Forget Hollywood's portrayal of violence and mayhem in ancient warfare and find out what the ancient battles were really like. What were the weapons, tactics, armor, training, and logistics? What were the crucial factors that could turn the tide of battle, giving one side victory and the other defeat?
In 24 exciting lectures, Professor Fagan introduces you to the many fateful battles that became crucibles of history: the fearsome clash between the Athenians and the invading Persian army at the Marathon, Alexander the Great's crushing hammer-and-anvil tactics against the Persians at Gaugemela, and the Roman mastery of siege warfare at the Jewish fortress of Masada.
Encompassing the region from Mesopotamia to western Europe-including Egypt and Northern Africa-this course charts the development of warfare from prehistoric times and examines battles and warfare from the city-states of early Sumer to the fearsome Assyrian war machine, the Greeks' distinctive form of combat, the Persian invasions, and the legions of Rome, which evolved brutally effective tactics that gained them dominion over the entire Mediterranean basin.
Although the battles you study were fought long ago, considerable controversy exists among contemporary historians. Professor Fagan presents contending theories without losing sight of the grim realities of war, and the many millions who have died on the battlefields.
"We owe it to them," he concludes, "and to the thousands who continue to perish in our planet's wars, to understand as fully as possible what it was that killed them. If this course has advanced its audience's comprehension of war even a little, then it has amply fulfilled its purpose."
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A Series of Violent Episodes Create a Whole
This course presents a unique look at ancient history by focusing on key battles. The context of the battle is established and its conduct and outcome discussed in detail.
While this is a series of episodes, Professor Fagan makes it a whole story. The battles are presented in a narrative of the emerging civilizations and empires of the ancient world. This ties them together so you can see how they affected the course of history.
The detail on strategy, tactics, and armaments is excellent. The descriptions are complete. There is never a dry moment.
With a wonderful speaking style, Professor Fagan pulls you into the story and makes you see the scenes he describes.
Haven't read the printed version.
The Presentation, the Professor Fagan is truly a great at what he does.
His knowledge, his presentation, and his objectivism.
I wish I was in this classroom :P
If there is only one issue I would take with this is his lack of descriptions of various weapons and how they were likely used in the battles he presented. I realize that this is difficult given our (lack of) knowledge, but even speculations would be great.
Otherwise, I love Professor Fagan and will listen all of his books (I already listened to his lectures on Ancient Rome).