The Great Battles of Antiquity: A Strategic and Tactical Guide to Great Battles That Shaped the Development of War

The Great Battles of Antiquity: A Strategic and Tactical Guide to Great Battles That Shaped the Development of War

The Great Battles of Antiquity: A Strategic and Tactical Guide to Great Battles That Shaped the Development of War

The Great Battles of Antiquity: A Strategic and Tactical Guide to Great Battles That Shaped the Development of War

Synopsis

The "Great Captains" frequently looked to crucial battles to learn lessons that they themselves employed. While the battles of antiquity have often been examined, Western generals looked to the wars of the Greeks and the Romans, the Chinese to their own campaigns, and so on. Never before have military leaders and other students of military history had the benefit of a systematic look at the key battles throughout the ancient world. In this volume, Gabriel and Boose examine the 31 wars, campaigns or battles from Megiddo (1479 B.C.) to the fall of Constantinople (A.D. 1453) that had the greatest impact on the ancient world, stretching from the Mediterranean through the Middle East to Japan and Korea. Beginning with Megiddo, the first battle in history for which there is a relatively detailed account of strategy and tactics, Gabriel and Boose provide a systematic survey of major battles, wars, and campaigns. Each analysis begins with the Strategic Setting, which places events within the larger political and strategic context: then looks to The Antagonists, providing a comparative look at each army, its equipment, tactics, weaponry, logistics, style of combat leadership, and doctrine to assess its major strengths and weaknesses. The authors then examine The Battle, offering a detailed account of the struggle complete with maps and charts to clarify the analysis of what happened on the battlefield. The final section, Lessons of War, dissects each battle for its successes and failures that are particularly relevant to the development and conduct of war in the modern age. Each survey ends with a bibliography of key sources for further reading. This volume is designed to be an invaluablereference source for military historians and professionals as well as the general reader.

Excerpt

The study of the military history of the ancient world is a curious pursuit. It is not exactly a growth industry, and even less so in a society which seems to devalue history more than the older societies of Europe. It remains one of the more curious aspects of American intellectual life that there are only a handful of institutions of higher learning where a student may pursue a Ph.D. in the field of military history. Viewed in this light, the study of ancient military history is less attainable than specific areas of concentration in even the more arcane areas of physics and genetics. With the exception of its highest graduate schools, even within the military itself the study of ancient military history is hardly stressed. It is a common view that the march of military technology has rendered the study of the lessons taught by the ancients on long-forgotten battlefields mostly irrelevant.

This book is a direct challenge to this state of affairs, and rests upon the conviction that ancient military history has much to teach not only the professional soldier, but the public policy maker and average citizen as well. For it is with the citizenry of a democracy that the ultimate decision to support or reject a war rests. For soldiers, policy makers, and citizens to remain ignorant of what has gone before in the history of arms is almost to guarantee that the egregious errors of the past will be repeated, albeit in a different but analogous form, by the soldiers and politicians of the present.

Perhaps a single example will serve to demonstrate what is at issue here. For most of the American population the Gulf War of 1991 appeared a unique undertaking wherein the forces of high technology and moral righteousness confronted the personification of evil in the person of an "insane" dictator who . . .

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