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Slaves, Warfare, and Ideology in the Greek Historians

Slaves, Warfare, and Ideology in the Greek Historians

  • Author: Peter Hunt, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Date Published: May 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521893909


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About the Authors
  • This book challenges conventional opinion by arguing that slaves and Helots played an important part in classical Greek warfare. Although rival city-states often used these classes in their own forces or tried to incite their enemies' slaves to rebellion or desertion, such recruitment was ideologically awkward: slaves or Helots, despised and oppressed classes, should have had no part in the military service so closely linked with citizenship, with rule, and even with an individual's basic worth. Consequently, their participation has tended to drop out of the historical record. Focusing on Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon, this study attempts to demonstrate the actual role played by slaves and Helots in warfare, the systematic neglect of the subject by these historians, and the ideologies motivating this reticence.

    • Controversial interpretation of classical Greek military history
    • New readings of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon
    • Comparative sections on Rome, Mamluks, and Confederacy
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… the best book on ancient Greek slavery … and arguably one of the most important books in all ancient Greek history'. Slavery and Abolition

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2002
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521893909
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 156 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Background: warfare, slavery, and ideology
    2. Herodotus: the Persian Wars
    3. Herodotus: freedom or slavery
    4. Thucydides: Helots and Messenians
    5. Thucydides: manning the navies
    6. Thucydides: encouraging slave desertion
    7. Thucydides: the ideology of citizen unity
    8. Xenophon: ideal rulers, ideal slaves
    9. Xenophon: warfare and revolution
    10. Xenophon: the decline of hoplite ideology
    11. Conclusion: Volones, Mamluks, and Confederates.

  • Author

    Peter Hunt, University of Colorado, Boulder

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