Classical Greek Tactics

A Cultural History


What determined the choices of the Greeks on the battlefield? Were their tactics defined by unwritten moral rules, or was all considered fair in war? In Classical Greek Tactics: A Cultural History, Roel Konijnendijk re-examines the literary evidence for the battle tactics and tactical thought of the Greeks during the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Rejecting the traditional image of limited, ritualised battle, Konijnendijk sketches a world of brutally destructive engagements, restricted only by the stubborn amateurism of the men who fought. The resulting model of hoplite battle does away with most received wisdom about the nature of Greek battle tactics, and redefines the way they reflected the values of Greek culture as a whole.

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Roel Konijnendijk obtained his Ph.D. in Ancient History at University College London in 2015. He has published articles and book chapters on the history and historiography of Greek warfare, and on the encounter between the Greek and Persian tactical systems.
"In this work Konijnendijk provides a much-needed reevaluation of the traditional views of classical Greek warfare. Relying upon the accounts of classical Greek warfare, he provides a very persuasive rejection of the traditional views that suggested that Greek warfare was bound by rules and conventions and, therefore, was limited in scope and scale. Through a close analysis of the Greek battles that are documented in ancient sources, Konijnendijk also makes the convincing argument that because of the largely untrained militia who served in the phalanx and their limited tactical flexibility, classical Greek commanders sought any advantages that they could to defeat their enemies, including the pursuit and slaughter of fleeing troops. Konijnendijk’s monograph should be included in any future studies of classical Greek warfare and culture." Kyle Fingerson, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2018.11.48
Notes on Style


1 The Prussian Model of Hoplite Battle
The Traditional View of Tactics
The Case of Leuktra

2 ‘Improvisers in Soldiering’: Training for War
The Question
Good Order
Skill at Arms

3 ‘The Finest, Flattest Piece of Land’: Where to Fight

4 ‘Deployed to Fit the Need’: Forming Up for Battle
Worthless Hoplites
Ways to Deploy
Positions of Honour
The Depth of the Line

5 ‘Utterly Outmatched in Skill’: Battle Tactics
Controlling Battle
The Tools of the Tactician
How to Win

6 ‘No Shortage of People to Kill’: The Rout and Its Aftermath
Fight or Flight
A Divine Gift
Last Rites

The Context of Tactical Thought
A New Model of Hoplite Battle
The Greek Way of War

Works Cited
All who study Greek warfare, its place in Classical Greek society, and its depiction in contemporary historical works.
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