25 September 2006

Problems with Military History

I just noticed this post at Civil War Bookshelf. Dmitri Rotov's problems with a book on the Teutonic Knights reminded me of how ancient military history is riddled with problems of limited sources to describe events. Donald Kagan's traditional account of the Periclean strategy for the Peloponnesian War is a case in point. He overlooks some questions related to logistics because he restricts himself to written sources such as Pericles' speeches in Thucydides rather than getting out a map and trying to solve military and nautical problems. In the absence of sufficient written resources, sometimes we have to play general (or admiral).

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