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The Byzantine Art of War Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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