It takes some time to reach the theme – the first few articles actually cover other topics, starting with a mis-interpreted military diploma in New York, a look at the use of all-source analysis to try and understand ancient battles, and an attempt to work out what was meant by the antisignani, soldiers who served in front of the banners in the Roman army.
Once we reach our theme we start with an overview of the early years of the twelve tribes of Israel. Next comes a look at the war against the kingdom of Moab, and the Mesha Stele, a rare example of a contemporary monument from one of ancient Israel’s enemies. This is followed by an examination of the likely military history behind one of the best known battle stories in the battle, Gideon’s attack on the Midianites, most famous for the way he selected his small force by how they drank water from a spring after a long march.
Next comes a look at a less familiar example of coalition warfare, with both the Jewish kingdoms joining up with other local powers to resist the Neo-Assyrians. Frustratingly we know quite a bit about the armies involved, but almost nothing about the battle itself! An interesting article looks at the fortified cities used to defeat the kingdom of Judah against its much more powerful neighbours, successfully until Nebuchadnezzar took advance of improvements in siege warfare to conquer the kingdom and scatter its leaders. This is followed by a look at what those exiled elites did after the move – in many cases the answer is serving in the Assyrian army. Finally there is a look at the Lachish Reliefs, a series of impressive Assyria carved reliefs celebrating the capture of Judah’s second city of Lachish.
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Warfare in ancient Israel - Historical introduction
Devoted to destruction - The Moabite stone
Gideon's raid on En-Dor - The first reported night attack
Coalition warfare - The Battle of Qarqar, 853 BC
The stone frontier - Rehoboam's fortifications
Gods and Kings - Israelites in the Assytian Army
The Lachish reliefs - Ancient Israel in art
A praetorian in New York - A hidden military diploma
All-source analysis- the key to unlocking the past
In front of the standards - Who were the antesignani?
The myth of the othismos - The art of tactics, part IV
Waiting in the wings - A Roman Optio from Chester
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