I've now published another article on the Kindle, which makes three articles over the last month. That's going to be it for now. So I wanted to mention this latest and also just give a summary of what I've got available on Amazon now for anyone who's interested. The list is in reverse chronological order.
PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
The Peloponnesian War was fought between Athens and Sparta from 431 to 404 B.C. It was a long, brutal conflict that ended with the defeat and humiliation of the Athenians: the Long Walls that connected their city to its harbor were torn down to the music of flute-girls while the enemy rejoiced.
During the twenty-eight years of the war, cities loyal to both sides were razed, the lives of the men, women, and children within surrendered to the mercy of their armor-clad victors. Combatants were captured as well, those lucky warriors who escaped death on the battlefield but who, hindered by the weight of their shields and slipping in the muck of blood and churned-up earth, could not outrun the enemy. "Prisoners of the Peloponnesian War" takes a look at what became of the combatants and noncombatants who were captured during the war—whether they were executed or imprisoned, for example, enslaved or ransomed. The article also considers the means by which prisoners of war sometimes regained their freedom after a period of captivity.
(ARTICLE: 4600 words. “Prisoners of the Peloponnesian War” is a revised version of an article originally published in MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History.)
SOCRATES AT WAR
The Military Heroics of an Iconic Intellectual
Socrates may be a household name, but few could tell you much about him beyond the fact that he was a Greek philosopher who died from drinking hemlock. And very few people indeed would be quick to associate Socrates with military heroics. In that, however, we are doing Athens’ famous gadfly a disservice. As Socrates’ friends knew well, the philosopher, in his younger days, was an able and courageous soldier.
“Socrates at War” discusses Socrates’ military career and the courage, stamina, and presence of mind he reportedly demonstrated while on campaign. On one occasion, for example, Socrates saved the life of a young cavalryman, Alcibiades, who would later become famous throughout Greece as a general, politician, traitor, and all-around rake. Other topics addressed include Socrates’ bizarre habit of standing transfixed in thought for hours while apparently oblivious to external stimuli. The article closes with a look at Socrates’ death and afterlife: even among the heroic dead, it seems, the philosopher earned a reputation for bravery in battle.
(ARTICLE: 6000 words. “Socrates at War” is a revised version of an article originally published in MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History.)
ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG
The Liberation of Thebes and Other Acts of Heroic Transvestism
The subject of Greek warfare conjures up a certain image. One thinks of armor-clad titans stabbing one another through the neck, javelins glancing off their breastplates, shield crashing against shield. But war in ancient Greece had more than one face: sometimes Greek warriors wore dresses.
In 379 B.C., a band of exiles snuck into Thebes in central Greece and assassinated a number of the Theban oligarchs who had colluded in Sparta’s suppression of the city. Their coup resulted in the liberation of Thebes from Spartan control. The exiles’ plan was a daring one, not least because some of the conspirators disguised themselves as women in order to get within sword range of their targets. “Ancient Greeks in Drag” tells the story of the exiles’ liberation of their city and discusses several other ancient accounts in which beardless Greek males reportedly dispatched their enemies while masquerading as women.
(ARTICLE: 5000 words. “Ancient Greeks in Drag” is a revised version of an article originally published in MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History.)
A Guided Tour Through the Wild Boars, Dancing Suitors, and Crazy Tyrants of The History
Debra Hamel’s book is a lively introduction to The History of the Persian Wars, Herodotus's account of Persia's expansion under four kings—Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius, and Xerxes—and its eventual collision with the city-states of Greece.
The History can be a long slog for modern readers, but it is full of salacious tales about sex, violent death, divine prophecies, and cannibals. Following the structure of the original work, Hamel leads the reader through a colorful tour of the central stories that compose The History. She highlights the more interesting and important parts of the story while providing readers who are new to Herodotus with the background information necessary to appreciate the author’s wide-ranging subject matter. At once academic and cheeky, the experience of this book is like reading Herodotus while simultaneously consulting a history of Greece and a scholarly commentary on the text.
THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS
Unpacking an Ancient Mystery
In 415 B.C. the Athenians woke to find that during the night most of the herms in Athens (priapic statues of the Greek god Hermes) had been vandalized. The damage was too widespread for the act to be dismissed as a youthful prank. What was it, then: a conspiracy brewing against the democracy? Or merely a bad omen for their upcoming expedition to Sicily?
The so-called "mutilation of the herms" is an important episode in Athenian history. Nearly 2500 years later, basic questions about the crime continue to exercise scholars—who done it and why they done it. In "The Mutilation of the Herms: Unpacking an Ancient Mystery," Debra Hamel provides a comprehensible account of the vandalism and its aftermath.
This roughly 50-page work is written for an audience of general readers and students. No previous knowledge of the period is assumed. The text could profitably be assigned for undergraduate classes in Greek history. Topics discussed include the Eleusinian Mysteries, the role of drinking groups (hetaireiai) in the vandalism, Alcibiades' involvement in the affair, and Eva Keuls' feminist take on the episode. (ARTICLE: 13,000 WORDS.)
The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece
Neaira (pronounced "neh-EYE-ruh") grew up in a brothel in Corinth in the early fourth century B.C. She became one of the city-state's higher-priced courtesans while still a teenager. In the next decade she served as the sex slave of two former clients and endured an abusive relationship with a party-hopping Athenian. Finally, barely supporting herself in a sex industry depressed by the war then raging in Greece, she met Stephanos, an Athenian citizen, with whom she would live for the next thirty years or more. Neaira's life with Stephanos was far from tranquil: it was riddled with legal threats and lawsuits. On one occasion in particular the former courtesan herself was dragged into court. The stakes in the case were high, as Neaira's very freedom lay in the jurors' hands. . . . The story of Neaira and her appearance in court is well known to classicists, but Trying Neaira is the first book to tell Neaira's story to a non-specialist audience. The book serves also as a lively introduction to the larger world of fourth-century Greece, and of Athens in particular, in which Neaira's drama played itself out.
Military Authority in the Classical Period
This study of the Athenian "strategia" is concerned with identifying the locus of military authority in the Athenian "polis," Consideration of the role played by generals in the deliberative and final stages of military expeditions and of the relationship between "strategoi" and their subordinates, colleagues, and the Athenian "demos" itself suggests that Athens' generals did not exercise significant authority over their city's military operations. Rather, the "demos" controlled its generals both by means of its direct involvement in decision-making related to campaigns and by establishing in Athens a climate of fear which was very often sufficient to dissuade generals from acting in opposition to the Athenians' will. This volume is important reading for anyone who is interested in ancient military history or the question of sovereignty in Athens.