Some Important New Books
Whitehead, David. Philo Mechanicus: On Sieges. Translated with introduction and commentary. Historia. Einzelschriften, 243. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2016. 510 p. € 84.00. ISBN 9783515113434.
Technical military writing does not have much place in the work of ancient historians today, unless they can mine it for anecdotes (Onasander, Frontinus) or it is written by an accepted ‘literary’ author (Xenophon). Sieges and catapults are usually left to a small community of archaeologists who measure gateways or publish papers on ‘in-swinging’ and ‘out-swinging’ catapults. But after the fourth century BCE, every serious Greek or Roman soldier had at least a general idea of how to conduct or resist a siege and the tools involved. In the military reform after Chaeronaea, all Athenian citizens were required to learn to use catapults and defend the border forts as part of their period of military service.
Willekes, Carolyn. The horse in the ancient world: from Bucephalus to the Hippodrome. Library of classical studies, 10. London: I. B. Tauris, 2016. 304 p. $95.00. ISBN 9781784533663.
If you want a book on ancient horses by an experienced rider who is not caught up in upper-class horse politics about Thoroughbreds and Arabians, this should be it.
Heckel, Waldemar. Alexander’s marshals: a study of the Makedonian aristocracy and the politics of military leadership. Second edition (first edition 1993). London; New York: Routledge, 2016. xxvi, 372 p. $160.00. ISBN 9781138934696.
Rathmann, Michael. Diodor und seine Bibliotheke: Weltgeschichte aus der Provinz. KLIO. Beihefte. Neue Folge, 27. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2016. ix, 431 p. $140.00. ISBN 9783110478358.
Diodorus is also another very important author who is not always treated as seriously as he deserves. Plucking details off his shelves, and casually attributing them to the author who is presumed to have been his main source for that section, can beg some important questions. In my master’s thesis, I cite some of the researchers who I think have a better approach to his work.
Have you heard of any new books on ancient history which you would like to read?
From BMCR. Hoc libros non vidi.