1st Edition

Unit Cohesion and Warfare in the Ancient World Military and Social Approaches

Edited By Joshua R. Hall, Louis Rawlings, Geoff Lee Copyright 2023

    This book explores unit cohesion in ancient armies, and how this contributed to the making of war in the Mediterranean world. It takes a varied approach to the subject, from looking at individual groups within larger armies to juxtaposing vertical and horizontal types of cohesion, providing a more detailed understanding of how groups were kept together.

    Within the broader definition of ‘unit cohesion’, this volume approaches more specific aspects of military cohesion in the ancient Mediterranean world including how individual soldiers commit to one another; how armies and units are maintained through hierarchy and the ‘chain of command’; and social cohesion, in which social activities and aspects of social power help bind an army or unit together. Examples from across the ancient Mediterranean are explored in this volume, from Classical Greece to Late Antiquity, with topics such as how armies and units cohere during the sacking of cities, Roman standards as a focus of religious cohesion, and how the multi-ethnic mercenary armies of Carthage cohered. Modern approaches to social cohesion are deployed throughout, and these essays serve as an important complement to existing literature on unit cohesion more generally.

    Unit Cohesion and Warfare in the Ancient World is of interest to students and scholars of ancient warfare, military history and military studies, as well as those working on the ancient Mediterranean world more broadly.

    Unit Cohesion in the Ancient World – An Introduction, Joshua R. Hall; 1. The Eager Amateur: Unit Cohesion and the Athenian Hoplite Phalanx, Roel Konijnendijk; 2. The Rhodian Slingers in Xenophon’s Anabasis, C.W. Marshall; 3. Keeping It Together: Aeneas Tacticus and Unit Cohesion in Ancient Greek Siege Warfare, Aimee Schofield; 4. ‘Once Within the Gates’: Storming Cities and Unit Cohesion in Ancient Mediterranean Warfare, Gabriel Baker; 5. Unit Cohesion in the Multi-Ethnic Armies of Carthage, Joshua R. Hall and Louis Rawlings; 6. Roman Standards and Trumpets as Implements of Cohesion in Battle, Adam Anders; 7. The Legionary Standards as a Means of Religious Cohesion, Ben Greet; 8. Looking for Unit Cohesion at the End of Antiquity, Conor Whately; 9. ‘They Were Routed’: Cohesion and Disintegration in Ancient Battle, Louis Rawlings.


    Joshua R. Hall is a part-time faculty member at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, OR, USA. He studies war and social formation in the ancient world, and is the author of The Armies of Carthage (Pen & Sword).

    Louis Rawlings is senior lecturer in ancient history at Cardiff University. He has published extensively on Carthaginian, Greek, and Roman history. He is the author of The Ancient Greeks at War (University of Manchester Press).

    "The book is a welcome addition to the literature considering psychological aspects of the ancient military, and it does a good job of relating the abstract concept of unit cohesion to its impact on the battlefield."The Classical Review