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T. Vijgen
The Cultural Parameters of the Graeco-Roman War Discourse

approx. 650 p., 156 x 234 mm, 2019
ISBN: 978-2-503-58647-2
Languages: English
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This wide-ranging study seeks to identify the interchange of ideas on warfare in the world of Classical Greece and Rome

What were the ideas that the ancient Greeks and Romans held about warfare? What do contemporary sources tell us about this? Is it possible to trace a development in the way of thinking about war in antiquity? These are the questions that are discussed (and answered) in this study. It combines a close reading of all he sources that we have - mostly written, like literary and historiographjcal, but also non-written, like art, monuments and coinage. The analysis of the discourse is accompanied by and contrasted with arguments raised by today’s specialists in the field of warfare and culture of ancient Greece and Rome.

The study treats recurrent cultural themes like courage, fatherland, or victory within a chronological framework, for discourse features cannot be isolated from the context of their time. For each specific period – Greek, Hellenistic and the six parts of the long and diverse Roman time – conclusions are drawn. The remarkable developments in time that can be observed, especially in Rome, are brought together in the final chapter.

Theo Vijgen (1949) studied English Language and Literature in the Netherlands and American Literature in the United States. He taught translation courses at the Maastricht School of Translation before turning to a study of ancient history, Vijgen completed his Ph.D. at Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) in June 2018.

Table of Contents

1   Introduction: Culture and War
1 Aim and scope of the study
2 Cultural history
2.1 Cultural history and the present study
3 Military history
3.1 Keegan
3.2 Hanson
3.3 Lynn
3.4 Gat
3.5 Van Creveld
3.6 Military history and the present study
4 Methodology

2    The Greek Ways of War
1 Greek warfare
1.1 The rise and decline of the polis
1.2 The development of Greek warfare
1.2.1 The Early Phase
1.2.2 The Middle Phase
1.3 Agonal warfare
1.3.1 The controversial nature of agonal warfare
1.3.2 Conventions of agonal warfare
2 The cultural parameters of Greek warfare
2.1 War as a necessity
2.2 The war discourse
2.3 Genres and methodological problems in using primary sources
2.4 Themes of the Greek war discourse as seen in genre and time
2.4.1 Epic Epic and the heroic discourse - the concepts of bravery and courage Bravery and the heroic discourse Epic and the role of the gods Epic and the two faces of war
2.4.2 Lyric Lyric: from ‘bravery’ to ‘courage’ Lyric: courage and the love of the fatherland
2.4.3 Historiography and rhetoric Historiography: Greek superiority as an extension of the principle of liberty The principle of liberty The idea of Greek superiority Historiography: courage and honor in the community Historiography: competition, commemoration and the agonal discourse Competition and commemoration
2.4.4 Drama Drama and agonal conventions Drama and the love of the fatherland Drama and the dual face of war
2.4.5 Philosophy Philosophy and the nature of war Philosophy and the duality of war and peace Philosophy and the discourse of ‘honor’ and ‘courage’
3 Conclusion: the competitive spirit in Greek culture and in Greek warfare

3    Hellenistic warfare
1 The Hellenistic Age
1.1 The Hellenistic world
2 The development of Hellenistic warfare
3 The cultural parameters of Hellenistic warfare
3.1 The war discourse
3.2 Genres and methodological problems in using primary sources
3.3 Themes of the Hellenistic war discourse as seen in genre and time
3.3.1 Historiography: the theme of military excellence
3.3.2 Historiography: the theme of agonal warfare
3.3.3 Historiography: liberty and Greek superiority
3.3.4 Historiography: competition and commemoration Art and architecture, epigraphy: commemoration
3.3.5 Art and architecture, epigraphy and numismatics: the theme of victory
3.3.6 Art and architecture: the iconography of power
4 Conclusion

4     Early Rome (c. 750-290 BC)
1 Sources
2 Rome’s foundation myths
2.1 Romulus and Remus vs Aeneas
2.2 Genesis and development of the foundation myths
3 Interpretations: theoretical considerations
4 Interpretations: practical applications
4.1 The warfare connection
4.2 The pastoral setting
4.3 Rome’s capacity for assimilation
4.4 Grace under pressure
5 Conclusion

5   The Mid Republic (290-120 BC)
1 Primary sources and their genres
1.1 Historiography
1.2 Drama
1.3 Epic
1.4 Visual sources
2 The themes of the Roman war discourse as seen in genre and time: the Mid Republic
2.1 The theme of loyalty
2.1.1 Loyalty and patria
2.1.2 Loyalty and virtus and disciplina Disciplina in historiography Virtus in historiography Virtus in literature
2.1.3 The loyalty theme: conclusion
2.2 The theme of supremacy
2.2.1 The superiority discourse
2.2.2 The victory and conquest discourses
3 Conclusion

6   The Late Republic (120-27 BC)
1 Primary sources and their genres
2 The themes of the Roman war discourse as seen in genre and  time: the Late Republic
2.1 The theme of legitimacy
2.1.1 The just war discourse: ius in bello (how to conduct a just war)
2.1.2 The just war discourse: ius ad bellum (how to start a just war)
2.1.3 The just war discourse in literature
2.1.4 The legitimacy theme: conclusion
2.2 The theme of loyalty
2.2.1 Virtus and disciplina: the perceived moral decay
2.2.2 Loyalty to the commander
2.2.3 Caesar’s propaganda
2.3 The theme of supremacy
2.3.1 The superiority discourse
2.3.2 The victory discourse
2.3.3 The rhetoric of conquest
2.3.4 Caesar’s clemency
2.3.5 The supremacy theme: conclusion
3 Conclusion

7   The Augustan Period (27 BC- AD 14)
1 The Augustan Age
2 Genres and methodological problems in using primary sources
2.1 Historiography
2.2 Literature
2.3 Visual sources
3 The war discourse in the Augustan period
3.1 The theme of legitimacy
3.1.1 Legitimacy and destiny Legitimacy and destiny: literature Legitimacy and destiny: historiography
3.1.2 Legitimacy and bellum iustum (just war)
3.1.3 The legitimacy theme: civil war in various genres
3.1.4 The legitimacy theme: conclusion
3.2 The theme of loyalty
3.2.1 Loyalty and patria
3.2.2 Loyalty and virtus and disciplina Virtus in historiography Disciplina in historiography Virtus in literature The loyalty theme: conclusion
3.3 The theme of supremacy
3.3.1 Supremacy and Roman superiority: historiography
3.3.2 Supremacy and Roman superiority: other sources
3.3.3 Supremacy and the victory discourse Supremacy and victory: historiography Supremacy and victory: literature Supremacy and victory: visual sources
3.3.4 Supremacy and conquest Conquest in historiography Conquest in literature Conquest in other sources
3.3.5 The theme of supremacy: conclusion
4 Conclusion

8   The Early Empire (AD 14-193)
1 Introduction to the period
2 Genres and methodological problems in using primary sources
2.1 Historiography
2.2 Literature
2.3 Visual sources
3 The war discourse in the Early Empire
3.1 The conformist perspective
3.1.1 Loyalty to the emperor and the army unit
3.1.2 Roman superiority
3.1.3 The victory discourse
3.1.4 The conquest discourse
3.1.5 The conformist perspective: conclusion
3.2 The critical perspective
3.3 The dissociative perspective
4 Conclusion

9   The third century and the emerging Christian discourse (AD 193-c. 360)
1 Introduction to the period
2 Genres and methodological problems in using primary sources
2.1 Historiography: the emerging Christian discourse
2.2 Other sources
3 The war discourse of this period
3.1 Loyalty and the emperor: the pagan tradition
3.1.1 The emperor and his army’s loyalty
3.1.2 Using ‘Victory’ as an emblem to secure loyalty
3.1.3 Using religion as a tool to maintain loyalty
3.1.4 The pagan tradition: conclusion
3.2 The beginning of a Christian war discourse
3.2.1 Loyalty and Christian pacifism
3.2.2 Loyalty and the ‘Constantinian Shift’
3.2.3 The Christian tradition: conclusion
4 Conclusion

10    Late Empire: The later 4th and the 5th centuries (c. 360-c. 500)
1 Introduction to the period
2 Primary sources
3 The war discourse of the Late Empire
3.1 Classical concerns in the pagan tradition
3.1.1 The topic of decline
3.1.2 The strong military leader and the role of virtus and disciplina
3.1.3 Roman superiority
3.1.4 Developments in panegyric and poetry
3.2 Theological framing in the Christian discourse
3.3 The new enemy: antagonism in the Christian discourse
3.3.1 From barbarian to infidel
3.3.2 Towards a Christian ‘just war’ theory
3.4 Victory and the adaptation of Christan imagery
4 Conclusion


Interest Classification:
Social Sciences
Classics, Ancient History, Oriental Studies
Ancient history & archaeology: Europe

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