Non-Book Review: War In Ancient Greece

War In Ancient Greece, edited and introduced by Bob Carruthers

So, when I requested this large (almost 600 pages) book from the De Re Militari [1], I noticed that the title said War In Ancient Greece, and I figured that the book would have a great deal to say about war in ancient Greece.  When the subtitle said military history from primary sources, I expected, well, more than one source.  So far, at least, in flipping through it, I see exactly one source, and that is Thucydides on the Peloponnesian War.  This is, to put it mildly, somewhat disappointing.  In one of my libraries I have a large copy of Thucydides already, admittedly not read all the way through, but still, it is something I already have.  If a reader wanted Thucydides, they can ask for it directly.  It is baffling to think that readers would appreciate getting a lightly edited version of Thucydides when they get a book that purports to discuss war in ancient Greece.  After all, there was a lot of war in ancient Greece that is worthy of discussion–the warfare of Thebes against Sparta, the warfare of the Greeks against the Persians, the warfare of Macedonia against the Greek cities as well as against the Romans.  Given the massive scope of ancient Greek warfare, which could even go back as far as the Bronze age piracy and the Trojan War, it seems staggering that excerpts from a single author could be considered sufficient to match the scope of such a title.

So, it seems fairly obvious that what I am going to be reading has the strong air of false advertising to it.  The book has the chance to overcome my initial negative impression, but if it turns out that this book is simply a recast version of one of the greatest ancient history books of all time, with very little material other than what has been cited and lightly edited, the book will receive a good deal of wrath considering the length of time it will likely be required for me to read the book.  So, given what I have seen so far, this book has a real chance of wasting a lot of time, and that is something I view as a nearly unforgiveable offense for a book I have obligated myself to read.  Here’s hoping that is not the case.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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