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  • Author or Editor: David Whitehead x
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This paper focuses on a group of ten ancient Greek authors who, even in a world where warfare was endemic, can be classified as expressly military writers. They deal with scenarios of either battle or siege, and they show differing blends of realism and fantasy in doing so. Nine of the ten, most recently Athenaeus Mechanicus, have received appropriate attention in modern scholarship; the tenth, Apollodorus of Damascus, is in need of closer (and more sceptical) study. Plans for providing this are here outlined, and reflections are offered on the “genre” as a whole.

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When seen or presumed in the actions of gods rather than of men, phthonos (‘spite’) has traditionally been regarded as a disturbingly “primitive” form of behaviour, punishing those who have done nothing to deserve punishment (but are simply too successful or prosperous for the deity’s liking), and chiefly manifesting itself in such authors as Herodotus and such genres as Attic tragedy. After the fifth century BC, orthodoxy holds, this gives way to a more enlightened world-view; now spite is confined to humans, and the gods treat humankind more justly. But K. J. Dover once voiced his suspicion that belief in divine phthonos lingered on, and here I try to show that he was right. In the fourth century, divine phthonos itself is still spoken of (by such disparate authors as Aristophanes and Xenophon); and in later writers, from Polybius to Pausanias, the idea of tyche (‘chance’) takes on both the vocabulary and. more important, the substantive role of supernatural phthonos .

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