History Goes On

Greek Land Warfare - Special Guest Episode of The History of Ancient Greece Podcast

Dr Owen Rees | @reeshistory

Manchester Metropolitan University


In this special guest episode, the host is joined by Dr Owen Rees, a freelance historian, writer and researcher. Dr Rees discusses ancient Greek warfare more generally, though the focus is specifically on land warfare here, as there will be a future special guest episode just on naval. The host and Dr Rees go into lengthy discussions on the definition of a hoplite, its socio-political importance, and the problems surrounding its chronology and historiographic tradition. They also discuss the problems with the traditional reconstructive models of ancient Greek battles; the important role of cavalry and light infantry, particularly in the Peloponnesian War onwards; and why the concept of an “honorable western way of war” which seeks its origins in ancient Greek warfare is bogus and hyped up in modern ideology. There are also lots of digression on logistics, slaves, baggage trains, training, the Spartan mirage, the brutal experience of war, the fear that it instilled, and the war dead. Finally, Dr Rees discusses his most recent research (and the topic of his next book) which involves the transition of soldiers from civilian life to the battlefield and back again, including all the psychological and sociological problems that arise from this.


Owen Rees received his PhD in Ancient History from the Manchester Metropolitan
University. His main research area is the human experience of war and conflict, and the role of the veteran in classical Greek society. He has published works examining Greek warfare, naval warfare, and the treatment of the war dead; as well as work examining the misuse of ancient history in the modern study of post-traumatic stress disorder. He has also published two books on the topic of ancient Greek warfare: Great Battles of the Classical Greek World, and Great Naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World.

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