Slaves, Warfare, and Ideology in the Greek Historians

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The warring Greek city-states of the classical period often found it advantageous to use slaves in their armed forces and to encourage rebellion or desertion among the slaves of their enemies. But since military service was highly esteemed, while the state of slavery was despised, classical Greek historians such as Herodotus, Thucydides and Xenophon tended not to discuss slave participation in war. This book examines the actual role of slaves in war, the neglect of it by historians, and the reasons for this reticence.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Hunt's important book challenges some of the most fundamental premises of Greek historiography. ...this book will interest all students of Greek history and historiography. Undergraduates and above." Choice

"Hunt has written a wide-ranging and ambitious book." Jeremy Trevett, Phoenix

"Coolly and elegantly written and almost wholly persuasive, it is an original and powerful contribution to the study of Greek warfare and Greek ideologies of slavery and serfdom...the book is a major contribution to the understanding of the contradictions inherent in the functioning and the ideology of slave systems." American Historical Journal

"...this book is a worthwhile and readable study of Greek attitudes about war and slavery...As a sensible and well-reasoned challenge to the current orthodoxy this book is to be welcomed." Red River Historical Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521893909
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/9/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Background: warfare, slavery, and ideology; 2. Herodotus: the Persian Wars; 3. Herodotus: freedom or slavery; 4. Thucydides: Helots and Messenians; 5. Thucydides: manning the navies; 6. Thucydides: encouraging slave desertion; 7. Thucydides: the ideology of citizen unity; 8. Xenophon: ideal rulers, ideal slaves; 9. Xenophon: warfare and revolution; 10. Xenophon: the decline of hoplite ideology; 11. Conclusion: Volones, Mamluks, and Confederates.

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