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David Blome on Classical Greek Warfare

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In this post, we ask author David A. Blome three questions about his book Greek Warfare beyond the Polis: Defense, Strategy, and the Making of Ancient Federal States and his research on classical Greek warfare.

1. What’s your favorite anecdote from your research for this book?

While researching the Spartan army, I came across a saying attributed to the Spartan king Agesilaus: “When someone asked him why Sparta lacked fortification walls, he pointed to the citizens under arms and said: ‘These are the Spartans’ walls.’” The upland Greeks that I study would have known exactly what Agesilaus meant. In fact, they repelled two Spartan invasions during the classical period with almost no assistance from fortifications.

2. What do you wish you had known when you started writing your book, that you know now?

In a phrase: citation management software.

3. How do you wish you could change the field of Military History?

Historians debate each other primarily in writing, whether in conference presentations, book reviews, or introductory chapters, and they’re really good at it. However, I would like to see more public debates between historians, especially on controversial topics. Such debates could potentially lead to broader engagement with historical issues outside of academia.


David A. Blome is a combat veteran of the US Marine Corps. He holds a PhD in Ancient History from Cornell University.

Visit our virtual booth and get your copy of Greek Warfare beyond the Polis with a 40% off special conference discount this #SMH2020.

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