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Pharsalus 48 BC (Campaign) Paperback – Illustrated, 10 Sep 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (10 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846030021
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846030024
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 0.6 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 639,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Simon Sheppard is a graduate student of Political Science at John Hopkins University. He graduated with an MA Distinction from the University of Wellington and was winner of the Sir Desmond Todd Award for best thesis in a political subject. Simon Sheppard is a published author and has contributed a number of articles to leading journals, magazines and newspapers. The author lives in Baltimore, USA.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By amazon customer on 16 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback
The perfect companion for all Roman military history enthusiasts is: THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

This concise account leading up to and including the pivotal battle of Pharsalus is overall well handled by renowned historian Si Sheppard. Although he does delve probably too deeply into the political causes of the war (10 pages out of a total of 96) it has to be said that as with all Osprey titles this is meant to be an overview therefore generally aimed at the layman.

Approximately half of the text is dedicated to narrating the campaign leading up to the
historic engagement and the battle itself. In addition to the excellent battlefield maps -- which
capture the field of Pharsalus at certain points during the day, there are a number of terrific
illustrations.

Overall I believe the author achieves his aim with a concise account of events both political and military with a flowing interesting prose, backed up with fine illustrations, theater and 3-d maps.

Highly recommended.
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By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite its title, this Osprey title is about the Civil War from January 49 BC, when Caesar crossed the Rubicon without having relinquished his command to March 45 AD when Caesar's victory at Munda (Spain) destroyed the last army lined up against him.

By and large, this is a rather good Osprey Campaign when compared to the others, although I am not sure this is entirely a compliment because the quality of the volumes can be somewhat uneven. While the main points are made, there are, as another reviewer on Amazon.co.uk has noticed, quite a few glitches, approximations or even mistakes.
One of the main good points was to show to what extent Pompey in particular, but even the other generals that opposed Caesar, gave him a run for his money, including at the last battle (Munda) and, of course, at Dyrrachium.

Two related points are to show Caesar as a rather high-risk general ready to risk it all and gamble for the highest stakes, as his did during the campaign that led to the battle of Pharsalus, and as a very aggressive general taking the battle to his enemy, even if outnumbered, and running the risk of being cut off from his Italian base. Essentially he chose to cross the Adriatic and confront Pompey in the Balkans, banking perhaps on his luck. At least that would be part of his propaganda effort to display a show of confidence before the battle and to show himself as favoured by the Gods, once he had won. More probably, he was counting on the divisions among the Republican command and on the superior quality of his own army, mostly composed of veterans from his Gallic wars, as opposed to Pompey's more numerous but less battle-hardened force.
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Although I already knew rather well the history of the great Roman Civil War between Ceasar and the Senate, I still enjoyed this book mightily. The writing is good, the description of events precise and clear, the account balanced - in fact if anything the author is to complacent with Pompey and the Senate, who accumulated blunder after blunder, beginning by starting a war which could be avoided, with an enemy who was known for being extremely difficult to defeat.

The illustrations are good, and this includes the three colour plates - for once the topic of all the three is well chosen, in accordance with the desribed events and they are well done. Oh, of course, they were not made by the irremplacable Angus McBride or by Steve Noon (who is more into the modern wars) but they are really good. The valiant fight of the centurion Crastinus in the middle of the close combat at Pharsalus is particularly well described.

Al in all, this is a really great Osprey title - just one, very very minor remark: except a mistake on my part, there was no illustrations with a Ceasar sculpture, which would remind the readers less familiar with the topic, how this very controversial, but greatly gifted man, looked.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. C. Stolk TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
The Osprey title Pharsalus 48 BC, about the decisive battle fought between the 'Titans' of Roman history Ceasar and Pompey the Great, is a compact overview of this battle that ended the Roman Republic and paved the way for 'Ceasars' to start ruling the Roman empire in later years, and the campaign that led up to it from the start of the Civil War (Caesar's famous crossing of the Rubicon). It includes some great full color battle scenes by Adam Hook and general information about how this Civil War came to be, the opposing commanders and how the legions of the late republic were formed and equipped.
But while a good general history of the battle of Pharsalus, several annoying mistakes prevent this book from getting more than three stars.
Let's start off with a minor quibble, but on page 16, he uses the famous Latin quote Caesar is supposed to have used before he crossed the Rubicon: "Alea jaecta est" and translates it as: "let the die be cast" but this means "the die is cast" (while "Jacta alea esto" means "let the die be cast"). While the alternate version is that he used the Greek quote "aneristho kubos" or "let the die be thrown". Minor mistake, I agree, but other Latin sentences/quotes are given the same lackadaisical treatment, so therefore I point it out as an example.
Then, on page 33, he states about the speed of action of Caesar: "If Caesar's blitzkrieg was a natural extension of his tactics in Gaul his attitude in victory was entirely uncharacteristic".
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