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The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman…

The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare: Volume 1, Greece, The…

by Philip Sabin (Editor), Hans van Wees (Editor), Michael Whitby (Editor)

Other authors: Richard Billows (Contributor), Philip de Souza (Contributor), Vincent Gabrielsen (Contributor), Jonathan M. Hall (Contributor), Victor Davis Hanson (Contributor)9 more, Simon Hornblower (Contributor), Peter Hunt (Contributor), Peter Krentz (Contributor), J. E. Lendon (Contributor), Jonathan Roth (Contributor), Nicholas Sekunda (Contributor), John Serrati (Contributor), Barry Strauss (Contributor), Everett Wheeler (Contributor)

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In order to cash in on this widely overpriced work, Cambridge University Press dropped all quality standards: Sloppy editing (one contributor repeatedly refers to his non-existent subtitle), sloppy fact-checking (Victor Davis Hanson being Victor Davis Hanson), outdated and language restricted sources, a flawed overall research design and a general non communication among the contributors. In the end, it's a collection of essays of mixed quality, some truly awful, some quite enlightening.

The most critical aspect is the flawed research design that breaks down Greek warfare into two periods (classical and Hellenistic) which forces the topic into a bed of Prokrustes. The second flaw of the research design is the presentation of the Greek (and later Roman) side only, a kabuki approach that ignores modern research paradigms and is not helpful in understanding the dynamic element of warfare. Greek warfare did not evolve in a vacuum.

Why the editors let Victor Davis Hanson write about "The modern historiography of ancient warfare" is a mystery to me. Azar Gat has written two books about the topics covered and would certainly have written a better essay. Instead, the space is given to Hanson's badly structured, sloppily researched and biased essay. Hanson whose command of the German language (if he reads German at all) and the literature is not proportional to his wide-ranging statements he makes about the German historical school. Hanson being Hanson, he strays from his topic to modern times, only to blunder about "the (20th century) demilitarization oft he Danube" (the last time the Danube was militarized was during the Habsburg Ottoman wars) and "post-Marxist discussion of ancient warfare" (whatever this means, no sources supplied, which seems to be the general approach Hanson takes to opposing views).

Overall, a very disappointing result. Cambridge University Press should hang their collective heads in shame. ( )
  jcbrunner | Jan 25, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sabin, PhilipEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wees, Hans vanEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Whitby, MichaelEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Billows, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Souza, PhilipContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gabrielsen, VincentContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hall, Jonathan M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hanson, Victor DavisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hornblower, SimonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hunt, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Krentz, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lendon, J. E.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roth, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sekunda, NicholasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Serrati, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Strauss, BarryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wheeler, EverettContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0521782732, Hardcover)

Warfare was the single biggest preoccupation of historians in antiquity. In recent decades fresh textual interpretations, numerous new archaeological discoveries and a much broader analytical focus emphasising social, economic, political and cultural approaches have transformed our understanding of ancient warfare. Volume I of this two-volume History reflects these developments and provides a systematic account, written by a distinguished cast of contributors, of the various themes underlying the warfare of the Greek world from the Archaic to the Hellenistic period and of Early and Middle Republican Rome. For each broad period developments in troop-types, equipment, strategy and tactics are discussed. These are placed in the broader context of developments in international relations and the relationship of warfare to both the state and wider society. Numerous illustrations, a glossary and chronology, and information about the authors mentioned supplement the text. This will become the primary reference work for specialists and non-specialists alike. Cambridge Histories Online

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:43 -0400)

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