The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece

The Greeks of the classical age invented not only the central idea of Western politics but also the central act of Western warfare, the decisive infantry battle. Instead of ambush, skirmish, or combat between individual heroes, the Greeks of the fifth century B.C. devised a ferocious, brief, and destructive head-on clash between armed men of all ages. In this bold, original study, Victor Davis Hanson shows how this brutal enterprise was dedicated to the same outcome as consensual government―an unequivocal, instant resolution to dispute.

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“I delight in Victor Hanson’s book for two principal reasons. The first is that it is written with the greatest imagination. That is not to say the picture of Greek warfare he offers is an imaginary one. On the contrary, everything he writes is founded upon strict examination of the evidence – textual, iconographic, or archaeological. But his examination is formed by the same powers of imagination, now focused on the human side of warfare, that in his earlier book he brought from his practical experience as a viniculturist to its material aspects.”

–John Keegan
, from the introduction