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Military Leaders and Sacred Space in Classical Greek Warfare: Temples, Sanctuaries and Conflict in Antiquity

Military Leaders and Sacred Space in Classical Greek Warfare: Temples, Sanctuaries and Conflict in Antiquity
Sonya Nevin

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The ancient Greeks attributed great importance to the sacred during war and campaigning, as demonstrated from their earliest texts. Among the first four lines of the Iliad, for example, is a declaration that Apollo began the feud between Achilles and Agamemnon and sent a plague upon the Greek army because its leader, Agamemnon, had mistreated Apollo's priest. In this first in-depth study of the attitude of military commanders towards holy ground, Sonya Nevin addresses the customs and conduct of these leaders in relation to sanctuaries, precincts, shrines, temples and sacral objects. Focusing on a variety of Greek kings and captains, the author shows how military leaders were expected to react to the sacred sites of their foes. She further explores how they were likely to respond, and how their responses shaped the way such generals were viewed by their communities, by their troops, by their enemies and also by those like Herodotus, Thucydides and Xenophon who were writing their lives. This is a groundbreaking study of the significance of the sacred in warfare and the wider culture of antiquity."

Author Info

Sonya Nevin is Honorary Research Fellow in Classics at the University of Roehampton. This is her first book.


'This is a well-written and very interesting book. It addresses a fundamental question of Classical Greek history
religion and war
but it approaches the subject in an innovative way, by analyzing Greek leaders, Greek writers, and their attitudes as shown through their actions towards sacred space and sacred objects. How, for instance, should a military leader conduct himself towards foreign shrines, how do military leaders actually conduct themselves, and what consequences do classical authors assign to their behavior? Any reader interested in the history, religion, or war of the classical world will find this book indispensable.'
Alfred S Bradford, John Saxon Chair of Ancient History, University of Oklahoma

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781784532857
Publication Date: 29 Oct 2016
Number of Pages: 304
Height: 216
Width: 138

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