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The Byzantine Art of War by [Decker, Michael J.]
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The Byzantine Art of War Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Length: 275 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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About the Author

MICHAEL DECKER is Maroulis Professor of Byzantine History at the University of South Florida. He has worked extensively on the archaeology and history of the Byzantine state in the Middle East and North Africa. His numerous publications include Tilling the Hateful Earth (Oxford, 2010), an exploration of economy and society in the Levant in the centuries prior to the Islamic conquests.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7560 KB
  • Print Length: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Westholme Publishing; 1 edition (15 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CD81SL2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #761,807 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a relatively good summary although it was always going to be a rather daunting and even an impossible challenge to cover a thousand years of Byzantine military history within some 230 pages. This is what this book attempts to do and, unsurprisingly, the results are somewhat mixed. Some periods are covered much better than others, while the last two and a half centuries are hardly covered. The exceptions are a couple a couple of remarks drawn from Mark Bartusis' book on the late byzantine army after 1204, including one alluding to the limited size of the forces that the Byzantines could gather by that time - no more than 5000 according to this author, although this seems to be a plausible "guess-estimate" more than anything else. The problem with this book is that Michael Decker has no room to even discuss this number.

Essentially, this book is a summary that brings together in a single volume the main elements and findings drawn from several other works, including Haldon's "Byzantine Wars" and his Warfare, State and Society" but also his book on "Byzantium in the Seventh Century" or Mark Whittow's "The Making of Orthodox Byzantium", to name just these. There is therefore little that is original but it is mostly well presented and the book manages to be a worthwhile introduction for a general reader wanting to get acquainted with Byzantium, its army, and its endless fight for survival.

There are however a few additional glitches. One is that the book could have done with some proof-reading or perhaps a better editor. The Emperor Romanus Lecapenus' reign did NOT, for instance, end in 948 and there are a number of other such glitches scattered across the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is compulsory reading for all Byzantine military addicts by a brilliant historian who charts the changes in military organization in the Empire between its founding until its fall in 1453. Includes information on the Imperial postal service and grenades which I didn't know were of medieval origin having a photograph of one from the British Civil War period (1642--1660).
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Format: Hardcover
The scope of Professor Michael Decker's book on the Byzantine Art of War is daunting and it is to his credit that it remains readable even while he spans the centuries over the course of just a few pages. I approached the book with only a cursory knowledge of the Byzantine period, but left it with a new found fascination and sense of awe - not least at the sheer longevity of the empire.

The book itself is incredibly well researched, drawing from original and contemporary material to provide an overview not just of the military strategies and the art of war, but also of the mechanics of the empire - such as the sophisticated postal system; as well as the equipment involved with, and the logistics of supplying, the changing Byzantine military.

Similarly, Professor Decker touches on the ways in which the political and geographical landscape changed over the many years of the empire and how those changes impacted and were reflected in the military strategies adopted; while also exploring the role the empire's many enemies played in shaping the development of the Byzantine art of war.

Professor Decker provides a discussion of the various viewpoints on much of what he covers, making it clear where there are disagreements in the literature while always stating his own interpretation clearly. As such, his book serves as an excellent starting point for further investigation of the literature.

Some of the most enjoyable parts of the book are where Professor Decker focusses on some of the significant individuals from the Byzantine period, such as Belisarios, in the section on leadership; and I'd be very happy to see some of these mini biographies extended into longer pieces elsewhere.
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Format: Hardcover
How the Romans fought their way to forge the greatest empire Earth has arguably witnessed is very well known and has been dissected to death. Now in Byzantine Art of War Mike Decker turns the spotlight on the 'Dark Ages', which of course in the East Mediterranean were actually every way as vivid and original as preceding centuries. The strengths and weaknesses of the Byzantine army are examined in great detail all the way up to the moment a new breed of religious stromtroopers, the Crusaders, brought the classical world order to an end. In this new world, war was more Lawrence of Arabia than Augustus, and relied on innovations like Greek Fire hand grenades than catapults. Decker has drilled down into the historical texts of places that will stimulate all students of Byzantium and warfare of all ages, and leave them with a newfound respect for the long Late Antiquity.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great
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