Ancient History & Civilisation


The papers published in this volume resulted from a conference on early Greek hoplite warfare held at Yale University in April 2008. The idea for the conference grew out of a spirited debate that took place following a panel presentation at the American Philological Association’s annual meeting at San Diego in January 2007, “New Perspectives on Ancient Warfare.” From the audience, Gregory Viggiano argued in favor of the theses of Victor Davis Hanson’s The Western Way of War and The Other Greeks against the positions of Peter Krentz and Hans van Wees. These scholars later agreed to continue the debate in a formal setting. Viggiano then discussed with Donald Kagan the unique possibility of having the world’s leading scholars on the subject air out their differences face-to-face at Yale. Further discussions with Paul Cartledge helped bring about the Yale conference. The conference panels debated a variety of issues surrounding the hoplite orthodoxy and the attempts to revise it: (1) questions concerning the origins of the tactics and weapons employed by the Greek hoplite (heavily-armed infantryman), fighting in massed formation on behalf of his autonomous city-state (polis); (2) questions about the political, economic, and social significance of the new mode of fighting; and (3) questions regarding the impact hoplite warfare had on Greek culture in general. All these issues have in recent years been at the center of one of the liveliest and most important controversies in the fields of classical studies, ancient political history, and ancient military history.

We want to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the Yale conference, which was held at the Hall of Graduate Studies on the Yale campus. Our first concern in putting together an international workshop was making sure that the scholars would be willing to come and debate, so we are grateful to all the participants for sharing our enthusiasm for the idea. We were very fortunate to have Susan Hennigan’s superb assistance in arranging the travel and stays of the participants, and in taking care of all the logistics (meals, programs, audiovisual equipment, etc.) for the event. One scholar remarked that everyone got along so well because there was so much good food to eat. The panel sessions were well attended by faculty, undergraduate and graduate students from Yale, as well as faculty from Sacred Heart University, especially the Department of History. A number of scholars and graduate students from universities as far away as the West Coast came to attend the sessions, in addition to people from the New Haven community. Therefore, we owe special thanks to International Security Studies (ISS) at Yale, as well as the Yale Classics Department; for without their kind generosity there would not have been any conference. We make special mention of Ted Bromund of ISS and his dedication to the project, and the support of Professor Christina Kraus, the chair of Yale Classics. Rob Tempio of Princeton University Press has given invaluable support and inspiration at every stage in the production of this volume.

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