Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity / Edition 1

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Overview

What set the successful armies of Sparta, Macedon, and Rome apart from those they defeated? In this major new history of battle from the age of Homer through the decline of the Roman empire, J. E. Lendon surveys a millennium of warfare to discover how militaries change—and don’t change—and how an army’s greatness depends on its use of the past. 
Noting this was an age that witnessed few technological advances, J. E. Lendon shows us that the most successful armies were those that made the most effective use of cultural tradition. Ancient combat moved forward by looking backward for inspiration—the Greeks, to Homer; the Romans, to the Greeks and to their own heroic past. The best ancient armies recruited soldiers from societies with strong competitive traditions; and the best ancient leaders, from Alexander to Julius Caesar, called upon those traditions to encourage ferocious competition at every rank.
Ranging from the Battle of Champions between Sparta and Argos in 550 B.C. through Julian’s invasion of Persia in A.D. 363, Soldiers and Ghosts brings to life the most decisive military contests of ancient Greece and Rome. Lendon places these battles, and the methods by which they were fought, in a sweeping narrative of ancient military history. On every battlefield, living soldiers fought alongside the ghosts of tradition—ghosts that would inspire greatness for almost a millennium before ultimately coming to stifle it.

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Editorial Reviews

Military History
Soldiers & Ghosts is an excellent starting point for readers interested in the military histories of Greece and Rome.”

— Nicholas E. Efstathiou

Ancient History

"Soldiers and Ghosts stimulates the reader and has many interesting insights. I particularly like the bibliographic notes pointing to further research."—Matthew Trundle, Ancient History

— Matthew Trundle

From the Publisher

Soldiers and Ghosts is a stunningly original contribution to our understanding of ancient warfare, written with great style and verve. It is one of those rare books that powerfully challenges received opinion and demands attention. At the same time, it is a wonderful read that should hold appeal for any layman with an interest in the Greeks and Romans or simply in the history of warfare.”—Donald Kagan, author of The Peloponnesian War

Soldiers and Ghosts offers a wholly original cultural history of Greek and Roman warfare. The book is hugely impressive in scope and ambition, often brilliant in interpretation, elegantly constructed and wonderfully written.”—Hans van Wees, author of Greek Warfare: Myths and Realities

Donald Kagan
"Soldiers and Ghosts is a stunningly original contribution to our understanding of ancient warfare, written with great style and verve. It is one of those rare books that powerfully challenges received opinion and demands attention. At the same time, it is a wonderful read that should hold appeal for any layman with an interest in the Greeks and Romans or simply in the history of warfare."—Donald Kagan, author of The Peloponnesian War
Hans van Wees
Soldiers and Ghosts offers a wholly original cultural history of Greek and Roman warfare. The book is hugely impressive in scope and ambition, often brilliant in interpretation, elegantly constructed and wonderfully written.”—Hans van Wees, University College, London, author of Greek Warfare: myths and realities
Military History - Nicholas E. Efstathiou
Soldiers & Ghosts is an excellent starting point for readers interested in the military histories of Greece and Rome.”
Ancient History - Matthew Trundle

"Soldiers and Ghosts stimulates the reader and has many interesting insights. I particularly like the bibliographic notes pointing to further research."—Matthew Trundle, Ancient History
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300119794
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 8/15/2006
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 634,279
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author


J. E. Lendon teaches history at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Empire of Honour: The Art of Government in the Roman World.
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