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Subject: Which books might suit me rss

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Florent Leguern
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Hi all

one of my nightstand books is The Histories, by Herodotus. I also read Caesar's books, the Art of War, and am currently on the lookout for the Anabasis by Xenophon.

So given my selection here, and given that I really want to read more about and by ancient people themselves, what other books might be good choices ? cool

Thanks for all and any suggestions ! laugh
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Bob Zurunkel
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History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides.

Very long, but excellent, is Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
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Avery
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Polybius' Histories covers Rome from the First and Second Punic Wars to the destruction of Carthage in 146 BC. If you want some Hannibal stories, Polybius is your man!
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Peter Lloyd
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Moving into something more modern:
The Art of War in the Western World by Archer Jones
Just about anything by John Keegan
The Influence of Sea Power Upon History by A.T. Mahan
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Tyler Harris
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If you want a change of pace from all the histories, I'd recommend reading Cicero (his letters, invectives, and his handbook on electioneering are often bundled together in most translations I've seen).
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Florent Leguern
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Thanks for your swift answers, that's a lot to look for

Who exactly is John Keegan ?

Polybius seems quite interesting too, as I recently read a manga on the matter (Ad Astra), but it was a bit too... dramatic ? I don't know. Also, it also read a lot as if the author reaaaaally wanted to depict the Cannae battle, but remembered that he should tell the story from the start, otherwise readers might become lost laugh

The Art of War in Western World seems like a nifty book, in this edition at least.
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Peter Lloyd
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John Keegan is an English historian. He has written several books ancient to modern in subject, usually as a progressive analysis along a timeline.
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Jim Ransom
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Another vote for Thucydides. An amazing book that shows how little we humans have changed in 2500 years.
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Florent Leguern
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Okay, I basically added almost of your suggestions to my wishlist laugh Now I'll just have to wait for the start of next month... cry
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From your interests, it sounds like you'd enjoy The Iliad and The Aeneid, if you haven't read these before.

The Iliad is the quintessential war story.
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Avery
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Arcology wrote:
From your interests, it sounds like you'd enjoy The Iliad and The Aeneid, if you haven't read these before.

The Iliad is the quintessential war story.


I am halfway through The Illiad and quite enjoying it, although there is a Madlibs formula present in the text:

"Next,(name) took the hardened captain (name), son of (name) of (place), gouged his (body part) and the bronze ripped him open, spurting his (internal organ), and his life, gushing forth through the wound, went pulsing fast, and the dark came swirling down across his eyes."
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Florent Leguern
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Arcology wrote:
From your interests, it sounds like you'd enjoy The Iliad and The Aeneid, if you haven't read these before.

The Iliad is the quintessential war story.


Ha yes, I didn't mention those in my first post, but I have read them already But good to point them out.
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Michael Sommers
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AveryAllen wrote:
Arcology wrote:
From your interests, it sounds like you'd enjoy The Iliad and The Aeneid, if you haven't read these before.

The Iliad is the quintessential war story.

I am halfway through The Illiad and quite enjoying it, although there is a Madlibs formula present in the text:

"Next,(name) took the hardened captain (name), son of (name) of (place), gouged his (body part) and the bronze ripped him open, spurting his (internal organ), and his life, gushing forth through the wound, went pulsing fast, and the dark came swirling down across his eyes."

It may be a bit repetitious, but in my view those passages are one of the best things about the Iliad. In most war stories, the people the hero kills aren't real people at all, they are just anonymous cannon fodder. Homer, however, drives home the fact that they are real live (though not for much longer) people, with fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters and wives and children, just like you, and who want to go on living, just like you do. He makes the cost of war unavoidable.
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Florent Leguern
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tms2 wrote:
AveryAllen wrote:
Arcology wrote:
From your interests, it sounds like you'd enjoy The Iliad and The Aeneid, if you haven't read these before.

The Iliad is the quintessential war story.

I am halfway through The Illiad and quite enjoying it, although there is a Madlibs formula present in the text:

"Next,(name) took the hardened captain (name), son of (name) of (place), gouged his (body part) and the bronze ripped him open, spurting his (internal organ), and his life, gushing forth through the wound, went pulsing fast, and the dark came swirling down across his eyes."

It may be a bit repetitious, but in my view those passages are one of the best things about the Iliad. In most war stories, the people the hero kills aren't real people at all, they are just anonymous cannon fodder. Homer, however, drives home the fact that they are real live (though not for much longer) people, with fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters and wives and children, just like you, and who want to go on living, just like you do. He makes the cost of war unavoidable.


It's also a good thing to remember that those massive works were originally oral stories, and their narrative structure follows rules adapted to that medium. Long as they are, the narrator has to 1° keep is audiance hooked, 2° keep his audiance always updated on past info 3° help himself remember all those lines !! Thus, this repetitious baseline and "templative" phrasing.

Also, the general public to the Illiad (notably) was one with reality grounded in war and its numerous side effects. A piercing spear, a fallen comrade, a exemplar hero... all those themes ringed many bells, and kept the audiance's imagination even more vivid.
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Andrew N
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I definitely recommend checking out the Landmark series.










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Florent Leguern
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wernervoss wrote:
I definitely recommend checking out the Landmark series.





I remember seeing one of those books here on BGG, vividly recomended too cool They indeed seem lavish... I'm dreaming now I could find such excellence in french laugh I can handle english well enough for such a read, but it's going to be a bit tedious on the long run

But thanks for pointing them out anyway !
 
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Andrew N
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They are a bit lavish, but you could always use the maps and notes in conjunction with a French translation.
 
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Cameron Taylor
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I would read On War by Clausewitz, The Art of War by Jomini, Art of War by Sun Tzu.

Three very different philosophies on warfare. Clausewitz doesn't go into tactical details and only lightly brushes on strategy, but he states that no plan survives first contact and war is inherently chaotic. Jomini revels in tactical details and treats war as more science than art, which can be studied, refined, and optimised. Sun Tzu sees war as an essential part of the nature of the state where it encompasses everything from logistics to espionage, and that warfare can be distilled into fundamental principles that guarantee victory.
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I don't think anyone has recommended The Jewish War by Josephus yet, so I'll do that. Unlike most ancient authors (Caesar being the main exception) he was an actual eyewitness, albeit with an agenda.

For modern works try anything by Adrian Goldsworthy on Rome and the Roman army. Lost Battles by Philip Sabin is very interesting as well if you like (or at least can stomach) number crunching and simulation.

I'm afraid I can't give as many recommendations when it comes to Greeks, Assyrians, Carthaginians, and all the others but Ancient Warfare Magazine is excellent and covers all topics. If you don't mind a more academic work then Men of Bronze:
Hoplite Warfare in Ancient Greece
is a very interesting look at the neverending hoplite debate, with all the viewpoints presented by their partisans.
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Florent Leguern
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SeriousCat wrote:
I would read On War by Clausewitz, The Art of War by Jomini, Art of War by Sun Tzu.


I didn't know of Jomini That's interesting, I'll try to get more about that.

Duckman wrote:
but Ancient Warfare Magazine is excellent and covers all topics.


We just got a subscription on Ancient History Magazine with my wife And I'm probably going to settle on the Warfare companion mag' for myself. They're a nice read alright ! We got the older issues for AHM, as there's not that much before, but it's going to be a bit trickier for AWM.

 
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Brandon
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Since you've already gotten a lot of good recommendations, I'll be the one to give the obligatory "not exactly what you asked for" suggestion. It's not at all war-related, but if you want a very amusing (and eye-opening) view of Roman society, I highly recommend The Satyricon.
 
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Florent Leguern
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jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
Since you've already gotten a lot of good recommendations, I'll be the one to give the obligatory "not exactly what you asked for" suggestion. It's not at all war-related, but if you want a very amusing (and eye-opening) view of Roman society, I highly recommend The Satyricon.


Actually, it wouldn't necesseraly have to be about war per se, and I know the book by name and fame, so it's a good suggestion anyway laugh
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Jason Cawley
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Second the Thucydides recommendation.

On Xenophon, read his Education of Cyrus and his history as well as Anabasis.

Tacitus.

JFC Fuller's stuff of Alexander and on Caesar.

Livy, Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy.

Polybius.

Josephus on the Jewish War.

Shakespeare's Roman plays, including Coriolanus and Julius Caesar.

Gibbon.

Burckhart on the age on Constantine and on the Greeks.

Jose Ortega y Gasset An Interpretation of Universal History. (On what Imperator means and the like).

Should keep you busy for a spell...
 
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