Ancient History - Vintage Airfix


Ancient History books

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Contents:
- A Chronology of Ancient Greece - By Timothy Venning..
- A Storm of Spears - By Christopher Matthew..
- A Strategist in Exile - By Rainer Nickel..
- A Wargamer's Guide to the Early Roman Empire - By Daniel Mersey..
- AD69: Emperors, Armies and Anarchy - By Dr Nic Fields..
- Alcibiades - By Professor P J Rhodes..
- Ambush - By Rose Mary Sheldon..
- An Invincible Beast - By Christopher Matthew..
- Ancient Weapons in Britain - By Logan Thompson..
- Antiochus The Great - By Michael Taylor..
- Antipater's Dynasty - By John D Grainger..
- Armies of the Hellenistic States 323 BC to AD 30 - By Gabriele Esposito..
- Armies of the Late Roman Empire AD 284 to 476 - By Gabriele Esposito..
- Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier - By Raffaele D'Amato, Graham Sumner..
- Attila the Hun - By Ian Hughes..

 


 

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A Chronology of Ancient Greece

By Timothy Venning

A Chronology of Ancient GreeceDescription:

This book offers a coherent narrative of the politico-military history of ancient Greece. It commences with the necessarily approximate course of events in Bronze and early Iron Age, as estimated by the most reliable scholarship plus the legendary accounts of this period. From the Persian Wars onwards, a year-by-year chronology is constructed from the ancient historical sources. Where possible a day-by-day narrative is given. 

The geographical scope expands as the horizons of the Greek world and colonization expanded with reference to developments in politico-military events in the Middle Eastern (and later Italian) states that came into contact with Greek culture. From the expansion of the Greek world across the region under Alexander, the development of all the relevant Greek/Macedonian states is covered. The text is divided into events per geographical area for each date, cross-referencing where needed. Detailed accounts are provided for battles and political crises where the sources allow this, and where not much is known for certain the different opinions of historians are referenced en route. The result is a coherent, accessible and accurate reference to what happened and when.

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A Storm of Spears

By Christopher Matthew

A Storm of SpearsDescription:

The backbone of classical Greek armies was the phalanx of heavily armoured spearmen, or hoplites. These were the soldiers that defied the might of Persia at Marathon, Thermopylae and Plataea and, more often, fought each other in the countless battles of the Greek city-states. For around two centuries they were the dominant soldiers of the Classical world, in great demand as mercenaries throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. Yet, despite the battle descriptions of Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon etc, and copious evidence of Greek art and archaeology, there are still many aspects of hoplite warfare that are little understood or the subject of fierce academic debate.

Christopher Matthew's groundbreaking reassessment combines rigorous analysis of the literary and archaeological evidence with the new disciplines of reconstructive archaeology, re-enactment and ballistic science. He focuses meticulously on the details of the equipment, tactics and capabilities of the individual hoplites. In so doing he challenges some long-established assumptions. For example, despite a couple of centuries of study of the hoplites portrayed in Greek vase paintings, Matthew manages to glean from them some startlingly fresh insights into how hoplites wielded their spears. These findings are supported by practical testing with his own replica hoplite panoply and the experiences of a group of dedicated re-enactors. He also tackles such questions as the protective properties of hoplite shields and armour and the much-vexed debate on the exact nature of the 'othismos' , the climax of phalanx-on-phalanx clashes.

This is an innovative and refreshing reassessment of one of the most important kinds of troops in ancient warfare, sure to make a genuine contribution to the state of knowledge.

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A Strategist in Exile

By Rainer Nickel

A Strategist in ExileDescription:

Thucydides was the chronicler of the almost 30-year long Peloponnesian war, which came to a close with Sparta's victory over Athens in 404 BC. His famous historical work was preserved, but ends abruptly many ears before the end of the war. It was continued decades later by Xenophon, with his "Greek history", Hellenica.

Following Athens defeat by Sparta, an Athenian court judged Thucydides to be responsible for the defeat, forcing him to flee his hometown and live on the northern coast of the Aegean Sea until the end of the Peloponnesian War. After his return from exile, he meets with the young Xenophon, but disappears without a trace shortly after. This book covers Xenophon’s search for Thucydides, the "failed strategist", in order to protect his friend from the Thirty Tyrant’s regime of terror, as well as save some important historical documents which he had placed in Thucydides’ safe keeping. The narrative is based on the linking of historical reports of the operations, plausible constructions and imagined recollections in order to create a coherent narrative, allowing us a first-hand insight into the operations based on fact, not fiction.

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A Wargamer's Guide to the Early Roman Empire

By Daniel Mersey

A Wargamer's Guide to the Early Roman EmpireDescription:

The Roman army of the early empire is one of the most instantly recognizable armies and enjoys a reputation for excellence. This and their many famous campaigns against a wide range of colourful foes makes this one of the most popular periods for wargamers. Covering the period from 27BC to AD284, Daniel Mersey gives a wargamer’s perspective of the many conflicts and offers advice on how to recreate these on the gaming table. Advice is given on factors to consider when choosing an appropriate set of commercially available rules, or devising your own, to best suit the scale and style of battle you want and capture the flavour of the period. The relevant ranges of figures and terrain pieces and buildings are also reviewed. Analysis of the forces involved, organization, tactics and strategies will help with building your armies and there are interesting scenarios included. Whether this is a new period for you, or you are looking to refresh your existing interest in the period, this handy guide is sure to hold much if interest.

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AD69: Emperors, Armies and Anarchy

By Dr Nic Fields

AD69: Emperors, Armies and AnarchyDescription:

With the death of Nero by his own shaky hand, the ill-sorted, ill-starred Julio-Claudian dynasty came to an ignominious end, and Rome was up for the taking. This was 9 June, AD 68. The following year, commonly known as the 'Year of the Four Emperors', was probably one of Rome's worst. 

Nero's death threw up a critical question for the Empire. How could a new man occupy the vacant throne in Rome and establish a new dynasty? This situation had never arisen before, since in all previous successions the new emperor had some relation to his predecessor, but the psychotic and paranoid Nero had done away with any eligible relatives. And how might a new emperor secure his legal position and authority with regards to the Senate and to the army, as well as to those who had a vested interest in the system, the Praetorian Guard? The result was that ambitious and unscrupulous generals of the empire fell into a bloody power struggle to decide who had the right to wear the imperial purple.

Tacitus, in his acid way, remarks that 'one of the secrets of ruling had been revealed: an emperor could be created outside Rome'. This was because imperial authority was ultimately based on control of the military. Thus, to retain power a player in the game of thrones had to gain an unshakable control over the legions, which were dotted along the fringes of the empire. Of course, this in turn meant that the soldiers themselves could impose their own choice. Indeed, it turned out that even if an emperor gained recognition in Rome, this counted for nothing in the face of opposition from the armies out in the frontier provinces. It was to take a tumultuous year of civil war and the death of three imperial candidates before a fourth candidate could come out on top, remain there, and establish for himself a new dynasty. Nic Fields narrates the twists and turns and the military events of this short but bloody period of Roman history.

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Alcibiades

By Professor P J Rhodes

AlcibiadesDescription:

Alcibiades is one of the most famous (or infamous) characters of Classical Greece. A young Athenian aristocrat, he came to prominence during the Peloponnesian War (429-404 BC) between Sparta and Athens. Flamboyant, charismatic (and wealthy), this close associate of Socrates persuaded the Athenians to attempt to stand up to the Spartans on land as part of an alliance he was instrumental in bringing together. Although this led to defeat at the Battle of Mantinea in 418 BC, his prestige remained high. He was also a prime mover in Athens' next big strategic gambit, the Sicilian Expedition of 415 BC, for which he was elected as one of the leaders. Shortly after arrival in Sicily, however, he was recalled to face charges of sacrilege allegedly committed during his pre-expedition revelling. Jumping ship on the return journey, he defected to the Spartans. 

Alcibiades soon ingratiated himself with the Spartans, encouraging them to aid the Sicilians (ultimately resulting in the utter destruction of the Athenian expedition)and to keep year-round pressure on the Athenians. He then seems to have overstepped the bounds of hospitality by sleeping with the Spartan queen and was soon on the run again. He then played a devious and dangerous game of shifting loyalties between Sparta, Athens and Persia. He had a hand in engineering the overthrow of democracy at Athens in favour of an oligarchy, which allowed him to return from exile, though he then opposed the increasingly-extreme excesses of that regime. For a time he looked to have restored Athens' fortunes in the war, but went into exile again after being held responsible for the defeat of one of his subordinates in a naval battle. This time he took refuge with the Persians, but as they were now allied to the Spartans, the cuckolded King Agis of Sparta was able to arrange his assassination by Persian agents. 

There has been no full length biography of this colourful and important character for twenty years. Professor Rhodes brings the authority of an internationally recognized expert in the field, ensuring that this will be a truly significant addition to the literature on Classical Greece.

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Ambush

By Rose Mary Sheldon

AmbushDescription:

There are two images of warfare that dominate Greek history. The better known is that of Achilles, the Homeric hero skilled in face-to-face combat to the death. He is a warrior who is outraged by deception on the battlefield. The alternative model, equally Greek and also taken from Homeric epic, is Odysseus, 'the man of twists and turns' of THE ODYSSEY. To him, winning by stealth, surprise or deceit was acceptable. 

Greek warfare actually consists of many varieties of fighting. It is common for popular writers to assume that the hoplite phalanx was the only mode of warfare used by the Greeks. The fact is, however, that the use of spies, intelligence gathering, ambush, and surprise attacks at dawn or at night were also a part of Greek warfare, and while not the supreme method of defeating an enemy, such tactics always found their place in warfare when the opportunity or the correct terrain or opportunity presented itself.

AMBUSH dispels both the modern and ancient prejudices against irregular warfare and provides a fresh look at the tactics of the ancient Greeks.

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An Invincible Beast

By Christopher Matthew

An Invincible BeastDescription:

The Hellenistic pike-phalanx was a true military innovation, transforming the face of warfare in the ancient world. For nearly 200 years, from the rise of the Macedonians as a military power in the mid-fourth century BC, to their defeat at the hands of the Romans at Pydna in 168BC, the pike-wielding heavy infantryman (the phalangite) formed the basis of nearly every Hellenistic army to deploy on battlefields stretching from Italy to India. And yet, despite this dominance, and the vast literature dedicated to detailing the history of the Hellenistic world, there remains fierce debate among modern scholars about how infantry combat in this age was actually conducted.

Christopher Matthews critically examines phalanx combat by using techniques such as physical re-creation, experimental archaeology, and ballistics testing, and then comparing the findings of this testing to the ancient literary, artistic and archaeological evidence, as well as modern theories. The result is the most comprehensive and up-to-date study of what heavy infantry combat was like in the age of Alexander the Great and his Successors.

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Ancient Weapons in Britain

By Logan Thompson

Ancient Weapons in BritainDescription:

Few accounts of ancient warfare have looked at how the weapons were made and how they were actually used in combat. Logan Thompson's pioneering survey traces the evolution of weapons in Britain across 3000 years, from the Bronze Age to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Insights gained from painstaking practical research and technical analysis shed new light on the materials used, the processes of manufacture, the development of the weapons and their effectiveness. His account features new information about the weapons themselves, their origin and design, and it offers a fascinating new perspective on the practice of early warfare.

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Antiochus The Great

By Michael Taylor

Antiochus The GreatDescription:

A teenage king in 223 BC, Antiochus III inherited an empire in shambles, ravaged by civil strife and eroded by territorial secessions. He proved himself a true heir of Alexander: he defeated rebel armies and embarked on a campaign of conquest and reunification. Although repulsed by Ptolemy IV at the Battle of Raphia, his eastern campaigns reaffirmed Seleucid hegemony as far as modern Afghanistan and Pakistan. Returning westward, he defeated Ptolemy V at Panion (200 BC) and succeeded in adding Koile Syria to the Seleucid realm. 

At the height of his powers, he challenged growing Roman power, unimpressed by their recent successes against Carthage and Macedon. His expeditionary force was crushed at Thermopylae and evacuated. Refusing to bow before Roman demands, Antiochus energetically mobilized against Roman invasion, but was again decisively defeated at the epic battle of Magnesia. Despite the loss of territory and prestige enshrined in the subsequent Peace of Apamea, Antiochus III left the Seleucid Empire in far better condition than he found it. Although sometimes presented as a failure against the unstoppable might of Rome, Antiochus III must rank as one of the most energetic and effective rulers of the Ancient world.

As well as narrating the eventful career of Antiochus III, Michael Taylor examines Seleucid military organization and royal administration.

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Antipater's Dynasty

By John D Grainger

Antipater's DynastyDescription:

Antipater was a key figure in the rise of Macedon under Philip II and instrumental in the succession of Alexander III (the Great). Alexander entrusted Antipater with ruling Macedon in his long absence and he defeated the Spartans in 331 BC. After Alexander’s death he crushed a Greek uprising and became regent of the co-kings, Alexander’s mentally impaired half-brother (Philip III Arrhideus) and infant son (Alexander IV). He brokered a settlement between the contending Successors but died in 319 BC, having first appointed Polyperchon to succeed as regent in preference to his own sons.

Antipater’s eldest son Cassander later became regent of Macedon but eventually had Alexander IV killed and made himself king. Three of his sons in turn briefly succeeded him but could not retain the throne. Antipater’s female heirs are shown to be just as important, both as pawns and surprisingly independent players in this Macedonian game of thrones. The saga ends with the failed bid by Nikaia, the widow of Antipater’s great grandson Alexander of Corinth, to become independent ruler of Macedon.

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Armies of the Hellenistic States 323 BC to AD 30

By Gabriele Esposito

Armies of the Hellenistic States 323 BC to AD 30Description:

This book provides a complete and detailed analysis of the organization and equipment employed by the armies of the Hellenistic States. After Alexander the Great’s death in 323 BC, his immense Macedonian empire was divided between his ambitious generals, who in turn formed their own monarchies across Eastern Europe, Asia and North Africa. This work will follow the development of the Hellenistic military forces from the army bequeathed by Alexander the Great to the complex military machines that succumbed one by one in the wars against the expanding Romans. As decades and centuries progressed, Hellenistic warfare became always more sophisticated: the 'diadochi' (Alexander’s successors) could field armies with thousands of men, chariots, elephants and siege machines; these came from all the territories of the former Macedonian Empire. The book will also show how Hellenistic forces were strongly influenced by Roman models during the last years of independence of their kingdoms. The states analysed are: Macedon, Seleucid Empire, Ptolemaic Egypt, Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, Armenia, Pergamon, Pontus, Cappadocia, Galatia, Bosporan Kingdom, Epirus, Sicily, Achaean League and Aetolian League.

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Armies of the Late Roman Empire AD 284 to 476

By Gabriele Esposito

Armies of the Late Roman Empire AD 284 to 476Description:

This guide to the Late Roman Army focusses on the dramatic and crucial period that started with the accession of Diocletian and ended with the definitive fall of the Western Roman Empire. This was a turbulent period during which the Roman state and its armed forces changed. Gabriele Esposito challenges many stereotypes and misconceptions regarding the Late Roman Army; for example, he argues that the Roman military machine remained a reliable and efficient one until the very last decades of the Western Empire. The author describes the organization, structure, equipment, weapons, combat history and tactics of Late Roman military forces. The comitatenses (field armies), limitanei (frontier units), foederati (allied soldiers), bucellarii (mercenaries), scholae palatinae (mounted bodyguards), protectores (personal guards) and many other kinds of troops are covered. The book is lavishly illustrated in colour, including the shield devices from the Notitia Dignitatum. The origins and causes for the final military fall of the Empire are discussed in detail, as well as the influence of the ‘barbarian’ peoples on the Roman Army.

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Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier

By Raffaele D'Amato, Graham Sumner

Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman SoldierDescription:

From the Latin warriors on the Palatine Hill in the age of Romulus, to the last defenders of Constantinople in 1453 AD, the weaponry of the Roman Army was constantly evolving. Through glory and defeat, the Roman warrior adapted to the changing face of warfare. Due to the immense size of the Roman Empire, which reached from the British Isles to the Arabian Gulf, the equipment of the Roman soldier varied greatly from region to region. Through the use of materials such as leather, linen and felt, the army was able to adjust its equipment to these varied climates. 

Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier sheds new light on the many different types of armour used by the Roman soldier, and combines written and artistic sources with the analysis of old and new archaeological finds. With a huge wealth of plates and illustrations, which include ancient paintings, mosaics, sculptures and coin depictions, this book gives the reader an unparalleled visual record of this fascinating period of military history.

This book, the first of three volumes, examines the period from Marius to Commodus. Volume II covers the period from Commodus to Justinian, and Volume III will look at the period from Romulus to Marius.

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Attila the Hun

By Ian Hughes

Attila the HunDescription:

Attila the Hun is a household name. Rising to the Hunnic kingship around 434, he dominated European history for the next two decades. Attila bullied and manipulated both halves of the Roman empire, forcing successive emperors to make tribute payments or face invasion. Ian Hughes recounts Attila's rise to power, attempting to untangle his character and motivations so far as the imperfect sources allow. A major theme is how the two halves of the empire finally united against Attila, prompting his fateful decision to invade Gaul and his subsequent defeat at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plain in 451.

Integral to the narrative is analysis of the history of the rise of the Hunnic Empire; the reasons for the Huns' military success; relations between the Huns and the two halves of the Roman Empire; Attila’s rise to sole power; and Attila’s doomed attempt to bring both halves of the Roman Empire under his dominion.

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