Ancient Greek Armies Were Part of Ancient Greek Society

a terracotta model shield painted with a red crab on a white background
Crab! A Boeotian Greek model of a shield in the British Museum, museum number 1895,1026.5 under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

Responses at the International Ancient Warfare Conference 2023 made me wonder whether something I take for granted is obvious to other people interested in ancient Greece.

Today our armies are parallel societies or total institutions. They take in individual recruits, separate them from their prior friends and relations, and teach them everything they will need while they are isolated from their civilian associates. They re-organize these recruits into a new hierarchy of units for both everyday and tactical purposes (people in the same platoon both live and fight together, at least in the field). Armies like the army of Classical Athens were nothing like this and yet they fought.

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Cross-Post: International Ancient Warfare Conference 2022

a socketed steel spearhead on a varnished wooden table
What questions can we ask about a spear? Find out at IAWC 2022

The latest International Ancient Warfare Conference will happen online from Thursday 23 June to Saturday 25 June under the sponsorship of Prof. Graham Wrightson in South Dakota. I am speaking in session 14 from 10.45 to 12.15 Saturday. The topic I picked is “Get to the Point: What Questions Should We Ask About a Spear?”

Sessions are open to the public and will not be publicly recorded (I may share my talk afterwards). There is no website for the conference, but here are a list of panels with links. All times are US Central Time (UTC -5.00).

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