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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 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?

4 out of 5

As featured on Army Rumour Service

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

I definitely enjoyed this History of The greatest Generals of the Ancient Times and I would highly recommend to any history buffs or those studying this era. Its a fantastic book and I will be sharing my copy far and wide.

Read the full review here

Niki Preston

This is a competition of the highest calibre, written in a very accessible style. If ancient military history is your thing, you should read this book. No prior knowledge required, just an interest in the topic.

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Crowvus Book Blog

This book Alexander the Great versus Julius Caesar reminds me of my childhood days when I would sit with my mates playing Top Trump cards, trying to see who had the best card depending on which attributes you picked. In a way, this is what this cool looking book does in that it takes the attributes of the lives of these two great individuals of history and compares each man against each other. In this beautifully written book, the author Simon Elliott looks at compartments of each individual in each chapter, so we have Alexander’s empire, his life, the Macedonian Army and then Alexander’s campaigns and battles. Then in the second half of the book, he looks at Caesar’s Roman Republic, life, Roman Army, campaigns and battles.

This then leaves the reader with a neatly stacked up list of achievements to compare, which is then neatly drawn to a conclusion by Simon Elliott. Now I can’t give the game away here and reveal what the conclusion is, you should find out by following this link and purchasing your own copy of this book: Alexander the Great versus Julius Caesar But Simon Elliott makes some very valid points and detailed conclusions in what I would say is a fantastic book and certainly a format Pen & Sword Books should use in other books or maybe other individuals in history. I would like to say that if your after an informed and comprehensive read, then this is the book you need.

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UK Historian

I enjoyed learning about two men that I knew very little about. There was so much information to dive into, it is a very in-depth and thorough book. Although complex, Simon has made it a very accessible and highly enjoyable read. If you don’t know much about the subject matter, this book provides a great introduction, it is so well written and researched. I won’t spoil the conclusion that Dr Simon Elliott comes too at the end of the book, but from the comparisons provided by the author, I agree with who he has chosen as the greatest commander of the ancient world!

I highly recommend Alexander the Great Versus Julius Caesar.

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Lifelong History Lover

Through this book, Elliott's experience at dealing with the Romans and military history is clear to see and you feel his knowledge and expertise seep through every page. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and genuinely couldn't put it down. It is one of the best ancient history books I have read, and it is certainly the best comparative study I have read. This book would be a welcome addition to any ancient history expert's shelf, but due to the book's accessibility and readability, it will also serve as an incredibly useful introduction to the ancient world for anyone looking to learn more about the era. I cannot recommend this book enough and if you are wanting to learn about either Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar, or just begin your journey into ancient history Dr Simon Elliott's book is great place to start.

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History with Jackson

Simon Elliott’s book is a fresh reappraisal of the lives and legacies of two towering historical figures, with many myths exploded along the way. Elliott freely admits that we know, or at least think we know, more about Julius Caesar than Alexander, and indeed the former has always held more of a fascination for people. Simon Elliott’s excellent book certainly goes a long way towards redressing the balance by placing Alexander the Great in a wider historical context. Displaying an unprecedented depth of research into the structure of both leaders’ armies, their battles and campaigns, this book is indispensable for military and ancient history enthusiasts.

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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 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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