From Sumer to Rome: The Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies

From Sumer to Rome: The Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies

From Sumer to Rome: The Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies

From Sumer to Rome: The Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies

Synopsis

This in-depth work demonstrates that ancient battles rivaled those of the modern period in size, complexity, and lethality. The organization of armies of the ancient world, their performance, their military operations, and their ability to raise the art of warfare to towering heights are the focus of this carefully documented volume. An examination is made of all the major military establishments of the Bronze and Iron Ages. Corroborative evidence is drawn from modern analysis when accepting or rejecting the claims of ancient writers. Where that was lacking, the authors conducted their own empirical studies of ancient weapons which led to better understanding of how ancient battles were really fought.

Excerpt

This book is about the military capabilities of the armies of the ancient world, about their capacity to conduct combat operations against their enemies in various environments. We focus on the period between 4000 B.C. and A.D. 100 and examine all the major military establishments of the Bronze and Iron ages. Thus, the title, From Sumer to Rome, required an analysis of the armies of Sumer Egypt, Assyria, Persia, and classical and imperial Greece and the legions of Rome. We attempt in these pages to provide the reader with an appreciation of how the armies of the ancient world were organized, how they conducted military operations, how well they performed, and how they were able to raise the art of warfare to such towering heights.

It is, perhaps, a fair question to ask why anyone would want to write a book about the military establishments of a period that is so far removed in human history from the present. Clearly, whatever achievements in military structures and warfare were evident in the ancient world can hardly be relevant to those of us who live in an age of ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. It must certainly be true that no matter how proficient the ancient soldier was in the invention of weapons and the conduct of war, these levels of proficiency must have easily been surpassed by armies of the present. And, no doubt, the combat soldier of today is faced with tasks and difficulties decidedly different from those faced by any soldier who has gone before because, after all, today's soldiers are modern men. There can be, then, little value in learning about these ancient soldiers if what is sought is an understanding of warfare today.

Such commonly held views are incorrect. They can be sustained only by ignoring a great deal of historical evidence about the ability of ancient armies . . .

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