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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Translation, Transmission, and Cultural Transfer seminar: ‘Reading Clausewitz to Understand Thucydides: Prussian Militarism and the Modern Study of Ancient Greek Warfare’ (Dr Roel Konijnendijk)

26 September 2018

Time: 6:00pm
Speaker: Dr Roel Konijnendijk (University of Leiden)
Venue: ArtsOne 1.28


The earliest academic experts in the field of Ancient Greek military history were Germans with often close ties to the military, and they studied the subject from a very particular perspective. They understood warfare through the lens of Prussian professionalism, the military academy, and 19th-century technology. But the Greeks they studied were amateurs, who had no professional army or officer class or military theory. The result is that these German scholars felt compelled not just translate and interpret sources from Greek to German (and, in the case of their Anglophone successors, from Greek to English), but to translate them from the imprecise and open-ended language of the citizen-soldier to the specific terminology of modern military textbooks. An important element of the way we now (mis)understand Greek warfare is this distortion that lies at the foundation of all our theories.

Full programme here. 

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