Issue 3

Issue 3 (2013)


2013 Editorial Staff



Treatment of Captives in Ancient Greek Warfare: A Vicious Cycle
Antony Kalashnikov, University of Alberta

The Nereid Monument in the Lycean tomb, dated to between 390 and 380 BCE, depicts a besieged city in which a woman is tearing out her hair in lament of her potential fate – rape, enslavement, and possibly death. The image testifies to the cruel and inhumane treatment of captives that often characterized ancient Greek warfare, particularly with respect to siege warfare. In ancient Greece, only the taking of a city resulted in a large number of captives, both combatants and civilians. This essay argues that the treatment of captives constituted a vicious cycle in which the defenders of city would resolutely resist the siege for fear of massacre, mass rape, and enslavement; this stalwart defense, in turn, would contribute to cruel treatment of captives when and if the city fell. The paper is organized in the following way: after outlining the treatment of captives in Greek siege warfare in general, it explores the options that defenders faced and examines the motives of cruel treatment of captives in the light of having faced hardened resistance during the siege. Lastly, it examines a possible limitation to this argument posed by the distinction Greek philosophers drew between Greek and barbarian combatants, but demonstrate the argument’s continued validity despite this assertion.


The Development of Culpa Under the Lex Aquilia
Adam Giancola, University of Toronto

The Lex Aquilia, likely passed by the  jurist Aquilius around the year 287 BCE, superseded all previous laws of its kind under the Roman Republic. With an emphasis on the civil liability of damage to property, the Lex Aquilia represented the culmination of the rapid development of Roman law at the hands of the jurists. The notion of culpa as fault , from which the Roman jurists articulated an understanding of wrongfulness, is one such proof of this development. By defining culpa as a tool used by the jurists to expand their notions of liability, the jurists could conceive of a foundation of wrongfulness that was wide enough to support a variety of cases under the  law. By tracing a brief history of the jurists’ changing conceptions of culpa, and highlighting some of the major issues that they dealt with, it is possible to better understand the nature of the jurists’ reasoning under the Lex Aquilia. This paper will argue that the development of the legal doctrine of culpa reveals the Roman jurists’ insistence to articulate a more comprehensive classification  of human behavior before the law.


The Role of Greek Cavalry on the Battlefield: A Study of Greek Cavalry from the Peloponnesian Wars to the Second Battle of Mantinea
David Weekley, Patrick Henry College

Historians usually argue that the Greek hoplite phalanx rendered cavalry ineffective until Philip of Macedon and Alexander the Great began to employ cavalry as a shock weapon in the fourth century BCE. This assumption, however, assumes that cavalry are only truly powerful when they are used as a battering ram against enemy infantry. The evidence instead indicates that Greek cavalry could play a lethal role on the battlefield without charging into the waiting spears of enemy infantry. To illustrate the important role Greek horsemen played on the battlefield between the Peloponnesian War and the Second Battle of Mantinea, this paper examines the literary evidence provided by Thucydides, Diodorus, and Xenophon’s accounts. There are two primary movements in this study of Greek cavalry, beginning first with an examination of Athens’ campaigns in Thessaly, Thracian Chalcidice, and Sicily during the Peloponnesian Wars and then moving on to examine the battles at Sardis, Leuctra, and Mantinea. This paper aims to encourage other scholars to reconsider how historians should understand Greek warfare by showing how Athenian and later Spartan imperial ambitions fell apart because of cavalry.


Bernard of Clairvaux’s Writings on Violence and the Sacred
Andrew Pedry, George Mason University

Monk, exegete, political actor and reformer, Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) was not just a man of his times; he was a man who shaped his times.  Bernard’s writings on Christian morality and the transformation of the human spirit in the pursuit of God reverberated in his time and have remained influential through the Protestant Reformation and into the modern era.  The apparent contradiction between his writings on love and those on warfare has resulted in an artificial separation of his writing by scholars; those who are studying monasticism or Bernard in general tend to ignore or gloss over his writings on violence, while those studying the Crusades, warfare, or masculine identity often only look at those writings while ignoring Bernard’s less topical work.  This separation of his writings, though convenient, conceals a deep continuity which runs throughout Bernard’s corpus and cheats Bernard of his intellectual completeness. This paper explores Bernard’s writings on the issues of physical and spiritual violence, demonstrates that they are a coherent part of his wider set of beliefs and shows that, when studied side by side with his other writings, they clarify his thoughts on acceptable monastic and Christian life.


The Protocol of Vengeance in Viking-age Scandinavia
Sefanit Tucker, Yale University

“The Protocol of Vengeance in Viking-age Scandinavia” seeks to discuss by whom and against whom vengeance was condoned in Northern Europe, namely Iceland, between the 9th and 10th centuries. In spite of both modern and contemporaneous portrayals of an excessively violent people, the aim of this paper is to demonstrate the specific cases in which Viking society condoned and employed violence. To this effect, the paper will use particular examples from several major sagas, the only written records of pre-Christian Scandinavia, to outline the precise nuances of violence that corresponded with particular circumstances and stature of the individuals involved.


The Early Effects of Gunpowder on Fortress Design: A Lasting Impact
Matthew F. Bailey, College of the Holy Cross

The introduction of gunpowder did not immediately transform the battlefields of Europe.  Designers of fortifications only had to respond to the destructive threats of siege warfare, and witnessing the technical failures of early gunpowder weaponry would hardly have convinced a European magnate to bolster his defenses.  This essay follows the advancement of gunpowder tactics in late medieval and early Renaissance Europe. In particular, it focuses on Edward III’s employment of primitive ordnance during the Hundred Years’ War, the role of artillery in the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, and the organizational challenges of effectively implementing gunpowder as late as the end of the fifteenth century.  This essay also seeks to illustrate the nature of the development of fortification in response to the emerging threat of gunpowder siege weaponry, including the architectural theories of the early Renaissance Italians, Henry VIII’s English artillery forts of the mid-sixteenth century, and the evolution of the angle bastion.  The article concludes with a short discussion of the longevity and lasting relevance of the fortification technologies developed during the late medieval and early Renaissance eras.


Auðun of the West-Fjords and the Saga Tradition: Similarities of Theme and Structural Suitability
Josie Nolan, Trinity College Dublin

This paper evaluates the story of Auðun from the West Fjords, a þáttr dating from the Sturlunga period of medieval Iceland. It compares the short prose narrative to the much longer sagas in terms of their mutual concerns with kings, peace, and the place of Iceland in a larger Christian world, all of which would have been of major topical importance during the probable period of composition. Building on these common themes, a consideration is offered of the stabilizing nature of Auðun on the societies he passes through and how this relates to his identification as a lucky man. It is established that the story is optimistic and even quixotic. The þáttr, therefore, with its highly patterned, happily ended and usually amusing nature, combined with its brief and enclosed structure is the perfect form to carry such a story, in contrast to the longer, more diffuse sagas.


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