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Fields of Battle (Hardback)

Retracing Ancient Battlefields

Ancient History Military P&S History > Archaeology

By Dr Richard Evans
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 233
ISBN: 9781848847965
Published: 26th August 2015



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Richard Evans revisits the sites of a selection of Greek and Roman battles and sieges to seek new insights. The battle narratives in ancient sources can be a thrilling read and form the basis of our knowledge of these epic events, but they can just as often provide an incomplete or obscure record. Details, especially those related to topographical and geographical issues which can have a fundamental importance to military actions, are left tantalisingly unclear to the modern reader. The evidence from archaeological excavation work can sometimes fill in a gap in our understanding, but such an approach remains uncommon in studying ancient battles. By combining the ancient sources and latest archaeological findings with his personal observations on the ground, Richard Evans brings new perspectives to the dramatic events of the distant past. The campaigns and battles selected for this volume are: Ionian Revolt (499-493 BC), Marathon (490 BC), Thermopylai (480 BC), Ilerda (49 BC) and Bedriacum (AD 69).

Combining a close reappraisal of the ancient written sources with the latest archaeological finds and his own research - having visited all the sites under examination - the author is able to offer new perspective on these dramatic events. In particular, the importance of studying the terrain and geography in our own understanding of what happened is underlined.

The battles and campaigns highlighted in this book, namely the Greek Ionian Revolt (500/499-493 BC) against their Persian masters, the battle of Marathon (490 BC) when Athens defeated the first Persian attempt TO conquer Greece, the battle of Thermopylae (480 BC) where Leonidas and his Spartans made their defiant stand, Caesar's little recorded civil war victory at llerda (49 BC) and the two battles of Bedriacum(AD 69), defining clashes of 'the year of the four emperors' are all famous episodes featuring famous commanders.

The author's style results in full pages of text, with few paragraphs and a certain degree of concentration is needed on the part of the reader in order to follow the story, but it is well worth the effort. With 37 plates, 18 maps, notes, a bibliography and an index all included, this title should prove popular with incident period buffs.

Military Modelling - Stuart Asquith

About Dr Richard Evans

Dr Richard Evans is Lecturer in Ancient History at Cardiff University. He has a special interest in historical topography and in particular has conducted original research on the battlefield of Magnesia. His previous publications include Syracuse in Antiquity: Topography and History (University of South Africa Press, 2007); Questioning Reputations: Essays on Nine Roman Republican Politicians (University of South Africa Press, 2003) and Gaius Marius: A Political Biography. University of South Africa Press, 1994).

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