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Religion & Classical Warfare: Archaic and Classical Greece (ePub)

Ancient History Military

By Dr Matthew Dillon, Christopher Matthew, Dr Michael Schmitz
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 8.5 MB (.epub)
Pages: 344
Illustrations: 30
ISBN: 9781473889514
Published: 3rd August 2020


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Religion was integral to the conduct of war in the ancient world and the Greeks were certainly no exception. No campaign was undertaken, no battle risked, without first making sacrifice to propitiate the appropriate gods (such as Ares, god of War) or consulting oracles and omens to divine their plans. Yet the link between war and religion is an area that has been regularly overlooked by modern scholars examining the conflicts of these times. This volume addresses that omission by drawing together the work of experts from across the globe. The chapters have been carefully structured by the editors so that this wide array of scholarship combines to give a coherent, comprehensive study of the role of religion in the wars of the Archaic and Classical Greek world.

Aspects considered in depth will include: Greek writers on religion and war; declarations of war; fate and predestination, the sphagia and pre-battle sacrifices; omens, oracles and portents, trophies and dedications to cult centres; militarized deities; sacred truces and festivals; oaths and vows; religion & Greek military medicine.

Religion was clearly at the centre of just about every aspect of life in the ancient world, and played a major role in warfare. However this is often rather skipped over in accounts of ancient warfare, and the most famous example of it, when the Spartans refused to send their full army against the Persians because they were in the middle of a religious festival is often treated with some cynicism. This series of articles is thus of great value in examining the evidence for the importance of religious to the ancient Greeks, and how it impacted on the way they made war.

Read the full review here

History of War

Review as featured in

Historische Zeitschrift

Comprised of ten erudite and impressively informative articles by experts in the field of Greek antiquity, "Religion & Classical Warfare: Archaic and Classical Greece" is enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a listing of Abbreviations of Ancien Sources, a listing of Abbreviations of Modern Works, a listing of Spelling of Ancient Names and Terms; a listing of the contributors and their credentials, figures, and informative introduction (New Perspectives on Classical Greek Religion and Warfare), and a thirteen page Index.

A work of meticulous and detailed scholarship, "Religion & Classical Warfare: Archaic and Classical Greece" must be considered as a core addition to community, college, and university library Antiquarian Greek History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

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Midwest Book Review

As featured on Army Rumour Service

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

About Dr Matthew Dillon

Dr Matthew Dillon is the Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of New England, New South Wales, Australia. His previous works include Omens and Oracles. Divination in Archaic and Classical Greece (2017).

About Christopher Matthew

Christopher Matthew has just completed his doctoral thesis on hoplite warfare at MacQuarie University in Sydney, where one of his assessors has said he 'singlehandedly advanced the whole field'. He has also been invited to lecture on the subject at other Australian universities. This book, closely based on his doctoral thesis, will be his first, although he has already had several articles published in academic journals. 'He is currently working on a new translation of Aelian's work on tactics and co-editing (with Dr Matthew Trundle) Beyond the Gates of Fire: New Perspectives on the Battle of Thermopylae, both of which will be published by Pen & Sword.

About Dr Michael Schmitz

Dr Michael Schmitz is a lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of New England, New South Wales, Australia. He is the author of Roman Annexation: Costs and Benefits of Trajan's Dacian Conquests (2010) and The Dacian Threat 101 106 AD (2005).

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