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The Wars of the Ancient Greeks (Cassell History of Warfare)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  151 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
The Ancient Greeks--who believed war was the most important thing humans do--bequeathed to the West an incomparable military legacy that still influences the structure of armies and doctrine. Passing through a full millennium of war that begins with the rise of the city-state, this colorful portrait of Greek culture explains why their unique approach to fighting was so suc ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 28th 2002 by Cassell
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Josho Brouwers
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, ancient
This is a very general introduction to ancient Greek warfare that will only be of interest to those who are completely unfamiliar with the topic. Hanson's first chapter deals with "Early Greek fighting", here dated 1400 to 750 BC, and is clearly out of his depth when dealing with Mycenaean and "Dark-Age" warfare. His treatment of Homeric warfare borrows liberally from Hans van Wees's seminal treatments of the topic.

Predictably, the second chapter, which focuses on the period between 750 and 450
Rick Brindle
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, military
This is an excellent book that does exactly what it says on the tin. From 1400BC through to Alexander and beyond, this book gives a great insight into how the Greeks fought, and their impact on modern warfare. Many modern parallels are drawn, and the analysis of Alexander is interesting and unusual, flying in the face of popular opinion, but still balanced. An excellent, very informative read.
When reading the many myths of ancient Greece, one factor always stands out...constant battle. From Minoan to Mycenaean to Achaean to Dorian to Spartan to Macedonian, each tribe fought, fought, fought, fought. The Greeks felt that war, not culture or art, best symbolized civilization. This volume starts with the legendary wars of Troy and ends with the domination of Alexander the Great.

Well laid-out, with each chapter corresponding to a specific era, the reader never loses interest nor does the
Jul 30, 2009 rated it liked it
I love Hanson ... he edits here. Kind of a Greek war 101.
Sara Laor
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview. I never realized how warlike the ancient Greeks were. We choose to talk about theater, poetry, architecture and democracy -- but there was a bellicose foundation to all.
Tres Herndon
Mar 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned a lot, which may mean nothing to some. If you're already conversant with Greek warfare, you won't learn much, except VDH's opinions. I would argue that they are worth the price of admission. I never expected him to compare Alex the Great to Hitler, but he did in a convincing way.

As to learn, I learned about Greek combat in the old times and in the Dark Ages, how things changed in the classic hoplite era, and how they changed again in the Hellenistic era. This era is most relevant now b
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ancient-warfare
An account of the wars of the ancient greeks starts with the collapse of Mycenaean greece and ends with the Roman conquest.The first chapter covers early greek fighting and includes Mycenaean warfare and tactics,armour, and the palace systems of the times.It also discusses the Homeric battlefield.Other highlights for me in the chapters were hoplite battle gear,tactics,the so-called nomima or rules of battle and background on Sparta.

The battles covered are too numerous to discuss here but mention
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, signed
I learned a lot about the Greeks, including how much we just don't know. The ancient Greeks are like Sherlock Holmes, someone adds an "element" to the character in a film, and then 100 years later we think that element of the character is a true known fact.

The author writes quite a bit about what the Greeks' military history says about their changing moral values, which is a valuable aspect of the book.
Jul 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you have the time to read only two books on the nature of war, then you read this one and Keegan's "The face of battle".

This is concision, analysis, description and writing at its best. Most of Hanson's other books are repetitions of this one, with a bit more detail.
Yago de Artaza Paramo
Very concise account of the military development of the Greek city-state.
Feb 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scholarly-works
Good, but too short.
Jan 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
An extremely strong book analyzing the development and execution of military strategy and tactics in the Athenian and Spartan cultures. It should be a core work in anyones study of military culture.
Oct 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing i Grci se tukli!
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Hanson was educated at the University of California, Santa Cruz (BA, Classics, 1975), the American School of Classical Studies (1978-79) and received his Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford University in 1980. He lives and works with his family on their forty-acre tree and vine farm near Selma, California, where he was born in 1953.
More about Victor Davis Hanson...

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