Henchmen of Ares: Warriors and Warfare in Early Greece, Josho Brouwers

Henchmen of Ares: Warriors and Warfare in Early Greece, Josho Brouwers

The focus of this book is on Greek warfare up to and including the Persian Wars, at the start of the period of dominance of the hoplite and phalanx. The book is split into four chapters. We start with the Mycenaean period, the first known flowering of a Greek civilisation. Next comes the Greek 'Dark Ages', after the fall of the Mycenaean palace culture. Third comes the Greek revival - the period that saw the slow emergence of the hoplite and the close order phalanx. We finish with the Persian Wars, where the hoplites established themselves as a major military power. Geographically the book covers mainland Greece, the Aegean, Ionia and those places where Greek soldiers are known to have fought.

The book is illustrated in full colour throughout, with a good mix of photos of ancient artefacts and artists impressions of military scenes. Most of the ancient artefacts are used to illustrate key points in the text (rather than simply being visual padding) - one example being the Chigi Vase, which shows waves of armed men and is sometimes used as evidence for the early appearance of the Phalanx. Here the author argues that it actually shows a less organised form of warfare, with troops being fed into the back of a loose formation. Brouwers knows his topic and the historical debate that surrounds it.

The early theme of this book makes a nice change - many books on Greek warfare focus on the period that starts with the Persian Wars, with the earlier periods serving simply as an in introduction. Here those earlier periods are the main focus of interest, and as a result we get a useful insight into a fascinating but often obscure period.

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Prologue: Homer's Shadow
1 - Palace Warriors
2 - Raiders of women and cattle
3 - Men of bronze
4 - Rebels and empire
Epilogue: Henchmen of Ares
List of dates

Author: Josho Brouwers
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 208
Publisher: Karwansaray
Year: 2013

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