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A Sensory History of Ancient Warfare (Hardback)

Reconstructing the Physical Experience of War in the Classical World

Ancient History Pre WWI Military

By Conor Whately
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 16 illustrations
ISBN: 9781473895126
Published: 23rd July 2021

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How can we attempt to understand the experience of those involved in ancient battles, sieges and campaigns? What was the visual impact of seeing the massed ranks of the enemy approaching or the sky darkened with their arrows? How did it feel to be trapped in the press of bodies as phalanxes clashed shield to shield? What of the taste of dust on the march or the smell of split blood and entrails? What of the rumble of approaching cavalry, the clash of iron weapons and the screams of the dying? The assault on all five senses which must have occurred is the subject of this innovative book.

Sensory history is a new approach that attempts to understand the full spectrum of the experience of the participants in history. Conor Whately is the first to apply the discipline in a dedicated study of warfare in the classical world. He draws on literary, archaeological, reconstructive and comparative evidence to understand the human experience of the ancient battlefield in unprecedented depth.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The author did an excellent job of bringing the past to the present! He goes into great detail about some of the events and explains why we think events looked, smelled, sound, and felt like they did. There were times when it felt a little spotty in description, but I understand that some of these events happened thousands of years ago and records can be hit or miss, a problem which the author addresses. Overall a good read, not at all dry. I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about warfare of the past.

NetGalley, Yvie Field

About Conor Whately

Conor Whately gained his doctorate in Classics and Ancient History from the University of Warwick and is now an associate professor of Classics at the University of Winnipeg, Canada. He has published widely on ancient warfare, particularly in the Late Roman world, including four previous books: Battles and Generals (2016), Exercitus Moesiae (2016), An Introduction to the Roman Military from Marius to Theodosius II (2020), and Greek and Roman Military Manuals: Genre, Theory, Influence (2020, co-edited with James Chlup).

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