The Classical Art of Command: Eight Greek Generals Who Shaped the History of Warfare

ISBN : 9780197607176

Joseph Roisman
416 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Sep 2021
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In The Classical Art of Command, Joseph Roisman examines eight of history's best-known generals and commanders from the Classical Age of Greece. They are: Spartan king Leonidas, who embodied his countrymen's heroic ethos in the battle of Thermopylae; the Athenian leader Themistocles, credited as the architect of Athens' naval power and of the Greek victory over the Persians; the famous democratic leader, Pericles, who prepared Athens and directed its conflict with Sparta, known as the Peloponnesian War; the Athenian general Demosthenes, who deviated from contemporary conventions of warfare with his innovative approach; the Spartan general Lysander, who won the Peloponnesian War for Sparta; Dionysius I of Syracuse; and Epaminondas and Pelopidas who together transformed their city, Thebes, into an hegemonic power. The Classical Art of Command explores the variegated nature of Greek generalship through the individual careers of eight prominent commanders, describing the attributes of these leaders' command, the many facets of their individual careers and stratagems, and the mark they left on Greek history and warfare. Joseph Roisman investigates how these generals designed and executed military campaigns and strategy, and to what degree they were responsible for the results. The volume also looks at how the Greek art of command changed during the Classical Age, and how adaptable it was to different military challenges. Other questions involve the extent to which a general was a mere leader of the charge, a battle director, or a strategist, and what made both ancient and modern authorities regard these eight generals as outstanding shapers of military history. Filled with original analyses and accessible accounts of legendary battles, The Classical Art of Command will appeal to all readers with an interest in ancient warfare and generalship.


List of Maps and Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Greek Generals and Warfare in the Classical Age
Chapter 1. Leonidas of Sparta: the Lion at the Gates
Chapter 2. Themistocles of Athens: the Clever Counselor
Chapter 3. Pericles of Athens: the Magisterial Commander
Chapter 4. Demosthenes of Athens: The Master of Surprise
Chapter 5. Lysander of Sparta: The Lion and the Fox
Chapter 6. Dionysius I of Syracuse: The Evolution of a General
Chapter 7. Epaminondas and Pelopidas of Thebes
Chapter 8. Conclusion
The Art of Command: Planning, Management and Tactics
The Art of Command: Personality
A. The Main Ancient Sources
B. Modern Literature

About the author: 

Joseph Roisman is Professor of Classics at Colby College. He has authored numerous publications on Ancient Greece, including The Rhetoric of Conspiracy in Ancient Athens and Alexander's Veterans and the Early Wars of the Successors.

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