Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome

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Princeton University Press

In this prequel to the now-classic Makers of Modern Strategy, Victor Davis Hanson, a leading scholar of ancient military history, gathers prominent thinkers to explore key facets of warfare, strategy, and foreign policy in the Greco-Roman world. From the Persian Wars to the final defense of the Roman Empire, Makers of Ancient Strategy demonstrates that the military thinking and policies of the ancient Greeks and Romans remain surprisingly relevant for understanding conflict in the modern world.

The book reveals that much of the organized violence witnessed today–such as counterterrorism, urban fighting, insurgencies, preemptive war, and ethnic cleansing–has ample precedent in the classical era. The book examines the preemption and unilateralism used to instill democracy during Epaminondas’s great invasion of the Peloponnesus in 369 BC, as well as the counterinsurgency and terrorism that characterized Rome’s battles with insurgents such as Spartacus, Mithridates, and the Cilician pirates. The collection looks at the urban warfare that became increasingly common as more battles were fought within city walls, and follows the careful tactical strategies of statesmen as diverse as Pericles, Demosthenes, Alexander, Pyrrhus, Caesar, and Augustus. Makers of Ancient Strategy shows how Greco-Roman history sheds light on wars of every age. In addition to the editor, the contributors are David L. Berkey, Adrian Goldsworthy, Peter J. Heather, Tom Holland, Donald Kagan, John W. I. Lee, Susan Mattern, Barry Strauss, and Ian Worthington.

Review:

“The book is a worthwhile read and some of the articles would do well as reading material on courses of ancient warfare or even modern strategic studies.”–Joonas Sipila, Acto Philogica Fennica

“At every point throughout this superb collection of essays, one cannot but reflect on Western engagements in far-off, alien places.”–Peter Jones, Sunday Telegraph

“Mr. Hanson’s examination of the dangers implicit in pre-emptive warfare is riveting, as is John W.I. Lee’s explanation of why the specter of urban warfare was as despised by ancient strategists as it is today by modern warriors. . . . Mr. Hanson and Mr. Luttwak have begun the serious study of what the ancients might have to teach us about a world where traditional nation-states not only have to coexist with armed non-state actors but must negotiate with them on nearly equal terms or sometimes fight them.”–Gary Anderson,Washington Times

“This is a worthy edition to the literature of military history.”–Kevin Winter, Sacramento Book Review

“The essays are all thought provoking, and readers will find surprises, insights, and things to argue about.”–Choice

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.