War and Society

Peter Hunt

in The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199286140
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 War and Society

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  • Classical Studies
  • Ancient Greek History
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology


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Recent research on Greek warfare often explores not the battles and campaigns themselves, but the relationship between warfare and other aspects of ancient life. The topic of ‘war and society’ in ancient Greece is an enormous and complex one. Works on this subject have played an important role in the study of Greek history for more than a generation. This article focuses on two exemplary cases: attempts to explain the development of Greek land forces exclusively in terms of military advantage, which have been succeeded by theories that place more weight on cultural or social factors; and the notion that military service often brought political power in its wake. The idea is an appealing one, but the theory of the ‘hoplite reform’ highlights the difficulties of such explanations.

Keywords: Greek warfare; military advantage; political power; hoplite reform; ancient Greece

Article.  5553 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Greek History ; Greek and Roman Archaeology

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