A Sensory History of Ancient Warfare

Reconstructing the Physical Experience of War in the Classical World

Conor Whately

Date Published :
August 2021
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
16 illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781473895126
Pages : 192
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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How can we attempt to understand the experience of those involved in ancient battles, sieges and campaigns? What was the visual impact of seeing the massed ranks of the enemy approaching or the sky darkened with their arrows? How did it feel to be trapped in the press of bodies as phalanxes clashed shield to shield? What of the taste of dust on the march or the smell of split blood and entrails? What of the rumble of approaching cavalry, the clash of iron weapons and the screams of the dying? The assault on all five senses which must have occurred is the subject of this innovative book.

Sensory history is a new approach that attempts to understand the full spectrum of the experience of the participants in history. Conor Whately is the first to apply the discipline in a dedicated study of warfare in the classical world. He draws on literary, archaeological, reconstructive and comparative evidence to understand the human experience of the ancient battlefield in unprecedented depth.


"[This] is a series of case studies of famous battles, each containing an overview of how and why it was fought, in some cases the long-term effects, and a discussion of the available source material. Written informally but accessibly, this is a credible introduction for novice readers. Recommended. General readers and undergraduates."

- L. W. Marvin, Berry College, CHOICE, July 2022 Vol. 59 No. 11

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