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A superb introduction to the history of warfare, told through the militaristic developments of Old Testament peoples and cultures, from the Sumerians and Akkadians to the Babylonians.
Dr. Elliott states in his introduction to this fascinating volume that his ambition is bold; “…to detail conflict from the beginning of warfare itself in the Near East and Middle East from around 9000 BC through to the onset of the Classical period around 500 BC.”
Bold indeed, and delivered in such crisp and well ordered chapters that Old Testament Warriors is as much master class in concision as it is admirable in its comprehensiveness.
Starting out with clear definitions for how humanity has organised settlements and communities, to what warfare is, “the extreme end of organised aggression… involving a stratified polity”, Elliott treats us to a whistle-stop tour of every major civilisation that grew or protected itself through armed conflict across nigh on nine millennia.
With an attention to detail that encompasses styles of armour, the game changing effects of the compound bow and various developments in chariot technology, together with brief analyses of who was responsible for them, - in the case of chariots, the Hyksos, the Hurrians and the Mitanni in the 2nd millennium BC – Elliott also presents fascinating facts about the sizes and structures of various armies and how and by whom power over and control of them was handled.
For a non- academic reader interested in the history of organised warfare, this is an eye-opening, absorbing book written by an author who knows and loves his subject and who has the means and skill to communicate his knowledge crisply, clearly and with great verve.
Albert Einstein famously said “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it” That Elliot is able to cover such huge tracts of geography and chronology in such a compact volume shows that he is the master of his subject. And what an enthralling subject it is.
The period covered by the Old Testament - beginning in approximately 3000 BC - was one of great technological development and innovation in warfare, as competing cultures clashed in the ancient Middle East. The Sumerians were the first to introduce the use of bronze into warfare, and were centuries ahead of the Egyptians in the use of the wheel. The Assyrians developed chariot warfare and set the standard for a new equine-based military culture. The Babylonians had an army whose people were granted land in return for army service.
This authoritative history gives an overview of warfare and fighting in the age of the Old Testament, from the Akkadians, Early and Middle Kingdom Egypt and their enemies, Mycenean and Minoan Greece and Crete, Assyrians and New Kingdom Egyptians, the Hittites, the Sea Peoples who gave rise to the Philistines, the Hebrew kingdom, the Babylonian kingdom, the Medes and later Persian Empires, through to early Classical Greece.
Author Simon Elliott explores how archaeology can shed light on events in the Bible including the famous tumbling walls of Jericho, the career of David the boy warrior who faced the Philistines, and Gideon, who was able to defeat an army that vastly outnumbered his own.
|Publication date:||15th May 2021|
Dr Simon Elliott is an award winning and best selling historian, archaeologist and broadcaster. He is best known as an expert on Roman Britain and the Roman military, with his eight published books to date covering subjects including the Classis Britannica Roman navy in Britain, Roman legionaries, Roman military construction techniques, Roman Britain and Roman London, Julius Caesar, and the emperors Septimius Severus and Pertinax. He is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Kent, a Trustee of the Council for British Archaeology, an Ambassador for Museum of London Archaeology and a Guide Lecturer for Andante Travels.More About Simon Elliott