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The Macedonian Phalanx (Hardback)

Equipment, organization and tactics from Philip and Alexander to the Roman conquest

Ancient History Rome Weaponry Military

By Dr Richard Taylor
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 482
Illustrations: 36 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526748157
Published: 15th October 2020


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The Macedonian pike phalanx dominated the battlefields of Greece and the Near and Middle East for over two centuries. It was one of the most successful infantry formations of the ancient world, only rivalled by the manipular formation of the Roman legions. The phalanx was a key factor in the battlefield success of Alexander the Great and after his death dominated the armies of his Successors (the Diadochoi), who ruled from Greece and Egypt to the borders of India.

Richard Taylor gives an overview of the phalanx’s development, organization, equipment and training. He analyses the reasons for its success, with an emphasis on case studies of the many battles in which it was used, from Philip II’s reign to the Mithridatic Wars. He discusses whether the famous defeats by the Romans necessarily mean it was inherently inferior to the manipular legion tactics, and considers what other factors were in play. The clear, accessible and well-researched text is supported by diagrams and battle maps, making this an outstanding study of this mighty formation.

This is a great book for both historians and wargamers, it provides a great insight into the use of this formation. It explains its use on the battlefield in great detail which will be interesting to any wargamer who plays, ancients, pike and shot, medieval and fantasy war games.

I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you plan to build and play an Ancient Greek army. There is without doubt some useful information in this book that as a wargamer you’re going to benefit from and find fascinating at the same time.

Irregular magazine, Issue 16 Volume 2 / Summer 2021 - review by Jason Hubbard

The Macedonian Phalanx brings original answers to old questions, and uses sources which have previously been neglected.

Read the full review here

Book and Sword

This is an excellent examination of this battle winning unit, making good use of the available sources to clarify many of the uncertain aspects of this famous unit and to help explain how it was able to dominate battlefields from the Adriatic to the borders of India.

Read the full review here

History of War

Detailed and exhaustive.

The Armourer, February 2021

This is a great book for military historians, as it gives a huge amount of detail into the phalanx and its use. For wargammers, this will help explain how it was used in Battle.

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Medieval Sword School

Please do not be put off that this is a large and detailed book about what appears to be a narrow subject. In fact, it explains in a simple but comprehensive way the origins, equipment, tactics and outcomes of the Macedonian phalanx in battle. The further the reader ventures into the text, the clearer it becomes that the Macedonians were precursors of battle tactics and administration that became core elements of 18th and 19th century armies, albeit with different weapon systems. Well worth the investment.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Dr Richard Taylor

DR RICHARD TAYLOR has a BA and a DPhil in Ancient History from Oxford University. His doctoral thesis won the Hellenic Foundation prize for best UK thesis in classics and ancient history. He has published a number of articles on ancient history and warfare in Slingshot, the journal of the Society of Ancients, and is the author of The Macedonian Phalanx (Pen & Sword Books, 2020). He has worked in publishing and currently works in IT at a UK university.

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