As contributors book their places for the conference, their abstracts will be placed here. This is not a programme. The programme will be developed once all booking are received and as soon as possible after the 31st of March.


Jorit Wintjes – Keynote  Speaker

The Command and Control Conundrum – or Why we Believe we Understand  Ancient Naval Operations, but Don’t 

*** ***

Ioannis Georganas – Keynote Speaker

How Militaristic were Aegean Bronze Age Societies?

*** ***

 Anna Busetto


The thorough analysis of ancient texts concerning warfare (not only military treatises, but also accounts of preparation of battles and descriptions of lifestyle and habits of great leaders) highlights a fil rouge which crosses genres, centuries, languages, cultures: this is the attention and significance bestowed to the spectacular nature of military training and to emulation it must arouse in the viewers. From Xenophon onwards, both Greek and Latin authors (e.g. Arrian, Appian, Plutarch, Tacitus, Flavius Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Silius Italicus) felt worthwhile to treat – or touch on at least – such a topic, which appears to respond (overtly or covertly) to concrete issues: for example, the diminution of the enlistments in classical Athens (Xenophon), the need of a strong leader’s example in an epoch of political disorder (Appian), the weakening of military discipline during the Empire (Arrian), the changes in military training and its social and ideological perception (Arrian, Flavius Josephus). My paper will aim to understand the meaning of the strategies and functions of emulation in military training along its development and as it is conveyed by these authors. A particular focus will be devoted to common patterns in the treatment of this topic (eventually revealing a literary influence and/or a persistence of ideology) and, at the same time, to the peculiarity of the historical contexts which could have aroused the authors’ concern. The ultimate purpose of the paper will thus be to further the knowledge of the dynamics of ancient warfare by studying its constitutive first aspect – i.e. military training –, a theme so far quite neglected despite the vast number of essays on ancient warfare and its related aspects published in recent years.

*** ***

Cat Quine

‘Fortresses and Politics in 7th Century BCE Judah.’

The reign of king Manasseh (697-642 BCE) passes with little comment (other than condemnation of foreign religious practice) in the biblical texts, yet his 55 year reign was a vital period for the kingdom of Judah as it sought to recover from the destruction wreaked by Assyrian invasion, and the new reality of being a vassal to its Assyrian overlords. Manasseh was succeeded by his son Amon, who was assassinated after two years on the throne, and his eight year old son Josiah was subsequently crowned. The internal political changes in Judah were undoubtedly affected by the changes in the wider geopolitical situation, including the conquests of Assyria, the (re)rising of Egypt and Babylon, the fall of Assyria, and more locally, the encroachment of Philistia and Edom into Judahite territory. The lack of literary evidence, particularly with reference to Manasseh’s reign in the first half of the seventh century, means that the onus is on the archaeological remains to provide information about this important period in Judah’s history. This paper, therefore, will look at the establishment and strengthening of Judahite fortresses in the seventh century BCE and ask if we may reconstruct anything of Manasseh’s, and thus Judah’s, internal and international political intentions from this military point of view.

*** ***

Ioan McAvoy

Pompey the Greek:

Orientalising the Exemplary After Actium


Pompey the Great was a man of contrasts. On the one hand he was the morally irreproachable Roman, conqueror of the East and defender of the Senate. On the other, the builder of Greek theatres, a friend of Eastern tyrants, and inextricably tied to the Eastern patronage network which he abandoned Italy for during the Civil War.

The phenomenon whereby conquerors of the East became ‘orientalised’ in literary representations has a long history. Indeed, Pompey’s ‘namesake’ Alexander supposedly took on Persian customs after his conquests, too. The Elder Pliny, in his Natural History (37.6-8) remarks on Pompey’s transformation, arguing that in the course of his Eastern adventures he in fact overcame not only Mithridates but also austerity (‘severitate’) itself. However, in addition to conquering Eastern kingdoms for Rome, Pompey was forced to fight a civil war from this region and came to be dramatically presented by authors like Lucan and Appian as the ‘Eastern faction’ in that conflict; in hindsight an analogue to the later Marc Antony.

I argue that after the battle of Actium, Pompey and his forces came to be seen through this lens. Whether centrally mandated or not, orientalism provided a useful justification for that civil war, ‘decivilising’ it into a legitimised war against an Eastern enemy. I will describe how this rhetoric inevitably bled back from Actium to Pharsalus, with Pompey’s troops in that war coming under particular scrutiny in this regard. I ultimately describe how these two key elements – the supposed infectious nature of Eastern culture on one hand, and the parallels drawn between the two civil wars on the other – came together to paint an orientalised picture of a most unlikely victim of such rhetoric; the otherwise irreproachable Pompeius Magnus.

*** ***


Helène Whittaker


The Temple to Ares in the Athenian Agora in its Athenian Context

The foundations of a Classical temple in the Agora at Athens have been identified as the Temple to Ares mentioned by Pausanias. It has long been known that the temple had been moved from elsewhere in the early Imperial period and more recently it has been established that the temple had originally been dedicated to Athena and stood in the deme of Pallene. The significance of the relocation and rededication of the temple has generally been interpreted from a Roman perspective and seen as a reflection of the Augustan cult of Mars Ultor in Rome. Underlying this view is also the idea that the Greeks, and the Athenians in particular, were too civilised and enlightened to have worshipped a god whose main concern was war. There is no reason to doubt Roman involvement in the establishment of a cult to Ares in the Agora. However, in this paper I wish to modify the view that it represents the imposition of a foreign cult that was distasteful to the Athenians. On the basis of literary and epigraphic evidence, which indicates that Ares was of importance in Athenian official cult from an early date, I argue that the new cult of Ares in the Agora also had its Athenian roots and should be seen as a merger of Athenian and Roman religious traditions.

*** ***


Yasmina Benferhat

Blockade On The Seas


In 2015 our paper focused on controlling waters, but it was about rivers and bridges. This time we would like to study another kind of attempt to control waters, ie blocus on the seas. The idea of winning a war, especially a civil war, without too many losses, in a « soft » way, is no modern idea though we have now drones and so on : the Romans have had several times the temptation to try to be victorious in a civil war by preventing the wheat navies from arriving to Italy. Indeed already since the Republic the Romans depended more and more on importations of wheat (but also of fruits and vegetables) coming first from Sicily, then mainly from North Africa and Egypt. This only province sent around 30% of the needs under the Julio-Claudians. Preventing the boats from arriving meant a risk of starvation, but before that the people were exspected to try to survive by organizing riots in cities, especially in Rome, against the magistrates first and against the Prince later, in order to get some food. In other words, preventing wheat from arriving in Italy could be considered as an easy way to ruin the authority of who had the power in Italy then.


There have been at least two exemples, may be three, of such a policy : Pompey is said to have thought of it when leaving Italy to join Greece, even if his defeat in Pharsale followed by his death shortly after made the threat only a threat. Then Vespasian decided to stay in Alexandria and organize a blocus of the wheat navies in order to avoid to have to fight the famous Vitellian army of Germany. In both cases the situation is the same : how to reconquer Italy occupied by armies that are famous for their strenght (Caesar’s veterans or Rhine army) and might cause a terrible loss ? In both cases the problem was solved by a military victory on the fields before the blocus could be organized nor prove its efficiency.


The third case  might differ : Sextus Pompey is considered as a pirate, devasting the Italian coasts. We would like to reconsider his case and try to determine wether he didn’t put in practice his father’s maritime policy which would have been hidden by Octavian’s propaganda.

*** ***

Peter M. Fischer


Cyprus in the Centre of the Storm: The 12th Century’s BCE Crisis Years on Cyprus


Destructive events as the result of likely warfare are reported from the archaeological remains of several 12th century BCE settlements on Cyprus. Rapid climate change around 1200 BCE with drought and damage to crops has been claimed to be one of the factors behind the migration of peoples from the Aegean – via, for instance, Cyprus – to the Levant, which might have resulted in the destruction of flourishing Cypriot settlements by warfare. There were certainly also other triggers which started south-eastwards migration including changed rulership, altered social conditions, increased social mobility and economic motives at the end of the Mycenaean palatial period. Unfortunately, considering the absence of written sources from this period from Cyprus itself we are at present primarily depending on the narratives of Egyptian and Ugaritic texts in addition to the information extracted from excavated material.


The author’s excavations at the harbour city of Hala Sultan Tekke on the south coast of Cyprus demonstrated that the city – with its 25-50 ha one of the largest in the Eastern Mediterranean –has been destroyed twice: the first destructive event took place in the later part of the Late Bronze Age around 1200 BCE and the second around the middle of the 12th century BCE. If theses absolute dates, which are based on radiocarbon, are correct and if one applies the working hypothesis that waves of migration struck Cyprus and are mirrored not only in both destruction strata at Hala Sultan Tekke but also in destructive events of several other Cypriot sites, one must come to the conclusion that waves of immigrants came in intervals separated by some decades.


*** ***

Amy Down

Rhodes as a Significant Power in the Early Hellenistic Period


Scholarship on the early wars of the Diadochi often focuses on the main players at the expense of smaller, more peripheral powers such as Rhodes. Berthold’s Rhodes in the Hellenistic Age goes some way towards redressing this imbalance but there is more to be done, and current scholarship underestimates the contribution Rhodes made to late 4th century history. This paper examines the siege of Rhodes by Demetrius Poliorcetes in 305-4BC and uses accounts of this siege as evidence for the strategic importance of the island to larger and ostensibly more powerful empires.


By looking at the position of Rhodes in relation to trade routes and the Antigonid and Ptolemaic empires I show both how the key Diadochi actively chose to engage with Rhodes, courting her favour, and that Rhodes was essentially motivated by self-interest in its dealings with other states, rather than under duress. Through consideration of the narrative of the siege found in Diodorus Siculus and a neglected papyrus, P. Berol. 11932, it becomes clear that this was not an attack comparable to those generally launched against smaller πολεις. The size and skill of the force that Demetrius gathered indicates that Antigonus understood the threat posed by Rhodes and its martial abilities and did not consider the outcome of the attack a foregone conclusion. The proliferation of naval inscriptions on Rhodes is testament to the prowess of its sailors and indicates the importance placed on the fleet by the islanders. The development and use of new siege engines, larger ships and more varied tactics by Demetrius during this siege all contribute to the theory that Rhodes was a force to be reckoned with in the Early Hellenistic period, and a significant military target for both Antigonus and Ptolemy.

By combining the study of literary and epigraphical sources it is possible to understand the role played by the island in the early Hellenistic period more fully than before, which in turn informs our understanding of the early wars of the Diadochi more generally.

*** ***

Fernando Echeverría.

“Epistrateia: rethinking Greek siege warfare in the pre-artillery era”


Greek siege warfare is commonly approached by modern scholarship as a distinctive kind of military activity, different from the rest of land operations seemingly centered on the pitched battle. It is then judged based on the alleged predominance of phalanx warfare in the archaic and classical periods and found incompatible with the hoplite ethos and ideology. It is finally interpreted according to the modern concept of “siege”, which involves the formal and passive investment of a fortification with the use of sophisticated siege technology and works. None of these, however, fits easily the pattern of military practices that we can reconstruct from the Greek literary sources of the pre-artillery era (ca. 750-360), that present a broad range of operations integrated in a coherent strategy, escalating into successive stages and actively pursuing their military objectives. Tested against modern parameters, ancient Greek practices have then been harshly judged as inefficient or unsophisticated.

The recent questioning of the former established consensus on the “hoplite” nature of Greek warfare (in the sense of dominated by the egalitarian ideology of a middle class of independent farmers), however, has set the scene for a reconsideration of “siege warfare” on the light of the new perspectives on Greek military campaigns and practices. The paper aims to present a few guidelines to rethink the issue from a conceptual point of view, to interpret it according to the general trends and patterns of Greek warfare before the time in which the vaster resources of the Hellenistic kingdoms transformed it into a more sophisticated and expensive phenomenon. “Siege warfare”, it will be claimed, must be approached from a global perspective and integrated in the general dynamics of Greek land warfare, and thus an alternative concept, “epistratic warfare”, will be put forward.

*** ***


Lucia Alberti

Peaceful ‘Minoans’ vs. warlike ‘Mycenaeans’?

The meaning of weaponry found in the Knossian tombs of the Late Bronze Age: roles, status and multiple identities


More then a century of studies and research in Aegean archaeology have passed: Evans’ beliefs about the essentially peaceful civilization he was discovering have quite often found sympathetic echoes down the years. For decades a contrast has been made between Minoan Crete, as a quasi-‘peace and love’ culture, and Mycenaean Greece, as one relishing violence.

More recently new research and discoveries have made it difficult to proceed unthinkingly with these labels. One can no longer accept the preconceptions of the past.

One of the unresolved questions in the II millennium BC Aegean is the identity and the role of the so-called ‘warriors’ buried at Knossos, Chania and Phaistos in the XVth and XIVth centuries BC and the relationship their internments have with similar burials in mainland Greece. First they have been considered bona fide Mycenaeans invading Crete to take it over; then Mycenaean mercenaries called in by the Minoan rulers; and, most recently, they have even been recast as Minoan rulers imitating warlike Mainlanders.

Much of the discussion rests on the interpretation of the weapon sets that are an important and distinctive part of the assemblages: are they instruments of war or status symbols? Are they effective weapons used by warriors or insignae dignitatis divorced from any practical function?


This contribution analyses the possible meanings of the weapons in the Knossian graves against the wider contexts of the relationships between Minoan Crete and Mainland Greece, casting a more historical perspective on the social role and status of the people buried at Knossos at this critical time.

*** ***

  1. Fernández-Crespo


  1. Ordoño


The 300 of San Juan ante Portam Latinam. New radiocarbon dates and socio-paleodemographic implications of a possible Late Neolithic/Early Chalcolithic massacre in the Mid-Upper Ebro Valley (North-Central Spain).


San Juan ante Portam Latinam (Álava, North-Central Spain) is one of a small number of cases in Neolithic/Chalcolithic Europe that have been seen as possible large-scale massacre sites. Here, we present a new corpus of AMS radiocarbon dates, which is added to the previous database in order to differentiate between what is potentially a single episode of deposition, versus deposition over some centuries. Bayesian modeling is used to that effect. The question gains its particular importance from the fact that a number of individuals exhibit unhealed projectile injuries, while still others have arrowheads in close association with the skeleton, suggesting that they may have been embedded in the body. If the site represents a mass burial following a massacre, the number of individuals involved (>338, mainly young adult males, though including women and children) would make this the largest such event known for the European Neolithic/Chalcolithic. Moreover, a paleodemograhic approach is conducted so as to assess the implications that such a buried population size could have in this particular geographical area, where it has traditionally been assumed that human groups were organized in small scale settlements.

*** ***

Alessandro Brambilla


How to shape a federal army: variety of methods in the historical and socio-political frame


Modern scholars devoted great attention to the study of the different paths followed by ancient poleis, particularly Athens and Sparta, in creating their citizen militia. At the same time, ancient sources preserve many details concerning the structure of the armed forces of hegemonic leagues as well as of alliances between states. However, when we focus on the world of federalism in ancient Greece, we find relatively few thorough studies investigating how single federal states managed to organize their armies, and an almost complete lack of efforts to compare in details these various instances. This could lead to the deceptive temptation of considering a single, peculiar example as an overall model for the creation of a proper federal army.


My attempt in this paper is to fill, at least in part, this gap. Through a comparison between the federal armies of various koina, particularly those of the Boeotians, of the Arcadians and of the Thessalians, I will try to emphasise the large variety of methods of enrolment and mobilization adopted by these states. Moreover, I will try to investigate how the historical and socio-political circumstances in which each single koinon was established, played a crucial role in shaping its federal army.

*** ***

David Colwill


So contrary to his mild and generous nature: Aemilius Paullus’ mass enslavement of the Molossians

This paper looks at the disjuncture between the actions and literary presentation of one of the Roman Republic’s exemplary military leaders, and how ancient attempts to reconcile this dissonance have distorted modern historiography.


One morning in 167 bce a Roman army under the command of Aemilius Paullus enslaved 150,000 people from seventy settlements in Molossia, a once prominent tribal region of the federated republic of Epirus. The Molossians had unwisely supported Perseus against the Romans in the Third Macedonian War. They were quelled by praetor L. Anicius Gallus whilst Paullus was successfully pursuing the war against the Macedonians, with the systematic, mass enslavement occurring on Paullus’ return journey to Italy.

This act, so effectively destroying the Molossian ethnos that Strabo (7. 7) commented on Molossia’s desolation in his own day, was deemed by ancient authors to be contrary to Paullus’ exemplary and ideal Roman character. Thus, Livy (45. 34. 1-9), Plutarch (Aem. 6. 6, 11, 29) and Appian (Ill. 10. 2. 9) portrayed it as uncharacteristic of the gentle-minded Paullus and made the Senate culpable in their narratives.


There is no evidence of contemporary censure regarding the enslavement however. In this period, mass enslavement, even when effectively eradicating an entire group, was instead within a normative range of treatments available to Roman commanders towards communities who had placed themselves under their authority (fides). It was only later, in attempting to manipulate Paullus into a literary ideal type, that this act of mass enslavement was rendered incongruous.

*** ***


Kramer, Margaretha


Of Ships and Shields: The Dipylon shield and the Mycenaean galley at the Bronze Age-Early Iron Age transition


This paper argues that the adoption of two military technological innovations at the end of the Bronze Age, a certain type of shield and a certain type of ship, resulted in so successful a warrior package that it was one of few things that continued unbroken through the Dark Ages to the Geometric period and caused the LH IIIC flourishing of coastal sites (Lefkandi, Kynos) along the Euboean Gulf, as well as contributing heavily to the prominence of coastal sites in Central Greece (Lefkandi, Athens) in the Early Iron Age.


Ships are among the last (LH IIIC Middle, ca. 1150 BCE) Mycenaean depictions. These ships, on pictorial kraters from sites in Central Greece (Kynos, Kalapodi, and Lefkandi), are different from earlier ship depictions: instead of showing high-volume sailing vessels, suitable for bulk trade, they depict sleek rowed galleys, eminently suitable for maritime warfare and piracy. That these galleys were indeed used for hostile encounters is shown by the warriors depicted on these ships and engaging in combat. These warriors are armed with a new type of shield: whereas earlier Mycenaean shields were large, covering a warrior from neck to knee, these new shields are small and either round or with incurved sides. I argue that the latter, occurring on present evidence only in Kynos and Volos, is the precursor of the Geometric Dipylon Shield.


When the first Dipylon Shields occur in Attic Middle Geometric depictions, they are likewise combined with galleys that look much like the LH IIIC ones. This suggests that galley and shield formed a successful warrior package that survived the end of the Bronze Age and propelled sites like Lefkandi and Athens to prominence during the chaotic years following the collapse of palatial Mycenaean civilization.

*** ***


Elizabeth Pearson


Decimation: A reinforcement or inversion of unit cohesion?

Decimation is probably the most famous punishment inflicted in the Roman army.  As described by Polybius, one tenth of a unit accused of cowardice or gross dereliction of duty was chosen by lot and then beaten to death (fustuarium) by the rest of the legion.  The officers of the offending maniples and cohorts often received the same punishment.  Decimation appears to have been used extremely infrequently, with the vast majority of examples from the Civil Wars of the first century BC.  It has traditionally been viewed as a method of instilling discipline through fear, and a purification of rogue elements from the body of the legion.


In recent years there has been a growing interest in applying psychological analyses of combat experience developed during the last century to the ancient world.  These studies emphasise the importance of the ‘primary group’, i.e. personal relationships between individual soldiers who live and fight together, and low ranking officers in maintaining unit morale and cohesion.  These concerns are reflected by ancient writers.  Among others, Polybius and Caesar stress the importance of centurions to battle success, while the role of the contiburium, the eight men who shared a tent, mess and duties, reflects the modern ‘primary group’ relationship.


The aim of this paper is to re-examine decimation in the light of these modern approaches to the experience and motivations of the individual soldier.  What allowed the legion, held together by personal relationships, to execute its own members?  Why were they willing to execute their centurions, who were so important to the survival of the unit?  Why was it necessary for the execution to be carried out by the legion as a whole in such a violent manner?

*** ***


The role of Theramenes in the battle of Cyzicus


Our ships are lost; Mindarus is gone; our men are starving;

we know not what to do

Plutarch, Alcibiades, 28, 6.


The 410 BC battle of Cyzicus was one of the worst Spartan defeats during the Peloponnesian War. There are three major reports of the conflict: Xenophon, History of Greece, I, 1, 11-18, Diodorus Siculus, XIII, 49-51 and Plutarch, Alcibiades, 28. There are also minor allusions to the battle in Aelius Aristides, I, 264 and Justin, 5, 4, 1-3. There is an interesting mention in Alcibiades’ portrait by Polyaenus in his Stratagems of War.

One of the biggest issues many scholars examined about the battle is the existence of two different versions in Xenophon and Diodorus. Diodorus’ narration is longer and more detailed than the one by Xenophon. Polyaenus’ version, indeed, seems to be a summary of Diodorus’ account.


One of the principal differences between all the sources is about the role of Theramenes. Xenophon does not give space to “Cothurnus’” actions, he only writes that Theramenes came from Macedonia with twenty ships, but that Alcibiades was the major responsible for the Athenian victory. Plutarch does not mention Theramenes at all. In 28, 4 he only writes that Alcibiades ordered to his “fellowcommanders” to sail slowly and remain in the rear. Diodorus, indeed, describes a complex strategy: while Alcibiades’ ships drew the Lacedaemonians out to a battle, Theramenes and Thrasybulus encircled the enemy in order to block his retreat. After that, Theramenes joined up with the Chaereas’ infantry, engaged in a battle on land and helped Thrasybulus’ troops as well. Likewise, according to Polyaenus, Theramenes was the major author of blocking the retreat to the Lacaedemonians.


To sum up, the aim of this paper is to analyze the reasons behind the different strategies of battle mentioned by the sources, trying to investigate another confirmation of Diodorus’ position pro Theramenes and the interesting summary we read in Polyaenus’ Stratagems of War.

*** ***

Tine Scheijnen


Pictures of death in ancient Greek epic

“A poppy before it ripens is cut by a newly sharpened scythe, mown down by the gleaming bronze when it was ready to grow with the dews of spring. Such was the son of Priam when killed by Achilles,” (Posthomerica 4.424-431; translation James 2004).

Among the clatter of mythological swords and spears in the Homeric and Posthomeric epics about the Trojan war, similes pop up like flowers in cruel battle scenes, bringing a moment of relief from the bloody narrative, or on the contrary, strengthening its effect. They are a striking, somewhat puzzling yet typical feature of ancient epic from Homer onward. Other than their undeniably aesthetic effect, these images can also fulfil a wide range of narrative functions, establishing structural links in the epic, raising suspense, contributing to characterization or critically reflecting upon the events in the story.


Queerly attractive are similes in the most bloody scenes. Buxton grasps their ever-lasting appeal: “sometimes there is no other word but ‘beautiful’ to describe the evocation of the death of an otherwise insignificant warrior” (2004, 151-152). This paper will look into that particular kind of similes about death in battle. From Homer onward, falling trees and raging lions alike have been used to depict victim and victor, highlighting the two different sides of warrior death. In the later reception of these images, however, focus shifts to a critical reception of that Homeric heroic ideal. The Posthomerica of Quintus of Smyrna (3rd AD), otherwise an explicit sequel to the Iliad, adopts the similes of Homer, but establishes an innovative contrast between the joyful mass-killing of heroes in their pursuit of honour, and of the despair of their helpless victims. His reworking thus provides a modern evaluation of his ancient model: as the same war rages on, new poppies grow in Trojan fields.

*** ***


Stuart McCunn


Supply and Command: The Quaestor Exercitus


Throughout most of late antiquity, the Danubian frontier was the subject of frequent invasions. For that reason the empire was forced to keep a substantial body of soldiers on this frontier at all times, even though its very instability made the collection of supplies from these frontier provinces questionable. Due to the difficulties of managing this situation the emperor Justinian created a new position, the quaestor exercitus, with responsibility for both civil and military affairs in the lower Danubian provinces. This was a shift from the principles in place since Diocletian: that civil and military posts were to be kept separate.

The quaestor exercitus is rarely accorded the attention it deserves. These officials were a vital part of the logistical apparatus of the late Roman state and were regarded on the same level as the praetorian prefects. An examination of this position gives us the opportunity to see the way in which Roman officials were changing to meet the changing needs of a smaller empire. Were these officials primarily military with some civil powers? Or were they civil officials who were given limited command of the army to make their jobs easier?


In this paper I will outline what is known of the quaestor exercitus and the way in which such a figure was integrated into the Roman state. In order to do this I will examine the various holders of the post whom we know about, as well as what was thought about the position more generally. I will draw on evidence from sources such as the Justinianic Code as well as histories and legal works.

*** ***

Stephen O’Connor

Military Rates of Pay and Food Prices in the Classical Greek World


Major works on the pay of Classical Greek military forces have argued that the food prices expected in the markets provided for Classical Greek sailors and soldiers on campaign could determine the amounts paid to soldiers and sailors by their poleis and other employers (Pritchett 1971, 23; Loomis 1998, 35-36; Kallet 2001, 296).  If these arguments were correct, and Classical Greek rates of military pay were determined by the prices expected to be found on campaigns, then particular rates of pay could tell us about the conditions in markets provided to armies and navies campaigning in particular areas of operations, and thus one might aim to recover data about the robustness and flexibility of markets in grain (and other foods) in specific regions and periods of the Classical Greek world.


But an analysis of the ancient evidence for rates of pay for Classical Greek military forces shows that prices for basic subsistence goods are never attested as a factor in the setting of rates of military pay.  Instead, analysis of this evidence demonstrates that rates of pay were sometimes raised by warring states in order to recruit more manpower than their enemies.  In addition to competition for manpower, demand to (rapidly) recruit mercenaries also sometimes led employers to offer higher rates of pay to Greek sailors and soldiers.  In sum, rates of pay were fundamentally determined by one main factor:  the financial resources available to military employers (whether Greek states or non-Greek kings or rulers) to pay or attract sailors and soldiers.


Although military pay rates were never altered in response to food prices, there is no evidence that high prices ever led to any difficulties for any Greek military force because of their inability to fund purchases of food from their pay.  If military pay was always sufficient for subsistence, then one can conclude from our evidence for the lack of response of military pay rates to changes in food prices in the classical period, and from the often unchanging and customary nature of these rates, that severe and sustained price increases in military markets must have been rare—and therefore that the marketing structures and networks of merchants present in the Greek world were usually sufficiently robust to permit tens of thousands of men to get their food through markets for years at a time without problem.

*** ***

Dr. Hilary Becker

Inscribed Etruscan helmets: mapping function and meaning for the Etruscan soldier


The inscriptions and graffiti made by soldiers are seemingly as old as civilization itself. These often ephemeral texts can celebrate, commemorate, mock or taunt, and they can be both sacred and profane. In the modern era soldiers famously proclaimed their presence with mottos like “Kilroy was here” or inscribed the names of fallen comrades on military gear. From the Etruscan world comes a corpus of inscribed helmets whose meaning as a group has seldom been probed.


Since a helmet could be inscribed at different moments in a soldier’s life, the various contexts and motivations for inscribing must be treated in turn. A helmet could potentially be inscribed when it was being used or when it was dedicated to the gods. A helmet could be inscribed once it was taken as booty or even when it was relegated to the tombs. While inscribing armor is a common phenomenon in the Mediterranean, it is worthwhile to separate out the Etruscan corpus to see whether the Etruscans practiced each of these scenarios.

Two categories of inscriptions on Etruscan helmets are especially revealing.  First, proprietary inscriptions provide evidence of who purchased armor in Etruria.  Since Etruscan historical sources are absent, this information provides valuable insight that we would not otherwise have for the mechanics of the Etruscan army.  Secondly, there is a set of numerical inscriptions found on helmets from different contexts. This paper considers just what might have been the function of these numbers within the Etruscan army. Where and when an Etruscan soldier chooses to make such an inscription may ultimately tell us something about how he negotiates his role as a soldier within the larger Etruscan community. Looking at these inscriptions en masse also provides an opportunity to learn more about the Etruscan martial sphere, which is otherwise not well understood.

*** ***

Aimee Schofield


Women waging war: women’s roles in Classical Greek siege warfare


Women’s lives in the ancient world are often thrust to one side by writers of the time. In the military sphere, women’s voices are almost non-existent and they appear only as camp followers or those left behind to be defended by their men. This changes whenever a siege occurs. Suddenly, the home and the battlefield are one and the same, and the strict line which divides the genders in the ancient Greek city-state become blurred. Women would continue to undertake domestic duties (for example at the Siege of Plataea in 429-427, where one hundred and ten women stayed behind when the majority of the city was evacuated to cook for the men who were defending the city). However, advice from the fourth century BC advises city leaders to use women on the battlements to make the numbers of troops available appear greater to the enemy, demonstrating that gender lines could become flexible in an emergency. Women might also join in with the active fighting once a city wall was breached, climbing onto rooftops with their slaves and children in order to hurl roof tiles, stones, and anything else they could get their hands on at the invading enemy.


This paper will argue that while women are generally invisible elsewhere in ancient military history, siege warfare brings the women of the ancient Greek world into sight not only because sieges brought about unusual circumstances but also because women actively participated in the fighting without being judged transgressive by the male authors of our sources. This paper will also argue that there was an increase in the blurring of gender lines as sieges progressed and that transgressive behaviour became more likely (and less criticised) the greater the danger became.

*** ***

Wawrzyniec Miścicki

Hoplite Warfare in the City of Images. Representations of Phalanx in Archaic Greek Iconography.


This paper aims to address the issue of representation of phalanx formation, as well as hoplite tactics in general, in the Archaic Greek iconography. The question of whether depiction of warfare on Greek vases give support to the notion of the development of phalanx formation in the Archaic Period is still very much open, with scholars often forming contradictory assumptions as a part of prolonged “phalanx debate”. The reliability of the iconographic material is also subject of debate focused on supposed “mythical” or “epic” nature of the scenes as well as the motives of artisans and limitations of pottery as medium for presenting accurate depictions of warfare. Still, the Greek vases are the largest cluster of sources available for studying Archaic warfare, with fairly established context and extended methodology of research.

As part of extensive research project over 4000 objects were studied to form a comprehensive narration about how warfare and warriors as social and symbolical figures were reflected in the Greek imagery. This would serve as background to the analysis of the problem of depictions of mass infantry formations in the Archaic Period. First, the different notions of phalanx and its supposed features will be presented, followed by the explanation of methodology used for interpreting vases, from simple Panofsky’s iconology, through the structuralism and poststructuralism of Barthes, to the semiology and pictorial semiotics. Finally, the nature of tactics depicted in the vases, as well as its connection to the society which had produced these objects, will be presented on various examples. The sample will include both Corinthian and Athenian pottery, dating from 7th c. BC up to the Persian Wars and beyond, into 5th century to provide further context for the scenes.

*** ***

Panel for IAWC 2016, Gothenburg

Under Siege: defence and assault in ancient Greek cities

The study of warfare in Archaic and Classical Greece tends to focus on pitched battles between warriors: the equipment used, the deployment and tactics of battle, and the experience of the ‘face of battle’. Recently released books on Marathon, Thermopylae, and other famous engagements emphasize pitched battles, and the belief that they are decisive and the most important aspects of Greek warfare. Meanwhile, siege warfare is often treated separately, as an ancillary to the apparently more important pitched battles.

However, examination of the ancient sources reveals that siege warfare was perhaps far more common than is often realized. Despite – for example – Alcaeus’ fragment that emphasizes that ‘fighting men are a city’s walls’ (fr. 112), it seems clear that fortifications played an important role throughout Greek history from at least the Bronze Age: every town in the Homeric epics appears to be walled. From Troy onwards, the typical city at war in Archaic Greek poetry was the city under siege: ‘One side fought to protect their parents and their city, while the other was intent on destroying it’ (Shield of Herakles 239–240).

Meanwhile, studies of Greek fortifications tend to be the product of specialists that focus on the creation of gazetteers of fortified sites and to catalogue the characteristics of Greek fortifications. These studies tend to emphasize architectural features and typically avoid interpreting walls within a broader socio-cultural or socio-military context.

The lectures that are part of this panel seek to place siege warfare and developments in Greek fortifications in a broader context. Roel Konijnendijk will show that the defence of strong positions was central to Classical Greek thinking about how to fight wars. Owen Rees aims to defend the reputation of classical Greek sieges, arguing they were an arena for innovation and tactical nuance. Matthew Lloyd will argue that the destruction of cities was an important step in the development of ideas about the Greek city. Josho Brouwers seeks to debunk the common assumption that fortifications were constructed largely out of a sense of insecurity.


Roel Konijnendijk

Playing dice with the city at stake

For more than a century, scholars have claimed that pitched battle was the central feature of Greek warfare. Greek city-states resolved their wars by marching out to a suitably flat plain and stabbing at each other until one side or the other gave way. The Greeks were so intent on bravely fighting battles in the open that all other forms of warfare, including siege warfare, were neglected.

With this paper I mean to show that the opposite was true. The Classical Greeks were keenly aware that pitched battle was the least controllable form of fighting, and that the outcome depended largely on chance; as one source put it, fighting battles was ‘playing dice with the city at stake’. Their solution was to try to avoid head-on engagements as much as they could. They preferred to fight from an advantageous position – on a strong hill, behind a field fortification, or near a friendly city wall, with allies nearby to come to the rescue. Indeed, all surviving military manuals advise against open battle as a needlessly risky and inefficient path to victory. This Greek awareness of the risks of pitched battle provides the context for the scale and sophistication of Greek fortifications and siege operations.


Owen Rees

Resurrecting the classical Greek siege

The classical Greek siege has a very poor reputation. When compared to some more illustrious practitioners of siege warfare, such as the Assyrians or the Macedonians, the Greeks have been tried and found wanting. To that end it is an often neglected area of Greek military history, its absence justified by the underdeveloped nature of its execution. Yet, by re-evaluating Greek sieges a picture emerges that can, on the one hand, challenge this prejudice, and, on the other hand, offer greater breadth to our understanding of wider Greek military practices.

This paper will examine Greek siege tactics and their execution, showing how adaptable and innovative Greek armies were capable of being as both the aggressors and the besieged.  Concurrently this paper will explore the various forms that sieges could take – from the siege of a walled city, to the siege of a barbarian village, and even the siege of an island. By surveying the wide array of sieges available for study this paper will show that the Greeks were very adept in their task-specific craft and, contrary to current scholarship, very capable of this multi-faceted form of warfare.


Matthew Lloyd (presented for Matthew by Cezary Kucewicz)


Walls come tumbling down! The destruction of settlements in Early Greece


As the cliché goes, history is written by the winners. For archaeology, however, the reverse seems to be the case. From Akrotiri to Pompeii, the city that is abandoned, buried, or otherwise utterly destroyed is often far more useful in our understanding of the ancient world than the city which flourishes, and is rebuilt again and again, destroying its previous incarnations. After the destruction of the Mycenaean Palaces ca. 1200 BC, there is little evidence for the destruction of settlements until the eighth century BC, when a number of significant sites – Lefkandi, Zagora, Asine, and others – are abandoned or destroyed.

What was the significance of the destruction of cities in the eighth century and later? How reliable is the archaeological evidence for destruction? How can we understand the Greek city from those which have been destroyed? In this paper I will argue that the increase in the destruction and abandonment of settlements is a significant moment in the development of Greek military and political thought. I will argue that they mark a certain sophistication of warfare which has not been apparent in the Aegean for several centuries. But I will also place these destructions in their context of the continuing development of Greek warfare through the Iron Age into the Archaic Period.


Josho Brouwers

Fear and fortifications in ancient Greece

Anthony Snodgrass, in his Archaic Greece (1980), as well as his famous essay on Greek fortifications, suggests that the prime motive for Greeks to build walls was fear. Louis Rawlings, in his book The Ancient Greeks at War (2007), begins his chapter on fortifications and siege warfare with the unambiguous statement that ‘construction of defences in stone implies the perception of significant threat (real or imagined)’ (p. 128). Indeed, I think most modern commentators readily accept that fear from natives, pirates, or neighbours was the main reason for ancient peoples to construct walls.

In this lecture, I wish to draw this assertion into question. First of all, we need to be sensitive as far as our vocabulary is concerned: the terms ‘fortifications’ or ‘defensive architecture’ imply a particular interpretation of an architectural feature that may or may not reflect that feature’s actual use (cf. the Archaic ‘retaining wall’ at Eretria). Secondly, we need to treat walls as meaningfully constituted, and therefore an integral component in the construction of identities – communal and otherwise – in the past. Walls, gates, and towers did not only defend a community or particular social groups, but also defined it, and were actively used in delineating territory and people, for managing traffic, and to engage in status rivalry.

*** **********************************

*** ***


Teytelbaum Evgeny


Between history, rhetoric and tragedy: battle descriptions in Polybius


Our aim  is to make a re-interpretation of the traditional views on Polybian historiographical methods on the material of historian’s battle descriptions. Contrary to the widespread opinion shared by modern researchers, Polybius was highly influenced by the common trend prevailing in ancient historiography and was not alien to using rhetorical and tragic elements in his battle descriptions. The real difference between Polybian battle descriptions and those of other ancient historians was that he wanted to show warfare as an episteme. Polybius transformed battle description into a very sophisticated scheme, which included perception of enemy general, making battle plans and every stage of its realization. His narration is full of direct author’s comments, topographical details and a detailed description of decision-making process. This was against the mainstream of Ancient historiography and to make his work more acceptable among his readers, Polybius intensively used dramatization in his work. Achaean historian himself was unable to escape entirely from the style of his predecessors, although his descriptions constantly show his own diligence. Different tragic tricks alongside with the rhetorical devices of ecphrasis, diegesis and syncrisis and epideictic forms of praise and blame were preserved by the historian to a greater degree, than it is traditionally considered. The aim of such methods was merely to make a more vivid illustration of historian’s views.

*** ***

Tomas Alusik


 Slinging in the prehistoric Aegean: new perspectives


Since the 1991 Vutiropulos’s paper (The Sling in the Aegean Bronze Age. Antiquity 65. p. 279-286) on Aegean Bronze Age slinging a new research has brought out an interesting new evidence on this military activity. In several sites (e.g. on Pseira or Salamis) an assemblage of rounded stones/pebbles was found, which apparently were collected on purpose as a stockpile of sling stones. Moreover, in some osteoarchaeological material (e.g. from Hagios Charalambs or Petras-Kephala) specific head or facial injuries occur, which most probably were the results of sling stones’ impact. This new evidence will be presented and analysed. The results will help to clarify the extension and meaning of the slinging in the frame of warlike activities of the Aegean civilizations in the Bronze Age.

*** ***

Jesse Obert


The Role of Attendants in Classical Greek Combat


A detailed study of the literary and the archaeological evidence produces new theories about the combat roles and significance of attendants in the Classical period, 490 to 338 BCE. In the Ancient Greek world, attendants were armed, predominately slave, assistants

who stood behind the battle line. Though slave attendants have rarely been studied by historians, our sources clearly suggest that each hoplite infantryman had at least one attendant. Attendants brought extra equipment to the battle line, aided wounded troops, and

occasionally engaged the enemy. The constant movement of attendants between the battle line and the camp created a ‘cloud’ of support troops which limited the maneuverability of the battle line. Ultimately, the roles of attendants are important to our understanding of warfare. They challenge how we reconstruct Classical battles and complicate the development and implementation of ancient battle tactics.


*** ***


Andrea Scarpato


The Limits of Realism: Sparta in the early third century


The 21st century has experienced the first application of International Relations (IR) theories to Ancient History. The interpretative tools provided by Realism, a branch of IR, have been employed to explore the interactions among Hellenistic powers. This has generated both a pessimistic and also a simplistic view of the Hellenistic wold: a world that featured a multitude of states consistently engaged in warfare and struggle for power where “international law” was minimal and not by any means unenforceable. The Hellenistic Mediterranean, therefore, featured a significant scenario of conflict where societies were essentially military and diplomatically aggressive. Was this really grim the reality of the Hellenistic world? Were the states trapped in a cruel logic of self-help and self-interest as postulated by realism? Was “international law” rudimentary?


In contrast with the latest studies, this paper aims to suggest the limitations of Realism for the assessment of Hellenistic history and the multifaceted nature of the new world arisen after the death of Alexander: this world can be seen to have featured a much more complex reality, characterized not only by consistent warfare, but also by a significant increase in interstate co-operation and efforts to circumvent conflicts without recourse to violence. Spartan foreign policy in the early third century B.C. represents an important caveat to assess the mechanisms of interaction among Hellenistic powers. The resort by Sparta to kinship bonds (syngheneia) with Taras in order to contain the expansionism of Romans and Lucanians, its intervention in the interstate arbitration involving two Cretan poleis and its leadership of a vast coalition animated by the same feelings constitute the tip of the iceberg of the interstate interactions. The cruel logic proposed by Realism per se will not be sufficient to describe such a complex world.

*** ***


Maria Helena Trindade Lopes

Ronaldo Gurgel Pereira


War and the Egyptian concept of Universal Empire: from Megiddo to Kadesh


The Egyptian model of divine monarchy was a multifaceted concept. One of its most characteristic categories is noticed through the so-called “program of actions” of a pharaoh’s biography.

Such program established a series of royal prerogatives which the king was obliged to obey in a daily basis. By following those ritual prescriptions, the pharaoh was actually protecting the Cosmic order – ie. Maat – and also keeping the order of the material world. Thus, it was up to the pharaonic authority to assure social justice, to perform the cult to restore the energy of the gods, and to leave in the world a living legacy for the memory of next generations, in the form of stone buildings.

However, the pharaoh also had a divine duty as the monarch of Egypt. As a “Warrior King” the pharaoh was the ultimate protector of the universe. Hence, every single war waged by Egypt was culturally justified as a defensive measure, since the pharaoh was incapable of taking aggressive – thus chaotic – actions. Consequently, under Egyptian perspective, the war was a ritual practice, aiming to pacify the world. It had to be the response to provocative actions and rebellions of foreign enemies, whose mere existence jeopardize the cosmic balance. Therefore, the pharaoh by making war was ritually reproducing the role played by the demiurge when he fought the forces of chaos and created the material world.

So, when a pharaoh expanded Egyptian territory, he was also giving continuity to the demiurge’s work, since he was expanding his own cosmic rule over chaotic peoples. Hereby, the image of a king who submitted enemies and rebels was a topos of the royal ideology. Such imagery kept being reproduced since the pre-dynastic times (ca. 3200 BC), throughout the entire pharaonic period.

This work aims to present two emblematic cases of that ideology. Thutmosis III (18th dynasty) and Ramses II (19th dynasty) committed their lives to expand Egyptian borders and to create and protect an Egyptian imperial presence in foreign lands.

*** ***


Birgitta Leppänen Sjöberg


Wars Gendered Voices


Il. 22. 153. ‘ And near the springs are broad washing tanks, fair and made of stone, where the wives and fair daughters of the Trojans were used to wash bright clothes formerly in the time of peace, before the sons of the Achaeans came’.


The Iliad is the first Greek written evidences verifying the horrors of war and how war affected females and their spatial behaviour. Their private space was diminished as they were not free to move as previously and implicit in this passage we may read that the outside space changed and was associated to female vulnerability. The women of Troy were exposed for war crimes conducted by foreign males, in this case the enemy army from Greece.


This paper will examine wartime violence and the identity of the victims and agents and how intersection of various identities as age, gender, sexuality and ethnicity construct legitimacy for abuse. The triggers for violence, for example psychological and behavioural, conducted towards females and males in war conflicts are of importance to understand, as well as the spatial and cultural context of violence.

*** ***

Dr. Marek Verčík


Testimony of the Identity or the Internationality?

Archaic Greek mercenaries and their reflection in the sanctuaries of Ionia.


The Greek mercenaries or “Soldiers of fortune”, who were trying their luck repeatedly in exotic countries in the service of foreign rulers, have always aroused great interest of the scholars as well as the general audience. The main research focus from the beginning was the reconstruction of the historical-political (e.g. Bettalli 2013) and socio-economic role (e.g. Hunt 2007) of the mercenaries within the Polis Society. Consequently, we gradually understand much better the origin of the mercenary phenomenon in the archaic period. However, the cultural-historical perspective of this phenomenon has rarely been analysed in classical research; even though the scholars have always pointed out the importance of the mercenaries in the co-establishing of cultural contacts between Greece and the states of the eastern Mediterranean or Egypt since the late 8th century BC. The reason for this research gap was mainly the humble distribution of archaeological sources.


It is therefore the main purpose of this paper to present the large amount of new findings from the Greek sanctuaries: In particular there are archaic armour scales of Assyrian type, which for the first time provide a direct evidence for the dedications of the East-Greek mercenaries at home, in Ionia. Central for the examination is the nature of this archaeological record, because they represent primarily personal items dedicated in panhellenic cult places. Thus, considering the function of the Greek sanctuaries as a central meeting place of worship and the community, the high social status of these objects will be visible. On the other hand, regarding the known “materiality of object” approach (Dietler 2010), the analysis of this objects allowed a new interpretation of mercenaries’ role as a transmitter of knowledge, technology and ideas in the archaic Mediterranean.

*** ***

Shih-Cong Fan Chiang


Virgins and the Persians: Sexual Violence against the Captured Roman Women in the Romano-Persian Wars



This paper studies the presentation of sexual violence in the conflicts between Rome and Persia in Late Antiquity. Whereas the Romano-Persian wars have attracted considerable attention, the literary study of women’s fates during wartime has been largely neglected. This topic deserves more attention to shed new light on both the nature of ancient warfare and the literary history of the postclassical era. In the sixth century, the Great King Ḵosrow I selected 2,000 girls from the captured Romans and sent them to the Turks as gifts. However, having been tormented by such misfortunes and terrified by the prospect of being violated by the nomads, all these maidens decided to commit suicide. This story seems to have become well-known among the Christians in the Near East, and different versions were preserved in many late antique and medieval texts.


Indeed, the accounts of these Roman girls were clothed with a variety of literary motifs, and certain similar episodes can be found—with some variation—in the works of late antique hagiography and historiography. The story of these virgins were thus recorded and then transformed into shared memories among local Christians. Nevertheless, sexual violence against the Empire’s female population during the Persian wars could have been prevalent. Some women were either treated as concubines or raped by the Sasanids at Amida, Apamea and other cities. In addition, two elite Antiochene women chose to commit suicide rather than being raped by the enemy in 540. Therefore, while the suicide of these Roman girls cannot be taken at face value, the reportage of these church historians and chroniclers, may, to some extent, reflect the situation of the Empire’s society during wartime, and some Roman virgins could possibly have been captured by the Sasanids and even faced the threat of sexual violence during captivity.

*** ***


Rasmus Birch Iversen


Changing weapons, changing warfare, changing rituals and changing society in Southern Scandinavia from the pre-Roman to the Migration Period and beyond.

The great warfare-related deposits of weapons found in various southern Scandinavian bogs offer a great opportunity to study the development of weapons technology and the composition of armies through several centuries, as well as ritual changes over time. The sacrificed skeletal material from Alken Enge, dated around the beginning of our time, give an important supplement with an insight to who fought and how. If considered carefully the finds reflect the changes in Scandinavian societies showing a development into a complex and specialized weapons system during the third to fifth centuries paradoxically changing to a more simple system in the period beyond. It is believed to reflect the change from an essentially conservative elite-based, endemic warfare within a system of prestige economy to a more territorially based warfare after the collapse of the western Roman world, demanding larger, but less well-trained armies. A change from a period with both symmetrical and asymmetrical warfare to a period when Scandinavian rulers began to manifest themselves as equals to their European peers, however still ritually maintaining the symbolic roots to their ancient warlike past.

*** ***

Mary Fragkaki


IG II2 844: a re-examination


The aim of this paper is to examine a case of undeclared warfare between Athens and Aratus of Sikyon. Information about this warfare can be drawn from epigraphic evidence (IG II2 844). In this honorific inscription about Eumaridas of Kydonia there is a reference about the raid of Aitolian Boukris to Athens (229/8 BC). The exact identity of this person is unsure, provided that there is no reference neither to his country nor his father’s name. Modern scholarship defines the raid of Boukris clearly as a raid of Aitolian piracy. In this paper I will attempt to correlate this raid with the relations between Macedonia, the Achaic League, Aitolia and Athens in this historic era. I will attempt to prove the Aitolians as “tools” in the hands of others (Aratus of Sikyon) and not as pirates. Athens, after the ejection of the Macedonian garrison from Peiraeus (in the first months of 229) and despite Aratus’ efforts, did not make an ally with the Achaean League, the great enemy of Macedonia. This refusal was probably the cause of Boukris’ raid. Despite the ejection of the Macedonian garrison from Piraeus, various inscriptions indicate good relations between Athens and Antigonids; this was another factor to account for the Athenian refusal to Aratus, because if the Athenians allied with Aratus (Aratus and Macedonia were enemies), they would have prompted war against Macedonia.

*** ***

Thea Messina

Pietro Militello

War in the Early Bronze Age Sicily


In this paper the first results will be presented of a wider project aiming to survey the possible evidence for war activities in the Sicilian Early and Middle Bronze Age (2200-1400 a.C.), corresponding with the Castelluccio culture. In fact, the widespread idea among scholars is that Castelluccio culture represented an egalitarian society, peacefully living through agriculture and breeding. Even if presence of trade and craft specialization has been demonstrated, the idea of a substantially peaceful culture has not been revised. There are, however, many elements hinting at phenomena of stress and internal competition which hint at a different interpretation such as a few fortified sites, the presence of stone “knives” as tomb furniture and also some communal depositions (Castelluccio, Marcita, Calaforno) perhaps due to war victims, and many sites whose destruction, until now considered as due to earthquakes or burning, can be explained as effect of war activities. In order to analyse these different kinds of evidences a multidisciplinary approach will be used, putting together with the archaeological results, data coming from physical anthropology and scientific analysis.

*** ***


Cezary Kucewicz

The rise of Greek citizen army or the real ‘hoplite revolution.


For the past century the orthodox model for the study of early Greek warfare has had a major influence over historians’ understanding of archaic Greece. The model, most clearly formulated in the works of V. D. Hanson, takes the rise of the hoplite phalanx, the so-called ‘hoplite revolution’, as central to the political and social development of early archaic Greek poleis, placing it at the end of the eighth century BC. Despite a number of attempts by revisionist historians to challenge Hanson’s theory, the orthodox model still stands as the dominant one in the study of early Greek warfare, as confirmed by the most recent edited volume by D. Kagan and G. F. Viggiano (Men of Bronze: Hoplite Warfare in Ancient Greece, Princeton 2013).

The aim of this paper is to revisit some of the central assumptions of the orthodox theory and to offer a different approach to the study of archaic Greek war and society. I will focus my attention primarily on the composition of archaic Greek armies, as well as the procedures concerning the retrieval and treatment of the war dead. Using a variety of evidence, including iconography, gravestones and early mythological accounts, I will suggest that the orthodox ‘hoplite revolution’ took place much later, if at all, than currently assumed, and must be seen as the result of a number of political, social and cultural changes which took place in the Greek poleis of late archaic / early classical periods. The origins of hoplite warfare, as it will be argued, go hand-in-hand with the rise of first Greek citizen armies.

*** ***

Johan Ling

Rock Art, Warfare and Long Distance Trade


War related social and ritual traits are common features in the Scandinavian rock art from the Bronze Age. There are staged fights in boats, combat scenes on the ground,  but also a few  killing scenes. The presence of violence is probably linked to a pronounced general social inequality within society, which is indicated in the rock art itself, and also in other parts of the archaeological material from the Nordic Bronze Age. Announcing is an important strategy in warfare and it is tempting to see the depicted warriors on the rock art as an instrument of this action. The rock art appears at the same time as the Scandinavian societies become engaged in long distance trade of metal. Most of the rock art could be related to two separate chronological phases in the Bronze Age, namely period II (1500-1300 BC) and V (900-700 BC) and it is notable that this correlate to peaks in metal in Southern Scandinavia. A special social fraction of the Bronze Age Scandinavian society was probably involved in maritime long-distance trade, travel and warfare. The ability to fund boat construction and crew ships provided a new control apparatus, for maritime ventures, based on ships ownership. This would have favored the rise of maritime chiefdoms in Scandinavia. In this paper I argue for the notion that the praxis of carving warriors and ships onto the stone could have served to manifest the agency of the Bronze Age maritime warrior


*** ***

Jeroen Wijnendaele

Kingship in the Late Antique West (c. 400 – 500 CE) – Ethnic leaders, territorial rulers or military managers?

For a long time then, there have been two main ways of looking at kings of barbarian groups in the fifth and early sixth century. Firstly, they were seen as leaders of groups which had been migrating for a long time, and were directly involved in the down-fall of the Roman Empire through their settlement inside imperial territory (Demougeot 1979; Heather 2005; Ward-Perkins 2005). Another school of thought downplays this violence and sees as them as agents of empire, whose territorial establishment formed the direct foundation for the ‘early Medieval kingdoms’ that emerged in Western Europe (Pohl 1998; Goetz, Jarnut & Pohl 2003). Similarly, current debate on the concept of kingship has traditionally been intertwined with that of the question of ethnic identities and tribal leadership (Wenskus 1961; Wolfram 1988).


However, despite much excellent work on themes such as the settlement of barbarian peoples, and the complexities of ethnic identities, scholars in these fields have not yet adequately addressed the relation between kingship and warfare in this era. The shaping of military leadership during the collapse of political structures is of vital interest for understanding our contemporary world, e.g. the phenomenon of the ‘failed state’ in countries such as Afghanistan, Congo and Somalia. This was no different in the Late Antique West. The fifth century remains a momentous era in the history of Europe, witnessing the dissolution of Western Roman emperorship and the eventual replacement of its governance over former provinces by so-called ‘barbarian’ rulers. While this ‘Fall of the Roman Empire’ has been the subject of voluminous scholarly output, the concept of kingship is still mainly perceived from an early Medievalist angle that tries to look at the origins of ‘peoples’ and ‘states’. Instead, I will show that kingship needs to be understood from a late Roman military point of view.

*** ***

Željka Bedić

Anthropological analysis of perimortem trauma in the skeletal sample from Udbina – St. Jacob site, Croatia


The fall of Constantinople fundamentally changed the political and military situation in Europe, and was quickly followed by further Ottoman expansion into Europe. In 1463 the Kingdom of Bosnia was conquered leaving Croatia at the mercy of continuous akinji raids. These raids were characterized by the plunder of Christian territories, taking large amounts of slaves while at the same time avoiding fortified towns and direct military conflict. One of these raids resulted in The Battle of Krbava Field in 1493. The battle was fought between Jakub pasha of the Ottoman Empire and an army of Croats under Duke Derenčin. The Croatian army intercepted the Ottoman force but applied poor tactics that resulted in total defeat. From then on, according to local tradition, the field is known as the “Field of Blood”.

In the last two decades archaeological excavations were conducted in the area near Krbava Field, at the site of St Jacob’s Cathedral in Udbina. Across several seasons 308 burials were recovered. Archaeological material dates the use of the cemetery to the Medieval and Modern Period. Osteoarchaeological analysis of the remains shows the presence of 360 individuals. Sex, age at death and pathological conditions were analyzed following standard anthropological criteria. A total of 193 males, 74 females, 90 subadults and 3 skeletons of undetermined sex were recorded. This presentation will focus on 29 males that exhibited perimortem trauma (trauma that occurred around the time of death) most of which were inflicted with sharp-edged instrument e.g. swords, sabres or knifes. Males without perimortem trauma lived five years longer (40.7 yr) than males with perimortem trauma (35.5 yr) which is statistically significant. Considering that younger males exhibited perimortem trauma, there is a possibility that these were soldiers killed during The Battle of Krbava Field.

*** ***

Václav Smrčka

Claudius Galenus, Surgeon of Gladiators and Marcomannic Wars

The Roman World in Second Century  look like as Golden Age with  rule of the Antonines, Antonius Pius/138-161/, Marcus Aurelius /161- 180/, but also despotic Commodus/ 180-192/.

Galen of Pergamum/ AD130- 217/ began his remarkable career as surgeon of wounded gladiators 158 – 161/in provincia Asia Minor. From his works the types of injuries are very brutal. Gladiators often acquired wounds on the hands and feet, like soldiers/De anatomicis administrationibus/.

Galen had to dress their wounds,  also supervised their diet and exercises. Just in that time he described the methods of surgical closure of the anterior abdominal wall / De usu partium/. In his therapy he used of caustics, opium or other drugs for anesthesia.

We do not know, why Galen stopped treating gladiators. Some have speculated that the disruption caused by the war with the kingdom of Parthia.  Later in life he was at the court physicians of the family of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He was ordered to join the imperial camp in Aquileia( AD 168) to march against the Barbarians and against plague of Antonines. About 25 percent of the Roman Empire’s population, perhaps fifteen million people died in the Antonine pandemic.

What happened before  Galen‘s coming to Limes Romanus. In 166, some 6000 warriors of the Langobardi, one of the bellicose Germanic tribes on the Lower Elbe and Obii crossed the Danube  at the mouth of the Morava river.  Vindex, the commander of an ala of a thousand lancers in Arrabona/nowGyor-Raab/, rushed with his cavalry against them and with  Candidus, probably a legate od the 1st legion of Upper Pannonia, joined him the  invaders were put to flight.

But a new invasion of the Roman territory was undertaken(AD 167), this time by perhaps all the Danubian tribes neighbouring upon the Empire. The attack on the Roman line of defance almoust  simultaneous in several sections was too violent.

Emperor decided to take the field in person together with his brother Lucius Verus. But the war continued for fifteen years and in combination with the plague reduced considerably the number of

inhabitans of Trans- Danubian countries.

Skeletal material from ancient castel Gerulata II/Rusovce/(N 31), towns Sopiane /Pécs/(N30),

Gorsium/Tác/(N 30), Sarmatian Madaras( N 30) and Germanic Abrahám(N 6), Sladkovičovo(N6)

showed us influence of wars from the paleopathological point of view, with injuries, diet and deposition of lead in the skeletons on the border of the Roman Empire.

*** ***



Geoff Lee- tba