Ancient Warfare Vol XI, Issue 1: Blotting out the Sun - Archers in the ancient world

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Ancient Warfare Vol XI, Issue 1: Blotting out the Sun - Archers in the ancient world

The main focus of this issue of Ancient Warfare magazine is on archery. Nine of the articles look at this topic, with an impressively wide spread in both geography and period. Geographically we cover China, Egypt, the Near East, Crete, Rome and Central Asia. In time the articles are spread from the Neo-Assyrian and Egyptian Empires to the Roman Empire.

I do have one quibble with the article on Neo-Assyrian archers – at one point the author ridicules the idea that some of their archers may have used their horses to get into action, then fought dismounted. However this is exactly what the mounted archers of the English army did during the Hundred Years War – they needed their horses to give them the mobility to take part in some of the rapid raids across France, but didn’t attempt to use their long bows from horse back. I can’t see any reason why some of the Neo-Assyrian archers wouldn’t have fought in the same way (Other than that this is a fascinating article.)

The result is an interesting mix of articles that demonstrate just how important archery was for just about every ancient civilisation, even if it sometimes doesn’t get enough credit in the historical record (especially in Rome where the citizen body filled the legions and allies and auxiliaries provided the archers). Even so, as the article on Carrhae proves, the Legionary could sometimes be overwhelmed by the archer!

Away from the theme we get a look at the famous Lorica Segmentata, the armour that gives us our standard image of the Roman Legionary, a reconstruction of the life of a Centurion, and an examination of the battle of Marathon, asking if the Greeks chose their tactics for the battle or had them forced on them by events.

The ever-present bow - Archery in ancient warfare
The 'E' archers - Cretans in Seleucid service
Lock and load! - The crossbow in Qin China
Pharaoh's bowmen - mastering the ultimate weapon
My frightful weapons - Neo-Assyrian archers
Traded wealth - A Sogdian heavy cavalryman
Crassus's Parthian blunder - The Battle of Carrhae, 53 BC
Rome's forgotten fighters - Bowmen for the legions
Shooting from the saddle - A history of horseback archery
Tekne taktike - The art of tactics, part 1
Lorica segmentata - Facts and myths
Strategy of necessity - one of the myths of Marathon
Marcus Caelius - First centurion of the 18th legion


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