Mind of War Project
Modern Insights from Ancient Warfare
Welcome to the Mind of War Project, an initiative focussing on the enduring human element in warfare. As conflict ultimately remains a human activity, emphasis on technology (changes in the character of war) risks minimising the enduring human aspect (the nature of war).
This project serves as a reminder of the fundamental importance of the human element in warfare, and the ongoing need to understand both ourselves and our adversaries in any future conflict.
Dr Charles Vandepeer reflects on the enduring insights on warfare drawing from ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine accounts of battle.
Initially, the main project outputs will be a series of short videos, with a new video uploaded on the first of each month, with the opportunity to expand these depending on engagement and interest.
Mind of War Project Introduction
A Different Game
Understanding reality is a crucial aspect of military command.
For great commanders it is more than just understanding reality.
Their ability see beyond the present reality, to see what other commanders do not or cannot, has often proven critical in achieving battlefield victory.
Veni, Vidi, Vici
Julius Caesar deliberately used speed as a tactic for achieving surprise, narrowing his enemies’ options and exploiting the psychological advantage of acting with purpose.
The Need For Speed
A consistent theme of successful Generals was the ability to move quickly and decisively. Speed hinders the adversary’s capacity to recognise what is happening and to adapt effectively.
Herodotus 2 Peers & Politics: When Nobody Wins A Prize
Themistocles was clearly the best commander but peers and politics ensured that nobody was awarded for their efforts.
Herodotus 1 – Do you really, really want to know?
Herodotus 1 – King Xerxes had solid intelligence available to help him better understand the enemies he would fight during his invasion of Greece but was incapable of accepting the answers to his questions.
Thucydides: Quick Insights 1
Thucydides 1 – A 2,500 year old Question. What did Spartan King Archidamus think was so important to factor into decision-making? And what is the 2,500 year-old question that remains just as relevant today?
Thucydides: Quick Insights 2
Thucydides 2 – Reality Bites. Learning from the Corinthians and their perspectives on planning and fighting, winning and losing
Thucydides: Quick Insights 3
Thucydides 3 – The Wrong Lesson. War is a stern teacher, but how do militaries ensure that they are not learning the wrong lessons in conflict?
Thucydides: Longer Analysis
Thucydides – Knowing me, trying to know you. This longer analysis considers enduring insights from the ancient Admiral’s work with relevance to the modern battlefield (this is an expanded version of Quick Insights – Thucydides).