Warfare in the Ancient World: From the Bronze Age to the Fall of Rome

Warfare in the Ancient World: From the Bronze Age to the Fall of Rome

Warfare in the Ancient World: From the Bronze Age to the Fall of Rome

Warfare in the Ancient World: From the Bronze Age to the Fall of Rome

Synopsis

From the clash of bronze weapons on bronze armor to the fall of Rome, war often decided the course of ancient history. This volume is a practical introduction to the study of warfare in the ancient world, beginning with Egypt and Mesopotamia, and tracing the advances made in battle tactics, technology, and government over hundreds of years, culminating with developments in Greece and the Roman Empire. The chronological structure allows the reader to trace certain general themes down through the centuries: how various civilizations waged war; who served in the various armies and why; who the generals and officers were who made the decisions in the field; what type of government controlled these armies; and from what type of society they sprang. Major events and important individuals are discussed in their historical contexts, providing a complete understanding of underlying causes, and enabling readers to follow the evolution of ancient warfare as armies and empires became steadily larger and more sophisticated. Yet as Chrissanthos makes clear, history comes full circle during this period. Rome's collapse in 476 C.E. inaugurated an unforeseen dark age in which great armies were left decimated despite advanced technology that, while proving decisive in the outcome of many critical battles and stand-offs, had vanished amidst the Empire's crumbling walls.

Excerpt

The lives of ancient peoples may seem far removed, socially, linguistically, and especially technologically, from the concerns of the modern world. Yet the popularity of historical subjects on both the big and little screens— Troy, Alexander, 300; HBO’s Rome, the many History Channel programs— demonstrates the abiding fascination the ancient world continues to exert. Some people are drawn to the dramatic differences between the ancient and modern; others seek to find the origins for contemporary cultural features or the sources to provide meaning to our modern lives. Regardless of approach, the past holds something valuable for all of us. It is literally the root of who we are, physically through our actual ancestors, and culturally in establishing the foundations for our current beliefs and practices in religious, social, domestic and political arenas. The same ancients that we study were themselves drawn to their own pasts, often asking questions similar to the ones we pose today about our past.

The books in Praeger’s series on the Ancient World address different topics from various perspectives. The ones on myth, sports, technology, warfare, and women explore these subjects cross-culturally, both within the ancient Mediterranean context—Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, and others— and between the ancient Mediterranean cultures and those of the Americas, Africa and Asia. Others, including the volumes on literature, men, sexuality, and on politics and society, examine their topic more specifically within a Greek or Greek and Roman cultural framework.

All renowned scholars committed to bringing the fruits of their research to wider audiences, each author brings a distinctive new approach to their topic that differentiates them from the many books that exist on the ancient world. A major strength of the first group is their multi-cultural breadth, which is both informative in its comprehensive embrace and provides numerous opportunities for comparative insights. Likewise, the books in the second group explore their topics in dramatically new ways: the inner life of male identity; the contributions of both women and men to the social polity; the ancient constructions of concepts of sexuality and eroticism.

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