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Herodotus and his WorldEssays from a Conference in Memory of George Forrest$
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Peter Derow and Robert Parker

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199253746

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253746.001.0001

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The Oldest ‘New’ Military Historians: Herodotos, W. G. Forrest, and the Historiography of War

The Oldest ‘New’ Military Historians: Herodotos, W. G. Forrest, and the Historiography of War

Chapter:
(p.88) 6 The Oldest ‘New’ Military Historians: Herodotos, W. G. Forrest, and the Historiography of War
Source:
Herodotus and his World
Author(s):

Eugenia C. Kiesling

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253746.003.0006

Although neither Herodotus nor George W. G. Forrest is a military historian, both offer valuable models for that discipline. This chapter surveys key moments in the historiography of war, explaining why early military historians tended to misuse Herodotus and later ones to ignore him. Three trends in late 20th-century military history — the ‘new military history’, John Keegan's battle history, and the Thucydides revival in professional military education — would have benefited from consideration of Herodotus' work. On reflection, Herodotus turns out to have been a better military historian than generally acknowledged, while Thucydides, as Forrest himself pointed out in a little-known paper, has been overrated. Both were ahead of their peers in humanizing military history, and it is no accident that so many ancient military historians were students of Forrest.

Keywords:   military, historiography, war, Thucydides, John Keegan

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