Early Greek warfare

Louis Rawlings

in The Ancient Greeks at War

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780719056574
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700839 | DOI:
Early Greek warfare

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  • Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)


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This chapter discusses what can be discerned of the nature of Greek warfare in the Bronze and Iron Ages and analyzes what the Homeric poems have to tell us. It suggests that Mycenaean palace authorities appear to have possessed sufficiently centralised resources to supply at least some of their warriors with standard equipment and, by the thirteenth century, also appear to have been capable of organising some fighters into military units with, perhaps, distinct functions. This chapter explains that Homer's poem represented real social and military practices and his poems appears to have a distinctive and generally coherent character, where combat between large groups is dominated by brave fighters surging through the throngs of warriors to fight among the promachoi.

Keywords: Greek warfare; Homeric poems; Mycenaean palace authorities; warriors; military units; Homer; promachoi

Chapter.  11563 words. 

Subjects: Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)

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