THE WARS OF ALEXANDERS SUCCESSORS 323-281 BC: volume 2: Battles and Tactics

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Compare this, for instance, with John Grainger's Hellenistic and Roman Naval Wars published in in the same collection and who devotes 56 pages to Hellenistic naval wars after deducting the first 10 pages which are about Alexander's Naval War. Compare also with "The Age of Titans" - a whole book just published by Oxford University Press of the great hellenistic navies pages plus another or so for annexes, a glossary, notes, bibloigraphy and not counting numerous maps.


Much the same can be said about the other areas that Bennett and Roberts' book cover. Rather than an in-depth analysis of battles and tactics, it is in fact a selection of the most well known battles of the period, with a heavy emphasis on those fought by Eumenes. No battle taking place after Ipsos is covered, although we do have sources for at least some of them, even if these may be not as good.

There is, however, a rather good chapter on "border wars" but even there, the narrative is somewhat sketchy. On sieges, however, the same kind of comment made for naval warfare can be made: only a dozen pages. However, my main grip with this book is with the first chapter on "Soldiers and Armies" which, in itself, could also have been the topic of a whole book and which is covered in less than 30 pages.

The Battle of Granicus River - Macedonians Vs Persians 334 BC

There are many problems with this chapter, starting with the authors tendancy to confuse hoplite phalanxes with sarrissa phalanxes and superficially comparing the two with Roman legions to come up with the very conventional statement that the latter was more flexible, just because Polybios said so some 22 centuries ago. This is probably the worst chapter in the book.

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Just try pushing forward in closed order hoplite style with the small phalangite shield while carrying a 7. It is physically impossible.

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Moreover, a number of statements surrounding Polybios are questionable or even wrong. First, the pro-Roman Achean was describing the phalanx of his days around to BC which may have differed in a number of respects with the phalanxes of the Successors especially since we know that the length of sarrissas varied from 15 feet to 21 feet during the years or so. Second, we have evidence from the reign of Philip of Macedon, but also from the battles of both Ipsos in BC and Magnesia in BC against the Romans which show that the pike phalanx was capable of turning to meet an ennemy attaccking its flank - so, the formation may not have been that rigid.

Third, Polybios' "expertise" may be somewhat questionable; As an aristocrat, he was a cavalryman and it is unlikely that he ever fought in a phalanx if he fought at all. In addition, he was a hostage in Rome for 17 years, as the book indicates, and as from the age of 35 in , so his command and practical experience would have been, at best, somewhat limited.

The Wars of Alexander's Successors Bc: Armies, Tactics and Battles by Bob Bennett

Fourth, of course, he was very much pro-roman and, being an Achean, he was also anti-macedonian , so he was not exactly an unbiased witnessed and probably not a very qualified one either There are a number of other elements missing from this book, in particular in the first chapter. Given the numbers of soldiers that they provided, a whole discussion on mercenaries, and in particular on Greek mercenaries, would have been valuable, but it is entirely missing.

Also, and more generally, a discussion on troop numbers, their origns and to what extent each of the main contenders had access to the various troop types, would also have been valuable, even for Macedon. For instance, the book mentions a couple of times that Macedon's manpower was reduced as a result of Alexander's campaigns and the Successor's wars but no attempt is ever made to quantify this manpower to begin with, let alone to estimate by how much it could have been reduced. Also, either in this first chapter, or in a specific chapter on its own, an examination of the resources available to each of the Kingdoms both financial and economic, in particular wood, metals and shipyards would have been valuable and is totally missing.

And the list could go on, and on, and on So, this would have made volume 1 worth four stars for me, if it had been added to it. As it is, and on its own, it's not worth more than three and I feel I am being rather generous here Go to Amazon. Discover the best of shopping and entertainment with Amazon Prime.

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  7. Notify me. Description When the dying Alexander the Great was asked to whom he bequeathed his vast empire, he supposedly replied 'to the strongest'. There ensued a long series of struggles between his generals and governors for control of these vast territories. Most of these Diadochi, or successors, were consummate professionals who had learnt their trade under Alexander and, in some cases, his father Philip. This second volume studies how they applied that experience and further developed the art of war in a further four decades of warfare.

    This is a period rich in fascinating tactical developments. The all-conquering Macedonian war machine developed by Philip and Alexander was adapted in various ways such as the addition of war elephants by the different successors according to their resources. Siege and naval warfare is also included.

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    Product details Format Hardback pages Dimensions x x Both social workers by profession, they met and discovered their mutual enthusiasm for the ancient world over ten years ago and have been researching the Successors of Alexander the Great ever since, creating a website dedicated to the subject. admin