hellenistic period.
This chapter addresses the time of Theban general Epaminondas at Leuctra, specifically reviewing his battle in Leuctra. Leuctra in 371
Paul C. Millett
This chapter assesses the Greek writing on the subject of warfare. The plausibility of Demosthenes' presentation of Philip's waging of war is also addressed. The issues of orality and performance had directly impacted almost all Greek authors concerned with warfare. The story of archaic poetry had indicated a spectrum of military engagement. It is noted that prosecutions arising out of military offences and death in battle have a relatively high profile in the Orators, and that warfare naturally has a major role in the process of growth and decline. The fullest reflection of Thucydides on the implications of war had combined material with psychological considerations. Xenophon's experience with the Athenian cavalry had been directly reflected in his Hipparchios or “The Duties of a Cavalry Commander,” and in Peri hippikes or “On Horsemanship.”
Daniel P. Tompkins
This chapter examines the Greek military ritual of war. It evaluates the recent interpretations of military ritual, indicating that the term “ritual” in the present day has taken on so many connotations as to reduce its analytic utility, and that the claim that rituals promote “social cohesion” requires careful review. Lunar festivals deeply affected Greek military behavior. Booty from war was traditionally tithed. The burial ritual followed elaborate rules for prothesis, lying in state; ekphora, carrying out to burial, and a feast. The Carneia festival and the temple of Phobos, “Panic Fear,” is then explained. The data presented reveal that the “ritual” offers a useful but often imprecise tool for understanding military behavior. It may be worthwhile to seek a finer-grained understanding of the link between the “rituals” of ancient warfare and “social cohesion.”
This chapter describes the effects of warfare in the Hellenistic period, which influenced nearly every aspect of life for people living in the Greek East at the time. The phalanx remained the basic unit of the Hellenistic army. The Hellenistic world saw a proliferation of technical manuals concerning the art of war. The composition of armies included infantry, cavalry, auxiliary forces, siege warfare, and navies. The Macedonian cavalry was the main striking arm of the combined force. Cavalry in the Hellenistic world were organized largely as in Alexander's day. Hellenistic siege warfare featured its share of exotic weapons. It is shown that the sea became a venue for battle. There was a marked shift in the composition of both navies and armies during the Hellenistic period.
This chapter discusses the sieges of cities, wanton plunder, and massacres in the period of the Peloponnesian War, which contributed more misery to the Greeks than all previous wars and saw an increase in the number of cities taken and Greeks killed or exiled. It can often be seen in Greek siege warfare that a city surrendered after internal ideological strife brought about a betrayal of the town. The Greeks experienced a dramatic rise in the number of sieges during the Peloponnesian War, but sieges and the atrocities that often accompanied them were experienced by Greek poleis before the Peloponnesian War and long before the late fifth century
This chapter reviews the infantry guard of Alexander the Great. Macedonian hypaspists were first manifested in Alexander's campaign against the so-called independent Thracians. In addition to guard-duty, they served as a police force. The most famous and notorious fighting unit in the history of Alexander's Successors are the Argyraspids, after whose dismissal from Opis, a full contingent of hypaspists had remained with Alexander at the time of his death in the following and continued to serve in the Royal Army under Perdiccas. Diodorus spoke of the rivalry of two Indian wives for the honor of performing suttee. It is observed that the idea that Argyraspids' future service in the East was meant to destroy them may be wishful thinking on Hieronymus' part.
Nicholas V. Sekunda
This chapter explains Greek warfare and society. The concept of the soldier-citizen was an important component in the Greek city-state or polis. The large-scale wars that took place throughout the Greek world from the death of Alexander until the battle of Corupedium in 281 deprived many of Greek city-states, whic had chronic problems with finances. The Greeks employed a bewildering range of words for payments in kind or cash. The mercenaries were vital in the Hellenistic period. If a city fell after a siege, the impacts on trade and prices were mostly local. The drastic human losses could have important social, political, and demographic effects. It is impossible to quantify the number of persons uprooted by war in the Greek world, but they must have been considerable.
This chapter reviews some of the main elements of warfare conducted by the Greeks between the eighth and third centuries. The hybristic acts of the enemy have been regarded as sufficient provocation for war. Warriors have frequently been prompted by the chance for self-enrichment through booty. There has been enormous variety of warfare in Greece and beyond. The methods of warfare have undergone a number of significant developments. The evolutions in the tools of war have a variety of military, institutional and ideological ramifications. Many members of Greek communities might relish the opportunity for war. These developments gave the Greek and Macedonian armies the capacity to resist and then overcome the Persian Empire, and contributed to the essential character of warfare in the era of the Successors.