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Title: The Athenian Hoplite Phalanx and the Potential for Military Disintegration
Author: Crowley, Jason
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2009
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The Athenian hoplite was an impressive warrior. Throughout the Classical period, he demonstrated an unwavering willingness to close with and kill the enemies of Athens, whenever and wherever he was required to do so. This capacity for sustained and repeated combat is remarkable, especially since the Athenian hoplite was not a professional soldier, but an untrained amateur who was neither forced into battle, nor was he adequately remunerated for the risks he faced therein. When, therefore, he took his place in the phalanx, when he met his enemy in combat, when he fought, killed, and died, he did so largely as an act of will. Surprisingly, however, beyond the ideological explanation offered by Herodotus, which links patriotism and democratic self-determination with determined performance in combat, the precise origin of the Athenian hoplite's will to combat has hitherto remained unexplored. Recent scholarship, admittedly, has expertly examined the phenomenon of phalanx battle, and some excellent work on Athenian conceptions of manhood has been produced. Nevertheless, despite the enduring appeal of military history and the increasing demand for studies on the socio-psychological aspects of battle, no systematic analysis of the Athenian hoplite's psychological capacity for combat has been conducted. To address this lacuna, this thesis seeks inspiration from modem theories of combat motivation. Until recently, these theories presented the historian with a number of competing mono-causes. However, with the publication of Major Stephen Wesbrook's masterly work of scholarly synthesis, 'The Potential for Military Disintegration', the historian has at his or her disposal a holistic model of combat motivation, and by retrospectively applying it to the Athenian hoplite phalanx, this thesis will finally reveal how and why, without training, and in the absence of effective remunerative or coercive pressures, the Athenian hoplite repeatedly stifled his fears, mustered his courage, and willingly plunged himself into the ferocious savagery of close-quarters battle
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available