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Sunday, April 26, 2020

**Special Guest Episode on Greek Land Warfare w/Owen Rees**

In today's special guest episode, I am joined by Dr Owen Rees, a freelance historian, writer and researcher. He studied Ancient History at the University of Reading and History (Research) at the University of Nottingham. He is an assistant editor to “Sparta: Journal of Ancient Spartan and Greek History” and a regular contributor to Ancient Warfare Magazine. He also has published two books on the topic of ancient Greek warfare: Great Battles of the Classical Greek World, and Great Naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World.

On episode 13 of THOAG we previously covered hoplite warfare, but that was four years ago and when I first started the podcast. With four years of experience under my belt and with a bit of hindsight, I don’t feel as if I did the topic it's due (and you will hear why later), and so one day I plan to redo it. Until then, Dr Rees was kind enough to come on to discuss ancient Greek warfare more generally, though we focus specifically on land warfare here, as there will be a future special guest episode just on naval. We go into lengthy discussions on the definition of a hoplite, its socio-political importance, and the problems surrounding its chronology and historiographic tradition. We also discuss the problems with the traditional reconstructive models of ancient Greek battles; the important role of cavalry and light infantry, particularly in the Peloponnesian War onwards; and why the concept of an “honorable western way of war” which seeks its origins in ancient Greek warfare is bogus and hyped up in modern ideology. There are also lots of digression on logistics, slaves, baggage trains, training, the Spartan mirage, the brutal experience of war, the fear that it instilled, and the war dead. Finally, Dr Rees discusses his most recent research (and the topic of his next book) which involves the transition of soldiers from civilian life to the battlefield and back again, including all the psychological and sociological problems that arise from this.

Dr Owen Rees