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Recent scholarship has repeatedly challenged the notion that Greek warfare was ever characterized by rule-bound battles in open ground. This article builds on those challenges by asking to what extent a morality that favored pitched battle affected military thinking at all. Some appeals to such values survive from the Classical period, but they are ambiguous, ineffectual, and often contested. There is much more consistent evidence for the opposite view: that the risks of open battle were too great, that engaging in them was therefore irresponsible, and that other kinds of military operation were preferred.