Old Testament Warriors – The Clash of Cultures in the Ancient Near East, Simon Elliott

Old Testament Warriors – The Clash of Cultures in the Ancient Near East, Simon Elliott

This is a rather ambitious book, looking at the military history of a vast area over a period of a couple of thousand years. It covers civilisations that vary in scope from the vast Assyrian Empire to city states. The area covered stretches from Greece in the north-west to Egypt in the south-west and east across Anatolia and the modern Middle East.  

One of the most impressive things about this book is just how much detail we now have about these very early armies. For many we can be fairly sure about troop types and equipment, unit organisation and even the names of various officer ranks. We can be surprisingly confident about the careers of conquers from four thousand years ago, living in empires that themselves survived (in various forms) for hundreds of years.

This isn’t the longest of books, but it packs a great deal of information into its 138 pages. There is detail here that I haven’t seen elsewhere, including a list of the various groups normally bunched together as the Sea Peoples, with a brief overview of each of their histories, and the aforementioned rank titles. I’m not convinced by the use of photographs of war gaming figures and I would have liked some more maps but otherwise I found this to be a useful up-to-date overview of pre-classical warfare in this region.

1 – The Origins of Warfare
2 – Egypt, Nubia, Canaan and Libya
3 – Genesis of Chariot Warfare
4 – The Minoans, Mycenaeans and the Sea Peoples
5 – The Hebrew Kingdoms and the Philistines
6 – The Hittite, Assyrian and Babylonian Empires

Author: Simon Elliott
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 160
Publisher: Casemate
Year: 2021

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