AMBUSH by Rose Mary Sheldon
Surprise Attack in Ancient Greek Warfare

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There are two images of warfare that dominate Greek history. The better known is that of Achilles, the Homeric hero skilled in face-to-face combat to the death. He is a warrior who is outraged by deception on the battlefield. The alternative model, equally Greek and also taken from Homeric epic, is Odysseus, ‘the man of twists and turns’ of The Odyssey. To him, winning by stealth, surprise or deceit was acceptable.

Greek warfare actually consists of many varieties of fighting. It is common for popular writers to assume that the hoplite phalanx was the only mode of warfare used by the Greeks. The fact is, however, that the use of spies, intelligence gathering, ambush, and surprise attacks at dawn or at night were also a part of Greek warfare, and while not the supreme method of defeating an enemy, such tactics always found their place in warfare when the opportunity or the correct terrain or opportunity presented itself.

Ambush will dispel both the modern and ancient prejudices against irregular warfare and provides a fresh look at the tactics of the ancient Greeks.


About Rose Mary Sheldon

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Col. Rose Mary Sheldon received her Ph.D. in ancient history from the University of Michigan and is currently Head of the Department of History at the Virginia Military Institute. Her special field is intelligence history and she is on the Editorial boards of the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, The Journal of Military History and Small Wars and Insurgencies, and has written more than three dozen articles on aspects of ancient intelligence. Her books include Espionage in the Ancient World: An Annotated Bibliography and Intelligence Activities in Ancient Rome: Trust in the Gods, But Verify.
Published October 24, 2012 by Frontline Books. 322 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction

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