Sheldon attempts to correct the stereotypes that have persisted for centuries among historians by giving a more accurate portrait of how the Greeks fought. By showing how well and how often the Greeks used surprise in their tactics and ambushed their enemies, we see that Western Civilisation did not begin with a pure and untainted method of warfare that was somehow corrupted over time.
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. SELLING POINTS: Documents the centuries of ambushes, sneak attacks and intelligence operations that occurred in ancient Greek warfare Subject often overlooked by modern military historians, who are loathe to ascribe 'sneaky' behaviour to the 'civilised' Greeks ILLUSTRATIONS: 8 page plate section *