Warfare and Environment in the Ancient World

J. Donald Hughes

in The Oxford Handbook of Warfare in the Classical World

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780195304657
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Warfare and Environment in the Ancient World


This chapter deals with ancient warfare and the environment. Hunting was often been considered as a form of warfare, and art frequently portrayed humans in battle with animals. Armed conflict had its direct influences on the environment. Along with damage to settled agriculture, warfare had affected other lands such as pastures, brush lands, and forests. It is noted that birds, pigs, bears, rodents, snakes, bees, wasps, scorpions, beetles, assassin bugs, and jellyfish have been employed as weaponized animals in ancient warfare, which, in the Mediterranean area and Near East, had vital environmental properties. The direct effects of battle have been shown by ancient historians, but just as important were the influences of the military-oriented organization of societies on the natural environment and resources.

Keywords: ancient warfare; hunting; armed conflict; agriculture; pastures; forests; brush lands; weaponized animals; Mediterranean; Near East

Article.  6059 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies

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