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Fields of Death (Hardback)

Retracing Ancient Battlefields

Ancient History Colour Books

By Richard Evans
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781848847972
Published: 30th September 2013

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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. For example, why did armies miss one another in what we might today consider relatively benign terrain? Just how important was the terrain in determining victory or defeat in these clashes.

The author has carefully selected battles and sieges to explore, first of all to identify their locations and see how these fit with the ancient evidence. He then examines the historical episodes themselves, offering new observations from first-hand study of the field of battle along with up-to-date photographs, maps and diagrams. In the process he discusses whether and how the terrain has since been changed by land use, erosion and other factors, and the extent to which what we see today represents a real connection with the dramatic events of the distant past. This first volume considers:

1. The Greek Victory over the Persians at Marathon (490 BC)
2. Leonidas and his Three Hundred Spartans at Thermopylae (480 BC)
3. The Athenian Siege of Syracuse (414-413 BC)
4. The Syracusan Siege of Motya (397 BC)
5. Alexander's Defeat of Darius at Issus (333 BC)
6. Hannibal's Victory at Cannae (216 BC)
7. Titus Quinctius Flamininus and Philip V at Cynoscephalae (197 BC)
8. Gaius Marius' Victory over the Teutones at Aquae Sextiae (102 BC)
9. Octavian versus Antony and Cleopatra of Egypt: The Battle of Actium (31 BC)
10. The First Battle of Bedriacum (April AD 69)

Richard Evans and Pen & Sword have produced a fine book. The writing is simultaneously erudite and conversational. Well-read history enthusiasts and military professionals will find the book accessible and informative.

Ancient Warfare

About 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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Fields of Battle Retracing Ancient Battlefields (Hardback)

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…

By Richard Evans

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