Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 70% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

This is an interesting introduction to an obscure (in archaeological terms) subject. The author has written extensively on this period, and appears to keep up with current archaeological developments. The colour plates are not very lively so only four stars. Bearing in mind the sources as given in the Plate Commentaries, that is hardly surprising, though some of the other Osprey series do manage to put a lot of life into their reconstruction.

The Contents are -
P03: The Historical Background
.The struggle for power following Alexander's death: the Diadochi - the Argeads - the Antipatrids - the Antigonids - Rome's decisive victory - the final revolts
P06: Historical Sources
P07: Army Staff
.Bodyguards - hyspaspistai - royal pages
P08: Cavalry
.clothing and equipment - recruitment- regiments
.Organization and strength
P13 Infantry
.The Macedonian pike - Macedonian shields - helmets - cuirasses
.Recruitment - organization - officers -chiliarchia - pay
.The phalanx regiments: peltastai - agema - chalkaspides - leukaspides
P38: Select Bibliography
P41: Plate Commentaries
P48: Index

The Colour Plates, pages 25-32:
A: Cavalry Inspection, c.325-300 BC: This shows three figures and a horse in front of some buildings, with another small figure of a man and a horse in the background - "figures A1 and A3 are based (sic) two similar Pompeian frescos from the 'House of Jason' and the 'House of the Golden Cupids', reproducing a painting of the 4th century BC."
B: Guard Cavalry, c.325-300 BC: This shows three figures lounging against a very colourfully-decorated wall - "Nearly all the figures in our Plates B- are based on the Agios Athanasios Tomb, dating to the last quarter of the 4th century BC. This tomb, discovered in 1994, lies close to Thessaloniki at the site of the ancient Herakleia on Axos."
C: Royal Page & Heavy Cavalrymen, c.325-300 BC: This shows three figures standing in font of a plain wall, but with three decorated shields on it.
D: Light Cavalry, c.325-300 BC: This shows two mounted figures in a landscape - "This plate reconstructs the two figures flanking the entrance to the Agios Athanasios Tomb."
E: Infantrymen of the Guard, c.325-300 BC: This shows three figures in front of some steps and big columns - "All three figures shown in this plate probably belong to the Macedonian regiment of foot-guards, given the prevalence of purple..."
F: The Macedonian Army, c.280 BC: This shows three figures in a highly-decorated room - "F1 is based on the Lefkadia Tomb... F2 and F3 are based on a Pompeian fresco from the 'House of the Meander', which copies a painting originally produced for Macedonian court in around 280 BC."
G: Lyson and Kallikles, c.222 BC: This shows two figures shaking hands in front of a architecturally interesting wall - "The tomb of Lyson and Kallikles was discovered in 1942... The tomb paintings include very detailed depictions of two sets of war-gear, which we reconstruct here on the two figures."
H: King Philip V and Amyntas, son of Alexander, 197 BC: This shows two mounted figures in a misty landscape, but with nicely painted grass - "H1 is based on two images of Philip V. The first is his equestrian portrait... Philip V's likeness is also preserved on a series of busts, derived from an original prototype. H2 is based on the funerary stele of Amyntas."

There are numerous monochrome illustrations, including coins, artefacts and photographs of wall-paintings, including many of those referred to in the Plate Commentaries.

Further Reading:
Andrea Palladio and the Architecture of Battle with the Unpublished Edition of Polybius' Histories
Alexander the Great Failure: The Collapse of the Macedonian Empire (Hambledon Continuum)
Hellenistic Infantry Reform in the 160s BC (Studies in the Ancient and Medieval Art of Warfare)
Philip V of Macedon
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 June 2014
So disappointed. Osprey books are usually excellent but this one was very poor. There are some good bright illustrations by Peter Dennis but the Macedonian 'warriors' look like they've stepped out of a fashion catalogue. Not fighting men at all but fancy-dress soldiers. Far too many old coins, cracked vases, photos of faded stonework and mosaics from Pompeii. Not much on the fighting men or their equipment. Not a single image of men at war, just a lot of well-dressed people shaking hands!
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 November 2012
I was rather disappointed by this new Osprey release, although not really surprised. Being aware of the paucity of hard evidence for this era I was interested to see what new finds would be used to `feed in' to what we already know/surmise. In this respect I was not disappointed as Dr Sekunda has made good use of more recent discoveries. Unfortunately the book falls into the usual Osprey trap where the Ancient world is concerned, of drawing sweeping conclusions from very limited evidence. Indeed Dr Sekunda's own caveat at the beginning of his earlier book on Alexander's army ("almost every statement in the text below could be challenged") should have been repeated here also! For example; a tomb painting of one individual only represents that individual at a particular time and should not be taken as an example of wholesale practice and extended to cover entire units/regiments or extended periods of time. To put it simply; uniforms as we know them did not exist in the ancient world, yet so many Osprey titles imply the exact opposite. I do wonder to what extent this practice reflects the views of Osprey's contributing authors and how much it is down to editorial policy (except for Raffaele D'Amato's Osprey titles, which somehow buck this trend and provide realistic assessment). So to sum up, an interesting addition but not essential and the colour illustrations really are very mediocre, I am sorry to say.
[see especially Raffaele D'Amato - [ASIN:1848325126 Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier: From Marius to Commodus](Roman Centurions 753-31 BC: The Kingdom and the Age of Consuls) By D'Amato, Raffaele (Author) Paperback on 23-Aug-2011]
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 100 REVIEWERon 22 November 2012
I largely aggree with the other three star review on there isn't a huge amount of substance and whatever there is arguable and should have been subjetc to a disclaimer. Having mentioned this, however, this little Osprey could have been made significantly better.

Right from the beginning, the section titled "The historical background" was rather problematic. The choice of title alone, and the fact that over a century and a half are summarized and crammed into three and a half pages, shows that this is conceived as no more than a very high level introduction. I found this rather surprising since the history of the Kingdom of Macedon and of its Kings is linked somewhat closely to that of its armies, to sat the least. Nocholas Sekunda could have at least tried to alleviate the supposedly limited information available on arms, equipment, appearances and unit organization of the post Alexandian and Antigonid armies. In fact, there are a number of books published on the Antigonids, including some that he has not bothered to mention in his bibliography, such as a biography of Antigonos Doson (BC 229 to 221). It would have been useful for the author to rely on it, especially since it is not accessible in English and contains a rather significant section on the Macedonian army and some excellent developments on Macedonian campaigns and battles, especially Sellasia. However, Sekunda chose not to do so.

Even if not willing to tell the history of the Macedonian Army after Alexander, which might have been somewhat difficult to squeeze into this very limited format, I was at least expecting some assessment of the Macedonian armies' perfomances against his ennemies including the various Greek Leagues, Illyrians and Celts (and not only the usual flawed comparisons against the Roman legions with the usual overreliance on the somewhat biaised Polybios and Livy). However, there is none of this either. Simply nothing at all...

Then there is the contents of the so-called "historical background" which, despite its size (and perhaps, in some cases, because of it!) still manages to be problematic in several respects. Its deliberately small size means that the author keeps "cutting corners" and simplifying. So, for instance, you learn about Lysimachos "defeated and killed at Kouropedion by another coalition of monarchs" in 281, but you do not learn that "all the work" was essentially done by Seleukos who was shortly afterwards assassinated by Ptolemy Keraunos who took over his army AND what was left of that of Lysimachus, proclaimed himself King of Macedon but was cut to pieces by the invading Galatian (Celts) in BC 279. Instead, after a vague reference to "marauding Galatian barbarians" (they were rather more than "marauding", by the way), the author jumps to the victory of Antigonos Gonatas two years latter. This King had the longest reign of all (almost 40 years) and made sure that Macedon retained control of Greece and remained a major, if much poorer, power that both the Seleukids and the Ptolemies had to count with. Sekunda has almost nothing to say about his reign which ended in BC 239 and probably was the apogee of the Macedonian Kingdom of the Antigonid. Neither does he have much to say about Antigonus Doson, who, despite being ill with consumption (tuberculosis), spend his short reign almost constantly on campaign, defeating all of the numerous ennemies of the Kingdom who had taken the opportunity to invade as soon as his predecessor had died, living an infant son (the future Philip V) behind. Doson finally died on the battlefield after a crushing victory against the Illyrians. Allegedly, he died by laughing so much that he burst a blood vessel but this was not "in battle", but after having won the battle against the odds. The entire reign of Philip V (another 42 years) is worth just about 24 lines - 2 paragraphs with one of them being of course about his first encounter with Rome. Finally, the second encounter and the defeat of Perseus is evacuated in five lines, with another seventeen mentioning three further revolts over the next thirty years.

What you do get instead are mostly detailed, but sometimes almost confusing, explanations and descriptions of the various pieces of equipment used by the various units of the army, complete with measures of shields and sarissa. You also get explanations and discussions about the various units, what they really were (at least according to the author) and what they could corresponded to. You also need to bear in mind that the meaning of Greek words tended to change over time. A given word did not always have the same meaning in - say - 200 BC as it had in the time of Alexander - just to make things even more confusing... So, in addition with a certain amount of confusion, I found this title rather dry and uninteresting. In addition, and just like the other reviewer, I simply did not like the plates very much. A wasted opportunity: it could have been so much better because there was a much more interesting story to tell...
22 comments| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 April 2013
Interesting and covers a little known period. Different view of Peltasts in later armies, more like Ipicrates type hoplite, small shield and long spear which is shorter than sarissa. Could have been useful in chasing off raiding Thracians but relies a lot on one image showing this type of infantry, would like to find more evidence
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 June 2014
I had read reviews on Amazon for this book and was a bit unsure weather to buy ,but did in the end and I was not unhappy with it
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 January 2016
excellent overview of this aspect of Hellenic period army
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)