Armies of Ancient Greece – c.500-338 BC – History, Organization & Equipment, Gabriele Esposito

Armies of Ancient Greece – c.500-338 BC – History, Organization & Equipment, Gabriele Esposito

This book serves as a useful introduction to ancient Greek military history, including a narrative of events from the birth of the hoplite to the rise of Macedonia, and overviews of the various troop types and equipment in use.

The title is a little misleading - for most of its length this is a straightforward military history of Greece, looking at the actual wars fought more than the armies that fought them. It does go further back in time than many similar narratives, looking at some of the earliest recorded wars in ancient Greek history as well as the more famous campaigns against the Persians or the Peloponnesian Wars.

The first chapter, looking at the rise of the hoplite and the last two, looking at the actual armies and their equipment, are more what I was expecting. They do rather overlook the complexities of many of the debates about individual troop types, but that is probably not a bad thing in a book of this nature – some of those debates do get very technical.

This book really stands out for the number of full colour photographs of re-enactors in Greek military equipment. These are plentiful (about one per page!), the equipment looks authentic and they are well captioned. However they aren’t particularly closely tied to the text, which does somewhat reduce their direct value, but it doesn’t stop them being interesting pictures in their own right.

1 – The Birth of the Polis and the Hoplite
2 – The Ascendancy of Sparta
3 – The Lelantine War and the Rise of Athens
4 – The Ionian Revolt and the Greco-Persian Wars
5 – The Peloponnesian War and the Corinthian War
6 – The Theban-Spartan War and the Rise of Macedonia
7 – Troop Types and Organization of the Greek Armies
8 – Panoply and Tactics of the Greek Armies

Author: Gabriele Esposito
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 224
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2020

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