An in-depth guide to the modern practice of Greek martial arts and their beginnings in ancient Greece and Egypt- Examines the correlation between ancient depictions of one-on-one combat and how martial arts are practiced today - Explores the close relationship between Greek martial arts and spiritual practice - Distinguishes between Pammachon (martial arts) and Pankration (combat sports) The ancient friezes and decorative motifs of ancient Greece contain abundant scenes of combat, one-on-one and hand-to-hand. In The Martial Arts of Ancient Greece, the authors offer close inspection of these depictions to reveal that they exactly correlate to the grappling and combat arts as they are practiced today. They also show that these artifacts document the historical course of the development of both the weaponry of the warrior classes and the martial responses those weapons required when fighting hand-to-hand. The depiction of each ancient technique is accompanied by sequenced step-by-step photos of modern practitioners performing the various stances of one-on-one combat. In addition, the authors explain how the development of Hellenic combat arts was tied at its heart to a spiritual practice. The centeredness, clear mind, and consequent courage that develops from a spiritual practice was considered a martial strength for a warrior, enabling him to be at his best, unobstructed inwardly by conflict or inertia. The Martial Arts of Ancient Greece provides a practical and comprehensive approach to the techniques and philosophy of the martial arts of the ancient Mediterranean that will be welcomed by modern fighters.
The stories have been selected for the insights that they give us into the ancient world, with its different perspectives on life, honor, and personal relationships. Many of the tales seem outrageous (such as a statue being tried for murder), though to the ancients these were normal enough. As the author comments, "human nature has not changed much over the last three thousand years, but the manner in which it finds expression is sometimes dramatically different."
In these pages we find humorous quips by the emperor Augustus and wry observations by the philosopher Socrates. There are stories of ghastly crimes, incredible journeys, and some bizarre military mishaps, like the Macedonian troops who rushed to storm the walls of a Greek city, only to find that their ladders were six feet short.
Did you know that ...
- a Roman suffering from illness might be cured if rubbed all over with a puppy
- lentils cooked in saffron were a popular Greek aphrodisiac
- in the Roman marriage ceremony, the groom parts the bride's hair with a spear
- Caesar's horse had toes
The Spartans were a society of warrior-heroes who were the living exemplars of such core values as duty, discipline, self-sacrifice, and extreme toughness. This book, written by one of the world's leading experts on Sparta, traces the rise and fall of Spartan society and explores the tremendous influence the Spartans had on their world and even on ours. Paul Cartledge brings to life figures like legendary founding father Lycurgus and King Leonidas, who embodied the heroism so closely identified with this unique culture, and he shows how Spartan women enjoyed an unusually dominant and powerful role in this hyper-masculine society. Based firmly on original sources, The Spartans is the definitive book about one of the most fascinating cultures of ancient Greece.
One of our most provocative military historians, Victor Davis Hanson has given us painstakingly researched and pathbreaking accounts of wars ranging from classical antiquity to the twenty-first century. Now he juxtaposes an ancient conflict with our most urgent modern concerns to create his most engrossing work to date, A War Like No Other.Over the course of a generation, the Hellenic city-states of Athens and Sparta fought a bloody conflict that resulted in the collapse of Athens and the end of its golden age. Thucydides wrote the standard history of the Peloponnesian War, which has given readers throughout the ages a vivid and authoritative narrative. But Hanson offers readers something new: a complete chronological account that reflects the political background of the time, the strategic thinking of the combatants, the misery of battle in multifaceted theaters, and important insight into how these events echo in the present. Hanson compellingly portrays the ways Athens and Sparta fought on land and sea, in city and countryside, and details their employment of the full scope of conventional and nonconventional tactics, from sieges to targeted assassinations, torture, and terrorism. He also assesses the crucial roles played by warriors such as Pericles and Lysander, artists, among them Aristophanes, and thinkers including Sophocles and Plato. Hanson's perceptive analysis of events and personalities raises many thought-provoking questions: Were Athens and Sparta like America and Russia, two superpowers battling to the death? Is the Peloponnesian War echoed in the endless, frustrating conflicts of Vietnam, Northern Ireland, and the current Middle East? Or was it more like America's own Civil War, a brutal rift that rent the fabric of a glorious society, or even this century's "red state--blue state" schism between liberals and conservatives, a cultural war that manifestly controls military policies? Hanson daringly brings the facts to life and unearths the often surprising ways in which the past informs the present. Brilliantly researched, dynamically written, A War Like No Other is like no other history of this important war.
A deeply researched and sweeping history that redefines our understanding of the Amazons and their culture, tracking the ancient legend into the modern world and examining its significance today.Since the time of the ancient Greeks we have been fascinated by accounts of the Amazons, an elusive tribe of hard-fighting, horse-riding female warriors. Equal to men in battle, legends claimed they cut off their right breasts to improve their archery skills and routinely killed their male children to purify their ranks. For centuries people believed in their existence and attempted to trace their origins. Artists and poets celebrated their battles and wrote of Amazonia. Spanish explorers, carrying these tales to South America, thought they lived in the forests of the world's greatest river, and named it after them. In the absence of evidence, we eventually reasoned away their existence, concluding that these powerful, sexually liberated female soldiers must have been the fantastical invention of Greek myth and storytelling. Until now. Following decades of new research and a series of groundbreaking archeological discoveries, we now know these powerful warrior queens did indeed exist. In Searching for the Amazons, John Man travels to the grasslands of Central Asia--from the edge of the ancient Greek world to the borderlands of China--to discover the truth about the truth about these women whose legend has resonated over the centuries.
The Spartans is a compelling narrative that explores the culture and civilization of the most famous "warrior people": the Spartans of ancient Greece, by the world's leading expert in the field. Sparta has often been described as the original Utopia--a remarkably evolved society whose warrior heroes were forbidden any other trade, profession, or business. As a people, the Spartans were the living exemplars of such core values as duty, discipline, the nobility of arms in a cause worth dying for, sacrificing the individual for the greater good of the community (illustrated by their role in the battle of Thermopylae), and the triumph of will over seemingly insuperable obstacles--qualities that today are frequently believed to signify the ultimate heroism. Paul Cartledge is the distinguished scholar and historian who has long been seen as the leading international authority on ancient Sparta. He traces the evolution of Spartan society--the culture and the people, as well as the tremendous influence they had on their world and even ours. He details throughout the narrative the lives of such illustrious and myth-making figures as Lycurgus, King Leonidas, Helen of Troy (and Sparta), and Lysander, and explains how the Spartans, although they placed a high value on masculine ideals, nevertheless allowed women an unusually dominant and powerful role--unlike Athenian culture with which the Spartans are so often compared. In resurrecting the ancient culture and society of the Spartans, Cartledge delves deep into ancient texts and archeological sources and complements his text with illustrations that depict original Spartan artifacts and drawings, as well as examples of representational paintings from the Renaissance onwards--including J.L. David's famously brooding "Leonidas." This illuminating volume that ties in with the PBS television series of the same name, airing in the summer of 2003. Booklist called Cartledge's The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization, a companion to the PBS series, "superb," while The International History Review called Cartledge's The Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece "an original and insightful work."
On a late September day in 480 B.C., Greek warships faced an invading Persian armada in the narrow Salamis Straits in the most important naval battle of the ancient world. Overwhelmingly outnumbered by the enemy, the Greeks triumphed through a combination of strategy and deception. More than two millennia after it occurred, the clash between the Greeks and Persians at Salamis remains one of the most tactically brilliant battles ever fought. The Greek victory changed the course of western history -- halting the advance of the Persian Empire and setting the stage for the Golden Age of Athens.
In this dramatic new narrative account, historian and classicist Barry Strauss brings this landmark battle to life. He introduces us to the unforgettable characters whose decisions altered history: Themistocles, Athens' great leader (and admiral of its fleet), who devised the ingenious strategy that effectively destroyed the Persian navy in one day; Xerxes, the Persian king who fought bravely but who ultimately did not understand the sea; Aeschylus, the playwright who served in the battle and later wrote about it; and Artemisia, the only woman commander known from antiquity, who turned defeat into personal triumph. Filled with the sights, sounds, and scent of battle, The Battle of Salamis is a stirring work of history.
From the renowned journalist comes this intimate account of his years in the field, traveling for the first time beyond the Iron Curtain to India, China, Ethiopia, and other exotic locales.In the 1950s, Ryszard Kapuscinski finished university in Poland and became a foreign correspondent, hoping to go abroad - perhaps to Czechoslovakia. Instead, he was sent to India - the first stop on a decades-long tour of the world that took Kapuscinski from Iran to El Salvador, from Angola to Armenia. Revisiting his memories of traveling the globe with a copy of Herodotus' Histories in tow, Kapuscinski describes his awakening to the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of new environments, and how the words of the Greek historiographer helped shape his own view of an increasingly globalized world. Written with supreme eloquence and a constant eye to the global undercurrents that have shaped the last half-century, Travels with Herodotus is an exceptional chronicle of one man's journey across continents.
When Xerxes, King of Persia, crosses the Hellespont at the head of a formidable army, it seems inevitable that Greece will be crushed beneath its might. But the Greeks are far harder to defeat than he could have imagined. As storms lash the Persian ships, & sinister omens predict a cruel fate for the expedition, Xerxes strives onward."