Rational for Category Structure
The XENOPHONGroup website is structured to address military actions and institutions under the broad areas of: chronological evolution of military developments, geographical locations of such, topical aspects of military study, and research and evidence applied to the examination of military history. These categories usually overlap, and few aspects of military history are ever adequately addressed from any single categorical perspective. Some themes need to be studied as they evolve over time, and also as they relate to their particular physical and cultural environments. As with establishing any categories, some arbitrary decisions are necessary. Therefore, the following provides the rational for the particular structure employed in the XENOPHONGroup website. Each main category is divided into sub-categories, which will list links to websites and webpages as such are made available.

Initially, the Chronological structure will be the most devloped.

Ancient/Classical Era Medieval Era Renaissance/Early Modern Era
Modern Era 18th-19th Centuries 20th Century

Dividing history into time periods -- 'periodization' -- is arbitrary. Such 'periods' are usually the result of looking back upon human experience and attempting to implant some degree of commonality or special identification of an increment of time. The natural flow of history does not suggest such clear or distinct divisions exist or are even recognized during the time period that they occur. However, when studying past human developments, scholars generally agree on some distinctive patterns that associate populations into 'cultures', 'civilizations' and 'societies'. Scholars eventually assign 'labels' for the periods and favor -- at least in the Western World -- to associate the distinctive eras with the beginnings or endings of the numbered centuries accepted in modern conventions. There is not complete agreement among scholars as to the specific titles or time increments of the various historical periods.
Such 'periodization', though necessary for orderly study of history, is convenient only for rough generalizations about past human experience and behavior. The specific chronological limits must always be suspect when applied to specific observations and assessments of history. Transitions between periods -- to the degree that there is agreement -- do not take effect at all locations at the same time nor effect clear transitions. The unspecified convention followed by most Western European historians has been to relate the predominant patterns of the dominant state or society at the time when defining the particular 'period' or 'era' in the history being studied.

Ancient/Classical Era

This era covers from the beginning of present day knowledge about warfare among humans to c.400 CE.
As with all the major eras, this one can be divided into distinct sub periods. A relatively 'primitive' form of fighting evolved, reflecting the nature of the human societies, up until roughly 1200 to 700 BCE, when the Assyrian's exhibited significant organization of fighting units and campaign planning in warfare. From about 600 to 400 BCE, warfare was conducted by increasingly more structured armies, again representing the developments of their societies, especially in Egypt, Persia, and Greece.
Military evolution accompanied the civilization that emerged from the Middle East and expanded throughout the Mediterranean world, which eventually would be the foundation of Western European civilization. Around 400 BCE, Macedona merged with the Greek culture and dominated until Rome began to expand as a result of its struggle against Carthage. Rome expanded into a great empire that dominated most of Western Europe and adjacent regions from about 200 BCE to 200 CE. Even in its slow decline (from about 200 to 400 CE) Rome represented the most significant bulwark in defense of the Western world against an array of formidable 'barbarian' onslaughts. Some of the 'barbarians' were thwarted, some merged into or associated with the Roman world. However, Rome's most serious threat was the separation of the empire into an 'Eastern' [Byzantine], governed from Constantinople, and a 'Western' domain, governed from Rome. These two separated in 395. The eastern empire maintained an impressive Greek-speaking empire well into the following 'medieval era' of the West European societies. The Roman, Latin-speaking western empire withered due to a complex series of circumstances. The sack of Rome by barbarians in 410 is often given as the date of the 'fall of the West Roman empire'. However, the empire actually withered as it entrusted its military defense to barbarian mercenaries.

Currently, XenophonGroup has no webpages for this era.


Medieval Era

The Medieval Era for Western Europe generally covers c.400-1500 CE.
The sub divisions within this era can be viewed as beginning with the Early Middle Ages 400-1000, which saw the continued threats of 'barbarian' invasions. New 'barbarian' kingdoms emerged in various parts of Europe. One of the most impressive was the Frankish domain that achieved a brief, imperial period under Charlemagne (771-814). Concurrently. there was the emergence and rapid expansion of Islam, which effectively collapsed the vestiges of the ancient 'Roman world' to the confines of Western Europe by the late 800s. The Carolingian empire collapsed rapidly after Charlemagne, and Western Continental Europe suffered assaults of vigorous Viking raids during the eighth and ninth centuries.
Chaos and anarchy prevailed in Western Europe, in what some label the 'Dark Ages', roughly between 800 and 1000. This label is an exaggeration, as many pockets of the ancient Roman civilization remained and became seeds for the Western European civilization. By the end of the tenth century, two strong kingdoms had evolved from the former Carolingian empire. The western most part, the kingdom of the Franks, was ruled by the House of Capet (Capetians); the eastern part continued under German Saxon kings, who attempted to rule Italy and the various German-speaking communities as a 'Roman Empire'. One stabilizing feature left from Western Europe's ancient heritage was the Roman Church. Through a network of church monasteries and establishments, it maintained as sense of unity in the society strongly influenced by faith.
In some respects, during much of this 'Early Middle Ages', warfare in the West European societies had relapsed in terms of formal organization and understanding of advanced force-employment concepts. It may have been in confronting the Islamic offensive, or more specifically in attempting to recover the Holy Land in the Levant that European warfare began to develop after 1000, and slowly regain stature on par with that of the ancient 'classical' era.

XenophonGroup has pages under the Société de l'Orflamme website that cover many of these developments. This coverage continues into what is generally labeled the 'High Middle Ages (1000-1400)' and 'Late Middle Ages (1400-1500)'. The site focuses on medieval France, which was at the center of so much European military history from Charlemagne, through to the end of the Hundred Years' War.


Renaissance/Early Modern Era

From about 1500 to roughly 1800 CE, Western Europe experienced dramatic transformations in most all aspects of its civilization. Commerce, technology, political administration and intellectual study (science) developed beyond most of the levels enjoyed at the height of the earlier classical era . Organized warfare contributed to, and was influenced by, these trends. While many refer to an 'era of military Renaissance', the expression is more suited to describing the intellectual developments. Between roughly 1500 to 1600, Spain's military and naval power was among the most prominent. Its army was one of the first to adopt extensively the robust use of firearms. Its gun-armed sailing ships were among the most formidable on the high seas. However, land army and naval prowess spread throughout most of Western Europe from about 1600 to 1700, a period most frequently identified as the 'Beginning of Modern Warfare'.

XenophonGroup supports the The Early Modern Warfare Society website.


Modern Era

Complexity of societies, expansiveness of devloped states, and the large amount of available knowledge related to 'modern' history necessitates dividing the study of military activities between 1800 and the present into two broad sub eras. These are the eighteenth though nineteenth centuries, and the twentieth century. Each has its own section below.


18th-19th Centuries

During the first part of the eighteenth century, European military supremacy over most all adjacent regions became evident and opened the way to establishing colonial empires. The latter half of the eighteenth century witnessed the employment of European military forces around the world -- particularly in North America.

XenophonGroup supports the American Revolution Round Table website that links to many sites and pages on the entire American War for Independence.

XenophonGroup has pages under the Expédition Particulière Commemorative Cantonment Society website that covers the Franco-American coalition that proved decisive in the American War for Independence.

Admittedly, the narrow focus on the American Revolution is an inadequate representation of Western military developments in the eighteenth century. The XenophonGroup intends eventually to offer, and to link to other sites addressing European wars.

The nineteenth century had two distinct European military sub periods: Napoleonic Era (1800-1850) and the Emergence of the 'Professional' Headquarters' Staffs (1850-1900).

Currently, XenophonGroup has no webpages for either sub period.


20th Century

This era is defined by two great world wars: World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945), which incorporated introduction of aerial warfare and nuclear weapons. Western Europe military power became linked to North America as an 'Atlantic' defense of Western Civilization. By the mid century, the focus of Western military strength had been transferred to North America, and a formal North Atlantic Organization attempted to form a sustained coalition defense establishment of nations adhering to the democratic principals of the West.

A 'Cold War' era (1945-1999) witnessed the Western Powers' involvement in 'limited' [in terms of objectives and military operations] and 'coalition' wars, and 'police actions' conducted by multi-national armed forces. Most of these operations were outside of Europe.
Growth, during times on 'non-delcared war', of sustained large standing military force structures which were linked to industrial-political-military complexes emerged in the leading Western Powers. The Western Powers developed large 'defense' ministries, or departments, that were 'civilian-headed' to manage the extensive military organizations.

Military operations evidenced an accelerated pace is execution over large regions. This was enabled by new electronics and air transportation. Advanced communications and surveillance provided strategic command and control (C 2) to direct global operational units, that were increasingly deployed using growing strategic air mobility capabilities.

Currently, XenophonGroup has no webpages for this era.


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Western Europe Eastern Europe North America
Middle East Africa Far East

Military history as it unfolds in particular geographical regions.

Only two countries in Western Europe have limited links:

None of the other above listed regions has active links at present.


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Organization Doctrine Technology
Armaments Logistics Training

Instutions (organization and doctrine); operational methods (strategy and tactical); weapons and industrial basis; communications and command and control; governmental influneces, economic and social influences; etc.

None of the above listed topics has active links at present.


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Documents Museums Structural Remains
Artifacts Images Methodology

Research archival material, observe archeological evidence in museums and at structural remains (ruins or preserved).
Most 'evidence' of the past is subject to interpretation. Many scholars are influenced by vaious theories that guide their interpretaton. Such 'methodologies' can often inject observations that go beyond the actual 'evidence'.

None of the above listed areas has active links at present.


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This page was created September 2000. Last revised 1 November 2007.
Comments can be sent to the XENOPHONGroup.com.