Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC: Holy Warriors at the Dawn of History

Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC: Holy Warriors at the Dawn of History

Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC: Holy Warriors at the Dawn of History

Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC: Holy Warriors at the Dawn of History

Synopsis

The only book available that covers this subject, Warfare in the Ancient Near Eastis a groundbreaking and fascinating study of ancient near Eastern military history from the Neolithic era to the middle Bronze Ages.

Drawing on an extensive range of textual, artistic and archaeological data, William J. Hamblin synthesizes current knowledge and offers a detailed analysis of the military technology, ideology and practices of Near Eastern warfare.

Paying particular attention to the earliest known examples of holy war ideaology in Mesopotamia and Egypt, Hamblin focuses on:

• recruitment and training of the infantry
• the logistics and weaponry of warfare
• the shift from stone to metal weapons
• the role played by magic
• narratives of combat and artistic representations of battle
• the origins and development of the chariot as military transportation
• fortifications and siegecraft
•developments in naval warfare.

Beautifully illustrated, including maps of the region, this book is essential for experts and non-specialists alike.

Excerpt

While working on this book over the past few years, my motto, along with Shakespeare’s Prospero, has necessarily been: “Me, poor man, my library was dukedom large enough” (Tempest, I, ii, 126). As anyone who has written a book can attest, it is both an exhilarating and an exasperating experience. It is also, paradoxically, a most lonely endeavor that can only be accomplished with the assistance of many friends and colleagues.

It is my pleasure to thank numerous people and institutions for their generous assistance in writing this book. The History Department and the College of Family Home and Social Sciences at Brigham Young University (BYU) provided a much-needed sabbatical and research funds to complete this book. The Institute for the Preservation of Ancient and Religious Texts at BYU provided resources for released time from teaching and for hiring a research assistant. Likewise BYU’s General Education and Honors Program, Middle East Studies Program, and Kennedy Center for International Studies, were all liberal with resources for travel and research. Jake Olmstead provided helpful research assistance. John Gee, William “Bill” Gay Associate Research Professor of Egyptology at The Institute for the Preservation of Ancient and Religious Texts, BYU, was very accommodating with his advice on matters Egyptological. Michael Lyon, artist and scholar, produced the illustrations. Prof. Dr. Eric Gubel, Senior Keeper of Antiquities in Royal Museums of Art & History in Brussels, kindly provided a digital photograph of one of the cylinder seals from that collection.

On a more personal level, I would like to thank my wife’s family for admirable restraint in limiting the number and frequency of questions to my wife concerning why her errant husband was not attending certain mandatory family functions. My father gave a fine rendition of Pope Julius to my less than adequate Michelangelo; it is a matter of no little irritation that, while undergoing chemotherapy no less, he finished two books in the time it took me to finish this one. I am more than thrilled that his personal “al-Qaeda cells” have been defeated. Finally, I must thank my wife and children for their unending patience and support. To them I can only say: I have at last emerged from the dungeon.

William J. Hamblin Provo, Utah, 2005 . . .

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