Recent research into the military history of ancient Greece has questioned the central rôle traditionally ascribed to the famous hoplite phalanx by historians and suggested that even as late as the Persian Wars of 480-479 BC, Greek battles consisted essentially of open fighting and duels between individual combatants, in an almost Homeric fashion. In this meticulous study, Adam Schwartz in turn questions the new orthodoxy. Departing from a detailed scrutiny of hoplite equipment and its physical characteristics, the author demonstrates that this equipment must in fact have been developed specifically to meet the needs of warriors fighting in phalanx formations, which, it is shown, can be traced back into the eighth century BC. In this way, the study is not only a reappraisal of the rôle of the phalanx, but also a significant contribution to the study of Archaic Greek history.
Great emphasis is, furthermore, placed upon the illumination of such crucial questions as the duration of the average hoplite battle and the rôle of the othismos - pushing - in deciding the outcome. In short, this book will quickly claim its place as one of the basic studies of ancient Greek hoplite battle.
"This is a thorough, clearly focused and meticulously executed study, which […] will no doubt rank high among books on ancient warfare."
Gabriel Herman, Scripta Classica Israelica 32, 2013
"Anyone who has been following the long debate over the evolution of hoplite warfare will find this book a 'must-read'. Anyone who is expecting to teach courses in Greek civilization and history or ancient military history in general will want to have a look too."
Kathryn Simonsen, Phoenix 65, 2011/3+4
"Summa summarum bleibt festzuhalten, dass es sich bei der Abhandlung von [Schwartz] um eines der bislang ausführlichsten Handbücher zum Phänomen des griechischen Hoplitenwesens handelt, das unter Heranziehung von naturwissenschaftlichen und anthropologischen Studien sowie modernen Feldversuchen neue Sichtweisen aufzeigt."
Christian Vonhoff, Gymnasium 118, 2011/3
"Ein beachtenswerter Beitrag zur griechischen Kriegsgeschichte. Schwartz erörtert Fragen der unterschiedlichen Dauer der Hoplitenschlachten, rekonstruiert den Verlauf eines Othismos und bietet ein umfangreiches Verzeichnis wesentlicher Aspekte der Überlieferung über Kämpfe zwischen Hoplitenarmeen."
Karl-Wilhelm Welwei, sehepunkte 10, 2010/9
"Overall, this is an excellent book, well written and well argued, and likely to be influental in future debates on Greek warfare. At a cost of € 64,00 (or a rather heftier £ 65,00 in the UK), it is not inexpensive, but it would proudly grace any ancient military bookshelf."
Duncan Head, Ancient Warfare 4, 2010/6