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Weapons, Technological Determinism, And Ancient Warfare

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on typological analysis, comparative works and detailed accounts of the military performance of dozens of different weapons and their tactics. The idea that the weapon is the decisive item that could by itself win battles, or make a significant difference to their outcomes, entails a certain simplification of the complex reality of warfare. This simplification is what is commonly labeled 'technological determinism'. Determinism aims to explain the transformations of warfare from the point of view of technological innovation, simplifying the otherwise complex dynamics of war into a single element. In ancient warfare, physical or material predominance was not always sought, but a moral reward was often preferred. Honor and profit were powerful objectives by themselves, and they could both be satisfied without disproportionate bloodshed.

Keywords: technological determinism; warfare; weapons

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