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Commemorating Classical Battles (Paperback)

A Landscape Biography Approach to Marathon, Leuktra, and Chaironeia

Ancient History > Ancient Greece & the Hellenistic World > Greek Archaeology P&S History > Archaeology > Archaeological Method & Theory

By Brandon Braun
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Pages: 272
Illustrations: B/w and colour
ISBN: 9781789259353
Published: 15th May 2023
Casemate UK Academic


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This is a study of the commemoration of Classical Greek battles, approaching monuments and other mnemonic practices as vital elements in the creation and curation of memories. It analyses the diachronic development of battlefield, sanctuary, and city spaces, as evidenced by archaeological remains and ancient literary sources. In addition, it explores the experience of the commemorative spaces through the application of theories of space, phenomenology, and social memory. Following a biographical approach, the commemoration of each battle is organised into stages of initial commemoration, official monumentalisation, memory curation, memory lapse, and reception.

The research has led to several conclusions. While the commemoration of each battle can be divided into stages, these stages are not always discrete. There is variation in the types of commemorations within the stages, dependent on time, surrounding space, and the parties involved. Single commemorations can resonate differently with multiple audiences. The processes within the stage of memory curation lead to the subsequent lapse. The final stage of commemoration for each battle begins with the rediscovery of ancient monuments and continues to this day.


The battles of Marathon, Leuktra, and Chaironeia are case studies for three reasons. First, they effectively span the period of Classical Greece (Marathon in 490 BCE to Chaironeia in 338 BCE). Secondly, these battles had different participants, thus allowing a variety of perspectives of both the victorious and the defeated. Lastly, these were battles that left lasting impacts in the material and literary record, making their commemoration relevant not only in antiquity, but also in the modern world.

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