Sunday, September 8, 2019

Reading about Romans and Prepping for Recruits

I recently read three new-ish books on Ancient Rome (mostly) I really enjoyed. First up is Early Roman Warfare: From the Regal Period to the First Punic War.

 From Amazon:

Here Dr Jeremy Armstrong traces the development of Rome's military might from its earliest discernible origins down to the First Punic War. He shows how her armies evolved from ad-hoc forces of warriors organized along clan lines and assembled for the city's survival, to the sophisticated organization of the legions that went on to dominate all of Italy and then (after the period covered) the entire Mediterranean world.

Makes a good case for a little "warband-type" skirmishing a la Warlord's new SPQR game.

Next up is Swords and Cinema: Hollywood vs the Reality of Ancient Warfare

Again from Amazon:

The battles and sieges of the Classical world have been a rich source of inspiration to film makers since the beginning of cinema and the 60s and 70s saw the golden age of the ‘swords and sandals’ epic, with films such as Spartacus. Ridley Scott’s Gladiator led a modern revival that has continued with the release of films like 300, The Eagle and Centurion and HBO’s mini-series Rome.

While Hollywood interpretations of Classical battle continue to spark interest in ancient warfare, to casual viewers and serious enthusiasts alike they also spark a host of questions about authenticity. What does Hollywood get right and wrong about weapons, organization, tactics and the experience of combat? Did the Spartans really fight clad only in their underpants and did the Persians have mysterious, silver-masked assassins in their armies? This original book discusses the merits of battle scenes in selected movies and along the way gives the reader an interesting overview of ancient battle. It should appeal to the serious student of ancient warfare, movie buffs and everyone in between.

Was fun to hear someone else echo all the same complaints of "wrong helmets!" and embellished history that I've made while watching historical movies (just ask my daughters!)

Last up is a book I thoroughly enjoyed: Legion versus Phalanx: The Epic Struggle for Infantry Supremacy in the Ancient World.

From Amazon:

From the time of Ancient Sumeria, the heavy infantry phalanx dominated the battlefield. Armed with spears or pikes, standing shoulder to shoulder, and with overlapping shields, they presented an impenetrable wall of wood and metal to the enemy. It was the phalanx that allowed Greece to become the dominant power in the Western world. That is, until the Romans developed the legion and cracked the phalanx.

In Legion versus Phalanx Cole weighs the two fighting forces against each other. Covering the period in which the legion and phalanx clashed (280--168 BC), he looks at each formation in detail--delving into their tactics, arms, and equipment, organization and the deployment. It then examines six key battles in which legion battled phalanx: Heraclea (280 BC), Asculum (279 BC), Beneventum (275 BC), Cynoscephalae (197 BC), Magnesia (190 BC), and Pydna (168 BC)--battles that determined the fate of the ancient world. Drawing on original primary sources, Myke Cole presents a highly detailed but lively history of this defining clash of military formations.

Mr. Cole does an outstanding job of bringing these epic clashes to life, describing the sights and sounds and smells - all of the experiences of the soldiers on the ground. Recommended!

Recruits is coming up the end of this month! Since I missed last year due to knee surgeries, I felt compelled to bring some new terrain this year. . . here's a look at an early stage.

If you want to see the completed models in action, you can either come play with us at Recruits or wait for the AAR here. We'll be playing a scenario called Revenge. . . 1759-style! using Fistful of Lead: Horse & Musket from Wiley Games. Hope to see you there!

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