The Ancient World at War: A Global History

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A global history of ancient warfare, covering Egypt, the Near East, Greece, Rome, Central Asia, India, China, Korea, Japan, and the Americas. In this new survey of ancient warfare, a group of distinguished historians and archaeologists discusses major battles and wars from around the world. The book ranges in time from 8000 BC and the earliest evidence of warfare in northern Iraq to the armies of the Aztecs and Incas half a millennium ago, and includes Alexander the Greats triumphant campaigns against Persia in the fourth century BC, Caesars Gallic Wars, the Han Chinese defeat of the nomadic Xiongnu horsemen, and the Inca ruler Atahualpas last stand against Pizarro. The authors combine descriptions of the course of military events with expert analyses and explanations of the underlying social, economic, and cultural factors that shaped ancient warfare. Their essays survey the evolution of armies, tactics, and military equipment, from the strategic mastery evident in an early Chinese treatise on war by Sunzi to the rise of the Greek hoplite warrior and the development of swords and armor in ancient Japan. Special features cover key battles such as Qadesh, Issus, and Cannae; weaponry from shields to artillery; and visual resources such as Trajans Column and the Terracotta Army.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

In this military-history survey, editor de Souza (classics, Univ. Coll., Dublin) and 20 British and American professors and other authorities cover the political, economic, and social contexts of wars, also discussing key battles and military leaders in geographical areas that include Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Greece, the Hellenistic Empire, the Roman Empire, Celtic Europe, the Steppes, Southeast Asia, China, Korea, Japan, Mesoamerica, and the Andes. In a chapter titled "War Before History," anthropologist R. Brian Ferguson (Rutgers Univ.) brings in additional worldwide material and asks the thoughtful questions of when, where, and why the wars under discussion began. Maps and time lines are given for each area, though dates vary greatly, from thousands of years B.C.E. through the 16th century C.E. (for the Aztecs and Incas). Among the fascinating details readers will learn is that one reason the Romans fought the Gauls in southern France was for control of the wine trade. In addition to written accounts, the contributors document their discussions with photographs of "visual resources," e.g., skeletal remains, statues of warriors, ruins of fortifications, and weapons and armor found on archaeological sites and in graves. Recommended for all public libraries.
—Anne Marie Lane

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500251386
  • Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc
  • Publication date: 5/1/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,236,945
  • Product dimensions: 8.64 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 1.23 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip de Souza teaches in the School of Classics at University College Dublin. His many books include The Greek and Persian Wars 499-387 BC and Piracy in the Graeco-Roman World.
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