This issue of Ancient Warfare has an unusual theme – the aftermath of battle, both for the victors and the defeated. This is a topic that does get limited coverage in our sources, although generally focusing on the large scale fate of defeated armies, the recovery of bodies or the Imperial triumph, but the more personal stories are more difficult to uncover.
Many articles could be seen as covering both sides. The first article looks at the dedication of the spoils in Ancient Greece was done by the victors, using items taken from the defeated, and because the Greeks often inscribed a message on the items involved also serves as a useful primary source for Greek military history. Second is an examination of human sacrifice in Germanic culture, and includes a look at the one semi-contemporary German source for the practise. Third is a look at the Roman methods of celebrating victories,and in particular their use by Augustus, who built versions of his battlefield trophies back at Rome.
The fourth article looks at the gates of the temple of Janus in Rome, famously closed three times during the reign of Augustus. This is perhaps a rather tenuous link to the main theme, but it is interesting to learn more about the context of this famous event.
The last three articles on the theme look at different aspects of Greek history. We start with a look at the ease with which elements of Hellenistic armies changes sides after a defeat, helping to maintain the vast armies of the period. Next is a look at the treatment of the war dead in Ancient Greece, an issue of great religious significance, which had the potential to be very controversial. Finally there is a fascinating attempt to recreate the experience of a homecoming Greek soldier, using a wide range of evidence, including Ancient Greek drama.
Away from the main theme we look at the overall history of the Roman Praetorian Guard, going back to its original formation and its more positive uses, rather than just focusing on its later notoriety and tendency to depose and select emperors. There is also an examination of the evidence for the exact meaning of the cuneus, or wedge, a formation often used by re-enactors (turns out that it had plenty of different means and evolved over time).
The spoils of war: War booty in ancient Greece
Bog bodies and broken blades: Germanic post-battle human sacrifice
A trophy proud to thee: Celebrating the Augustan way
Geminae belli portae: The gates of Janus
Running away: Rout and surrender in ancient Greece
Ancestral custom: War dead in ancient Greece
The lost nostri: Homecomings in ancient Greece
A Roman general's bodyguard: Praetorians during the Republic
What was a cuneus?: A look at the Roman wedge formation
Hollywood Romans: Julius Caesar and Sign of the Pagan
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