Dr Roel Konijnendijk

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Academic Background

After a BA in History and an MPhil in Ancient History at Leiden, I spent a year in Taiwan and another year at the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities before moving to London for a PhD at UCL. Since then, I have been Past & Present Junior Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, Associate Lecturer in Greek History at Birkbeck, Teaching Fellow in Greek History at Warwick, and Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at Leiden.

Research Interests

My main interest is in Classical Greek warfare, its historiography, and its modern reception. My research so far has primarily focused on how Greeks wrote about battle, what values we can derive from such writings, and how modern scholars have built these values into narratives about the development of warfare in history. I am fascinated by the deep roots of our scholarly views on Greek warfare, and how strongly they draw on contemporary military experience. I argue that modern universalising perspectives on war inhibit our understanding of Antiquity: the Greek way of war was meaningfully different from our general notions of warfare and can only be studied within its social and cultural context.

I have also published on other aspects of ancient society, politics, and war, such as Achaemenid royal ideology, Spartan self-representation, and violence in Athenian democracy.

Research Keywords

Classical Greece, warfare, historiography, democracy, Athens, Sparta, history of scholarship


I tutor in Ancient History (GH1, 2, 3; RH4; Aristophanes; Thucydides; Democracy; Alexander) and offer lectures on Classical Greek history.


Full Publications:

Selected Publications:

'Playing dice for the polis: pitched battle in Greek military thought', TAPA 151.1 (2021, in press)
'Risk, chance and danger in Classical Greek writing about battle', JAH 8.2 (2020), 1-12
‘Who wrote Kromayer’s survey of Greek warfare?’, History of Classical Scholarship 2 (2020), 1-17
‘Democracy as protection against intra-communal violence in Classical Greece’, in Violence and Democracy (London: The British Academy, 2019), 44-47
‘Commemoration through fear: the Spartan reputation as a weapon of war’, in M. Giangiulio, E. Franchi, G. Proietti (eds.), Commemorating War and War Dead: Ancient and Modern (Stuttgart: Steiner Verlag, 2019), 257-269Classical Greek Tactics: A Cultural History (Leiden: Brill, 2018)
'Mardonius' senseless Greeks', CQ 66.1 (2016), 1-12
‘Iphikrates the innovator and the historiography of Lechaion’, in N. Sekunda, B. Burliga (eds.), Iphicrates, Peltasts and Lechaeum (Gdansk: Akanthina, 2014), 84-94
‘“Neither the less valorous nor the weaker”: Persian military might and the battle of Plataia’, Historia 61.1 (2012), 1-17