Book Review: New Perspectives on Ancient Warfare


by Garrett G. Fagan & Matthew Trundle, editors

Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2010. Pp. xiii, 372. Illus., notes, biblio., index. $199.00. ISBN: 9004185984

New Perspectives on Ancient Warfare has ageneral introduction and ten essays by leading scholars that explore new views on development of warfare in the ancient west, beginning with the transition from chariotry to cavalry through Caesar’s first campaign in Gaul. 

The papers, most of which originated in presentations at a conference on the subject held in 2007, cover such topics as the evolution of Assyrian battle tactics, recruiting of Achaemenid Persian cavalry, the introduction of pay for naval service in ancient Greece, the Carthaginian Navy, and the early Roman Army.  While all of the essays are quite interesting, several stand out. 

The introduction reminds us that, although many scholars prefer to overlook the matter, war was a central feature of all ancient societies, while, “Weapons, Technological Determination, and Ancient Warfare”, points out that the side with the better equipment did not come out on top as often as technocrats would like to believe, and “Phalanges in Rome?”, a look at the evolution of Roman military institutions under the monarchy and early Republic. 

A volume in Brill’s series “History of Warfare”, New Perspectives on Ancient Warfare is very valuable book for the student of ancient military history.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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