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‘Always Existing by Nature’
The Wars of the Ancient Greeks by Victor Davis Hansen
1999, Cassell & Co, London, General Editor John Keegan, 224 pages
This is another excellently researched and phenomenally well illustrated books on ancient war by the erstwhile rulers of the planet, who happen to have museums stuffed full of the bric-a-brac of ages gone by. For this effort the British War Geek Club reached out to one of our best American military historians, Victor Davis Hansen, who did a landmark book on the battle of Okinawa.
Hansen offers some of the first well-reasoned and bio-mechanically astute observations on the Greek use of weaponry, with an eye from the everyday soldier’s perspective. He also clears up misconceptions about gear terminology and social status resulting from the homogenizing of ancient Greek dialects in the cosmopolitan modern mind.
Hansen’s analysis of the aspis as the preeminent piece of Hellenic military equipment—pictured prominently throughout—is worth the price of the book alone for experimental combatants such as myself.
The battle maps and formation illustrations are priceless. My favorite section is his set of capsule biographies on notable military leaders. If you are interested in how the warriors who represent the civilization from whence we ultimately derive our core Western values actually fought, read The Wars of the Ancient Greeks by Victor Davis Hansen.
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