This book covers one of the more obscure periods of Ancient Greek history, coming between the period of the heroic warriors represented in Homer and before the rise of the classical Hoplite. Hesiod and Homer were both probably at work during this period, but Homer was describing the warfare of an earlier period. We are thus left with art and archaeology as our main sources, so much of the analysis relies on portrayals of fighting men and their equipment in geometric art, and whatever has survived in the archaeological record.
In some ways this is a very difficult period to study. There is no real information on military organisation and not much on the wars of the period, with the best documented being the First Messenian War, which saw the rise of Sparta, but even that can't be firmly dated. This was probably a period of small scale fighting, with little or no evidence for sieges on mainland Greece.
The nature of the evidence affects the balance of the book, with 34 pages (over half) looking at military equipment, simply because this is where most evidence survives. Most of the other sections also have to rely to an unusual extent on the same evidence - working out what the surviving equipment tells us about the nature of warfare.
The book is very well illustrated, with a mix of pictures of objects and art, modern comparative art by the authors (comparing types of helmets etc) and the usual Osprey art.
It is nice to see something on a less familiar period of Greek history, and this book does thus fill a gap, but it does cover a period with limited known military activity.
Appearance and Equipment
Conditions of Service
Belief and Belonging
The Warrior at War
Museums and Further Research
Author: Raffaele d'Amato and Andrea Salimbeti