- Amazon Student members get an extra 5% off this product Here's how (terms and conditions apply)
Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 25 Nov 2004
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
This is a little book which is jam-packed with ideas and insights. This book offers an interesting and invigorating read. (TLS)
I am addicted to this series of pocket-portable introductory lectures - they provoke active and reactive thought. (The Guardian)
Small but impressive (Soldier Magazine)
About the Author
Dr Harry Sidebottom is Fellow of Greyfriar`s Hall, and Lecturer in Ancient History at Lincoln College, University of Oxford. He had written for and contributed to many publications, including Classical Review, Journal of Roman Studies, and War and Society in the Roman World.
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
This all revolves around Victor Davis Hanson and his rather disgraceful books The Western Way of War and Why the West has Won. Hanson is a far right American nationalist who seems convinced that the last 2500 years of European history represents one continuous manner of fighting: that of the citizen-soldier and the decisive set piece battle. This is despite the first concept only really making sense for a couple of centuries in Classical Greek history (and a few decades in American Colonial history) and the second concept making no sense throughout most of the middle ages or even consistently for the time in question.
Despite being rightfully dismissive of such claims Sidebottom, unlike some other historians, believes that he is representing a real and long-lasting cultural belief started by the Greeks themselves. In his view the Greeks felt that their way of war was superior to barbarians' (for basically the reasons mentioned by Hanson) and this belief was passed on to the Romans who were convinced that the Greeks had gotten soft and lost it. Then the idea was passed down through the middle ages through respect for Roman culture until it reached today. I'm not quite sure if I buy some of the wider-ranging implications of his conclusions but he has convinced me that he is describing an actual phenomenon from the classical period.
That's not all this book is about, though it is the main point. It also looks at the way in which battles were conceived of and details some of the issues argued about by modern historians. If I had a major complaint (apart from the somewhat misleading title) it would be that the frequent pictures are not of very good quality. A good book for the beginner to start on. If you're interested in a more thorough look at ancient warfare I'd check out The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare. It's harder to find (and much more expensive) but it does cover the material in a much more thorough manner.
I think there would be general agreement that when talking about war, the terms tactics and strategy would respectively refer to the way in which individuals and small groups would fight and the major movement of armies to and on the battlefield. Sidebottom makes little mention of tactics and his chapter on strategy deals with the reasons for invading particular regions, i.e. the political motivations rather than the military reasons.
The book is valid in that it offers some interesting conjecture, but it should really be entitled something like, "The Social Implications and Political Motivations of Ancient Warfare".
Just to deal with a few of the comments left by others.
The discussion on the existence or not of a purely Western style of warfare does not take take up an innordinate amount of space.
The complaint about actual military techniques not appearing till chapters 5 should have been prefaced by an admission that chapters 1 - 4 are pretty short. Chapter 5 starts at 38% on my kindle....
As for "A well researched book but unlesss you like factual accounts (with a dry delivery) you really should stick to fiction and factions."... It is a factual book....and certainly not delivered in the a dry scholarly tone. So if you are looking for historical faction this is not the book for you.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Look for similar items by category