Friday, February 18, 2022

The Seleucid Army of Antiochus the Great: Weapons, Armour and Tactics

The Seleucid Army of Antiochus the Great is an interesting and comprehensive academic military history of the Greek Hellenistic ruler researched and written by Dr. Jean Charl Du Plessis. Due out 30th April 2022 from Pen & Sword, it's 352 pages and will be available in hardcover format. 

This is a meticulously written and annotated history of the organisation, training, history, armour & weapons technology, and campaigns which Antiochus III's army were involved in during the 36 years of his reign (222-187 B.C.E.). The information is arranged logically with thematic chapters in several sections: the land forces (infantry and cavalry), the auxiliary forces at Raphia (including campaigns and engagements), special forces and terror weapons (elephants and chariots!), and battle history and assessments.

Although the author is a historian and academic, the writing is perfectly accessible to any readers interested in military and political history, even ones who are not academics with a background in the time period. There are copious notes and annotations throughout which will provide many hours of additional reading and information. The book contains illustrations and many maps showing the borders and changes in the geopolitical landscape during Antiochus' time. I really enjoyed the modern photos of replica (and historical) weapons and armour which show the construction and utilisation of protective/offensive gear which would've been like those used by the soldiers of the time period. 

The cross referenced index and bibliography are well written and extensive. 

Five stars. This would be a superlative selection for public or school library acquisition, fans of military history, as well as historical re-enactors, SCAdians, and possibly theatre type folks. I was riveted to see the actual damage a .45 slug did to a reproduction Corinthian bronze helm (photos on p. 212 in the eARC edition which I received for review). The author has seriously done his homework on what sort of physical protection might have been afforded soldiers in battle. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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