War in the Ancient World


This course will examine, by means of case studies, a number of aspects of the prosecution of war in the ancient world. The course will consider the attitudes, roles and actions of the warring parties, and the impact warfare has on combatants and non-combatants alike. Where nations are involved in prosecuting war, the course will also consider the reasons for the outbreak of warfare, and it will consider the nature of the societies participating in such conflict.



  • Semester 2 - 2015

Learning Outcomes

1. Be familiar with and able to analyse texts relevant to ancient warfare

2. Be able to compare and contrast relevant texts for accuracy and credibility and to appreciate and express the limits of ancient evidence

3. Have assimilated the terminology of the discipline

4. Have investigated the periods of history and major events under consideration, as well as major political and military figures

5. Have evaluated, investigated and written about military problems in ancient history

6. Understand the place of warfare in different societies


Content includes: the methods of war of the society, state or city and the benefits accruing from war (e.g. booty, indemnity, territorial acquisition); the structure of the army, with attention to the commander; logistical considerations of the army and campaigning - supplies and movements, weaponry, training in tactics, morale; strategies employed by warring generals, including aggressive warfare, sieges of towns, use of terror and psychology; battle tactics based on reconstructions of important battles; depiction and treatment of the enemy as combatants, hostages, prisoners (slavery, torture, execution); treatment of non-combatants (brutalising, rape, slavery, execution).

Assessment Items

Written Assignment: Source-commentary exercise

Essay: Short essay

Essay: Long essay

Participation: Group/tutorial participation and contribution

Contact Hours


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Tutorials run wks 2-13