War and Society in the Greek World
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The role of warfare is central to our understanding of the ancient Greek world. In this book and the companion work, War and Society in the Roman World, the wider social context of war is explored. This volume examines its impact on Greek society from Homeric times to the age of Alexander and his successors and discusses the significance of the causes and profits of war, the links between war, piracy and slavery, and trade, and the ideology of warfare in literature and sculpture.
have been ‘bellicist’. Bellicism is morally neutral and applicable only to the period before the offence/defence distinction came to be widely recognized…. Militarism can be understood as a deliberate attempt to moralize bellicist assumptions…in a new era…in which peace came to be regarded both as the normal state of affairs and as overwhelmingly preferable to war. (Ceadel 1987, 12) No ancient writer, a fortiori, adopted anything we would recognize as a pacifist or even pacificist position, 1
the Elder in the sixth century (Hdt. 6. 38). The implication of my argument is this: when the citizen of a polis heard the exploits of a Homeric basileus described, he would associate it, not necessarily with his own or anyone else’s ancestor, but with the hero of a polis.1 Such a suggestion is surely not very 60 Hugh Bowden strange. In the Iliad we see the Olympian gods acting like men and women and involving themselves directly in human affairs. They come from high Olympos, and appear to
sowing for the next harvest. This raises the second oft-cited motive for Greek expansion: land hunger or overpopulation. A recent discussion amply demonstrates the unjustified and unjustifiable leap that is made when scholars link expansion and settlement abroad with demographic change and land shortage (Podlecki 1984, 32): [Kritias] reported that Archilochos ‘left Paros because of poverty and need, and went to Thasos’ [Archil, fr. 295]…. It was the lure of wealth or, put in other terms, the
in early Greek literature, see Vermeule 1979, 99–105. Seamus Heaney’s Act of Union, a poem about British imperialism in Ireland (in Heaney 1975), ironically subverts the traditional topos. 112 Edith Hall supports the naked, slumping figure of Armenia, her hair spilling over her shoulders, between his wide-striding legs (Smith 1987, 115– 20, with plates 14, 16). In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries America was represented, in the imperialist discourses of the European
and several north Aegean islands soon after 600, the aggressions by the Philaidai in the Thracian Chersonese and by the Peisistratids in Euboia, and possibly even the Athenians’ enthusiastic support for the Ionian revolt in the 490s. Did the causes of wars change during Greek history? At the deepest level, clearly not. Wars are always occasioned by a group’s perception of where its interest lies, and by its concern for its material well-being. But with changes in military organization, and the