Ancient Greek War
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

War in Ancient Greece

Chigi vase
Greek soldiers (Chigi vase)

January 2017 - Wars were very common in ancient Greece. The Greeks lived in little city-states, each one like a small town in the United States today, with no more than about 100,000 people in each city-state. These city-states - Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes - were always fighting each other over their borders. Often they would get together in leagues, a lot of city-states together, to fight as allies.

Sometimes other people invaded Greece, and then there would be wars to defend the city-states from the invaders. Sometimes the city-states fought together, and sometimes they didn't.
Then again, sometimes the Greeks fought in other countries. They invaded other countries and took them over, or they raided other cities and took their stuff. And they often fought for pay, as mercenaries, when one foreign country fought another (more on this here).

Although there were many wars in ancient Greece, most of them we don't know very much about. There are four main wars that we do know about, thanks to the writing of Homer and Herodotus and Thucydides and Arrian. These are the Trojan War (about 1250 BC, but it may be mainly a made-up story), the Persian Wars (490-480 BC) and the Peloponnesian War (441-404 BC) and the campaigns of Alexander the Great (331-323 BC). Then a little later, Greece was taken over by the Romans (146 BC), which we know about thanks to Polybius.

Learn by doing: make a Greek shield
More about Greek hoplite soldiers
More about Greek warships

Bibliography and further reading about Greek warfare:

Ancient Greek War & Weapons (People in the Past), by Haydn Middleton (2002). Easy reading.

Greek Hoplite (Soldier Through the Ages), by Martin Windrow (1985). , from Scholastic.

Greek Hoplite 480-323 BC, by Nicholas Sekunda (2000). From Britain. A good first guide, useful for painting models or illustrating reports.

Greece and Rome at War, by Peter Connolly (1998). Not so easy to read, but not impossible either.

More about Greek hoplite soldiers
More about the Persian Wars
Ancient Greece
Quatr.us home


For Presidents' Day, check out our articles about Washington in the Revolutionary War and Lincoln in the Civil War. Find out about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the other Amendments, and how Washington promised to include freedom of religion.
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Proud of your class page, homework page, or resource page? Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Cool stuff we've been enjoying: Looking for birthday gifts? Check out these new Chromebooks - all the computer you need for only $229.00!. Then study in peace with these Beats wireless headphones - for the exact same price! When you're done, show off your presentation or watch a movie with this excellent smartphone projector for only $39.99!


Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
Looking for more?
ADVERTISEMENT
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 22 February, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT