Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC: Holy Warriors at the Dawn of History
Taylor & Francis, 20 aug. 2006 - 544 pagina's
The only book available that covers this subject, Warfare in the Ancient Near East is a groundbreaking and fascinating study of ancient near Eastern military history from the Neolithic era to the middle Bronze Ages.
Drawing on an extensive range of textual, artistic and archaeological data, William J. Hamblin synthesizes current knowledge and offers a detailed analysis of the military technology, ideology and practices of Near Eastern warfare.
Paying particular attention to the earliest known examples of holy war ideaology in Mesopotamia and Egypt, Hamblin focuses on:
* recruitment and training of the infantry
Beautifully illustrated, including maps of the region, this book is essential for experts and non-specialists alike.
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LibraryThing ReviewGebruikersrecensie - LibraryThing
If you are curious about any aspect of warfare that falls within the chronological and geographic scope of this book, you will either find what you want to know within its pages or remain forever unsatisfied. Professor Hamblin may have missed one or two facts about warfare in the Fertile Crescent, Egypt and adjoining regions from the Neolithic era through the middle of the Bronze Age, but his assemblage of evidence is comprehensive and his interpretations judicious. It's not his fault that so much remains unknown and probably unknowable about this vast period. While the subtitle may give the impression that the work's emphasis lies in the fuzzy realm of "war and society", there are plenty of solid data about how armies were raised and organized, where and how they campaigned, and how they fought. The lacunae are, of course, large. From all those millennia, there survives not a single record that allows us to reconstruct a battle. Nor do we know how such weapons as Mesopotamian proto-chariots were deployed or to what extent troops engaged tactically rather than rushing helter-skelter into the fray. On the other hand, quite a bit can be said about military ideology, the recruitment, size and organization of armies, fortifications, siegecraft and armaments. It is also possible to trace the general course, if not the details, of a great many campaigns The author eschews those speculative comparisons between ancient warriors and contemporary primitives that are popular among his colleagues. There's nary an allusion to skirmishes in Papua New Guinea. Indeed, readers may wish that, like the paradigmatic economist, he had fewer hands on which to weigh alternative theories. Happily, any tedium from the balancing act is staved off by abundant quotations from contemporary sources. It's fascinating to read Hammurabi's dispatches to his commanders or the autobiography of a Nubian mercenary in the service of an Egyptian warlord. Sadly, the costs of modern book production have deprived this volume of most of the maps and illustrations that it needs. The lack is partly compensated by the author's careful descriptions of key artistic evidence, but those who can will want to have Yigael Yadin's The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands or the like at hand as they read. Professor Hamblin promises a second volume to carry his study into the Iron Age. I look forward to it already.
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