Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Position Statements
>>Western Way of War

Controversy: Western Way of War / Civic Militarism
Position: -


* Morillo/Pavkovic 2006 p83, 85
"Though Hanson's conclusions about Greek tactics, strategy, and especially the development of 'civic militarism' have been questioned by other Greek specialists, ... [w]hat attracted much wider attention and dispute was the claim Hanson built on his examination of Greek hoplite warfare: that the Greeks had established a 'western way of war' characterized by face-to-face combat (as opposed to the more indirect and missle-oriented tactices of 'oriental' warfare) and supported by political-military systems built on citizenship (as opposed to subjection) and a resulting 'civic militarism.'  This style, he claimed, remained a constant characteristic of western combat and led to the  triumph of western civilization globally. ...
"[...] That Greece and Rome qualify only as 'spiritual ancestors' of modern western powers is a conclusion that necessarily emerges not just from Hanson's omission of Byzantium from the list of western powers, but from the major substantive problem military historians find with Hanson's thesis: the place of the Middle Ages in his argument.  Or more accurately, its lack of a place.  Hanson posits Greeks as the creators of a continuous, connected tradition of civic militarism that made western powers more effective militarily -- 'more effective killers' -- than their rivals.  But no historian of Imperial Rome or of medieval military history would accept Hanson's characterization of western 'civic militarism' as applying to the Roman Empire or medieval Western Europe, nor would the history of Western European military conflict between 400 and 1400 supply much support for the superiority of a 'western way of war.' ... Without continuity between classical Greece and the modern West, Hanson's argument loses much of its force."