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Alexander the Great versus Julius Caesar (Hardback)

Who was the Greatest Commander in the Ancient World?

Ancient History Alexander the Great Military

By Dr Simon Elliott
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 264
Illustrations: 12 black and white
ISBN: 9781526765642
Published: 9th December 2021


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In the annals of ancient history the lights of Alexander the Great and Gaius Julius Caesar shine brighter than any other, inspiring generations of dynasts and despots with their imperial exploits. Each has been termed the greatest military leader of the ancient world, but who actually was the best? In this new book Dr Simon Elliott first establishes a set of criteria by which to judge the strategic and tactical genius of both. He then considers both in turn in brand-new, up-to-date military biographies, starting with Alexander, undefeated in battle and conqueror of the largest empire the world had seen by the age of 26. Next Caesar, the man who played the crucial role in expanding Roman territory to the size which would later emerge as the Empire under his great nephew, adopted son and heir Augustus. The book’s detailed conclusion sets each of their military careers against the criteria set out earlier to finally answer the question: who was the greatest military leader in the ancient world?

It was an interesting read and I think it will surely be appreciated by those interested in military history.
It compares life, historical times and military plans of the two generals and it makes it in a fascinating way.
I am not an expert to say if the chosen one was the best one but I enjoyed this book.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

A fantastic read for those readers who enjoy military history. The author has successfully written a detailed comparison of two of the greatest historical military leaders. I really enjoyed learning about their early lives and the underlying inspirations to build empires and subjugate the inhabitants of distant lands.
Comprehensive overviews are given of the major battles that each of the protagonists fought. Similarly, detailed facts are provided on the weapon systems and armour that were used by each side during the respective campaigns... I won't write a plot spoiler naming who the best general was judged to be, other than to say I agree with the author's choice!

NetGalley, Peter Coxall

This book pretty much does what it says on the tin: compares the careers and capabilities of two of the most famous military commanders of the ancient world.

And it does that very well. First the author provides extensive data on the world into which each man was born and their lives and achievements, including an analysis of some of their most famous victories...

I particularly enjoyed some of the insights into how the physics of phalanx warfare actually worked.

With this background in place, they compare the two men on seven criteria - explaining both why they chose those criteria and how Alexander and Caesar compare - before making their final judgement. I won't spoil which man gets the nod - that's the whole point of reading this, after all!

Recommended if you have an interest in ancient history.

NetGalley, Adam Windsor

About Dr Simon Elliott

Dr Simon Elliott is an award winning and best selling archaeologist, historian and broadcaster with a PhD in Classics and Archaeology from the University of Kent where he is now an Honorary Research Fellow. He has an MA in Archaeology from UCL and an MA in War Studies from KCL. Simon is widely published with numerous works in print on various themes relating to the ancient world, with a particular focus on the Roman military, and he makes frequent appearances on TV as a Roman expert. Simon lectures widely to universities, local history societies and archaeological groups, is co-Director of a Roman villa excavation, a Trustee of the Council for British Archaeology and an Ambassador for Museum of London Archaeology. He is also a Guide Lecturer for Andante Travels and President of the Society of Ancients.

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