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The Persian Army 560-330 BC (Elite) Paperback – 25 Sep 1992

3.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (25 Sept. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1855322501
  • ISBN-13: 978-1855322509
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 0.3 x 24.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 656,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Nicholas Sekunda was born in 1953. After studying Ancient History and Archaeology at Manchester University, he went on to take his Ph.D. in 1981. He has taken part in archaeological excavations in Poland, Iran and Greece, participated in a research project on ancient Persian warfare for the British institute of Persian Studies. He has published numerous books and academic articles, and is currently teaching at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology in Torun, Poland.

SIMON CHEW is an experienced historical artist with a background in archaeological illustration. He lives and works in Lancashire, UK.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have recently purchased this book and I am mildly disappointed. There is no doubting the author's credentials and much of the text is thoughtfully put together. Some of the black and white illustrations and photographs are useful, and to a much more limited extent so are the coloured plates.

My chief concerns lie with the coloured plates, and also the lack of any real analysis of the composition of Persian armies during the period. Granted, information is limited, but even so the market that Osprey MAA and Elite series books are aimed at is generally the military enthusiast, and these people are always on the look out for such information.

The plates first. Many of us purchase Osprey books on the strength of the plates. The style and quality of the artists and their work varies greatly, and some is superb, some much less so. In this case, the artist seems to have a style which appears to be trying to take the stylised view of pottery paintings, with an almost dreamlike or surreal view of men at war. It is the complete antithesis of, say, the work of the late and great Angus McBride. In my view, it just does not work. The figures are effete, in some cases just downright timid-looking, and much too clean and tidy for men engaged in military operations. The reference in the plates to two hunts - both of big cats, only the Lion of which looks at all aggressive, seems to miss the point that what buyers of this book are more interested in are pictures of the Persian army at war.

The overwhelming use of purple and saffron yellow, two of the rarest and richest colours of the ancient world, is explained by the author.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the worst Osprey book I have purchased. I feel sorry to write this but this is my humble feeling after reading this book.

The author is probably very knowledgeable and I have actually read some other of his books but this one comes out pretty poor.
The heavy, cumbersome writing style, the lack of analysis, poor artwork for the plates make it a very tedious book to read.

In all honesty, I am an enthusiastic leader but this book certainly does not deliver for me. As an Amazon citizen, I feel warning potential buyers.

The different approach of putting the plate commentaries in the text simply does not work. In effect, half of the book is spent on describing warrior's dress or colors. Far too much text is dedicated on clothing.

You do not get much on weapons, tactics, organization, etc. You could nearly rename this book "Persian Army Military Clothing"
Personally, I struggled to finish it.

I understand that this was the first book for the illustrator. A amateur painter myself, I sympathize for him on this challenge but a bit more agressivity, movement, virility in these plates would have been welcome. We are faced with over-colorful effeminate Persian warriors with whitish faces on a white backgrounds.

Also, I wish the author did not feel explaining us all his choices like why he choose this color or this type of diadem for the plates, etc.

Not being totally negative, this is perhaps a good and cheap book for students in ancient Persia but it remains not very accessible and entertaining for the layman. The first third of the book is relatively decent.
I recommend "L'Histoire de l'Empire Perse" de Pierre Briand in french or perhaps English if that has been translated. A thick and very detailed volume on the Persian Empire.
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Format: Paperback
The Achaemenid Persian Empire was the world's first superpower. In the fifth century BC, the armies of the Persian king had subdued most of the Middle East and were set to conquer Greece. The military expeditions launched by Persia were some of the largest in history - and the Persian army were well feared because of it.

Nick Sekunda, who has written several titles for the Osprey series,
turns his attention towards the military of the Achaemenid state. It's surprising to see that there's a shortage of material on this subject as the study of the Achaemenid military is still in its infancy.
As a result, this book immediately becomes a must have for those interested in the Persian army, as it's the most easily accesible book on the subject outside of expensive academic tomes.

A lot of information is covered in this short title, from the clothing, weapons and armour of the Persians, through to the organisation, tactics and reforms of their army. The book is layed out in a different format to your usual Osprey Elite title, with the entire book referencing the colour plates rather than being divided into neat sections.

My only problem with the book is the quality of the colour plates. The art is simply not up to the standard of other illustrations by artists like Angus McBride and Richard Hook. No attempt has been made to create a realistic portrayl of these soldiers. Instead it looks as if the artist just copied the images from the famous 'Alexander Sarcophagus' and then just coloured them in with bright, garish paint. They are as rigid and stiff as the Persians portrayed in ancient achaemenid art.
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