Great Walls and Linear Barriers

Pen and Sword
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Everyone has heard of the Great Wall of China and knows of Hadrian's Wall and the other barriers lining stretches of Rome's imperial frontiers. But Peter Spring's original new study demonstrates that far from being exceptional, the building of walls and other linear defences was commonplace among the peoples and states of pre-modern era. He finds examples virtually all across the globe and analyses their forms and strategic functions. He finds patterns for their distribution, an important recurrent theme being the divide between settled agriculture and nomads. The author argues that it is mistaken to view such undertakings as necessarily purely defensive measures that might be evidence of insecurity or a 'maginot line mentality', as they were in fact often about aggressive assertion of control over a region or strategic routes. ??This original and thought-provoking study brings new light and insight to a fascinating and neglected aspect of human political and military history. It The clear text is supported by numerous, specially drawn maps and photographs.
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About the author

Peter Spring is a financial consultant by training but also holds an MA in Medieval Art History from the Courtauld Institute. He is has always been keenly interested in military history and has served in the Territorial Army in an Intelligence role. He lives in Southeast London. This is his first book.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Pen and Sword
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Published on
Feb 28, 2015
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9781473854048
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / General
History / Military / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Most studies of ancient warfare focus only on the Greeks and the Romans, but this sweeping study covers the whole of the ancient world from Greece and Rome to the Near East, then eastward to Parthia, India, and China. Bradford transports the reader into the midst of ancient battles behind such great leaders as Thutmose III, Ashurbanipal, Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the First Emperor of China. He details the rise and fall of empires, the role of leadership, and the development of tactics and strategy. One sees the clash of peoples: nomads against agricultural societies, infantry against cavalry, as well as the greatest technological change in history--the combination of the composite bow and the chariot.

This readable account analyzes ancient armies in terms of modern military doctrine, allowing the reader to make comparisons between the combatants. Recruitment, for example, varied tremendously with Romans drawing from a limited pool of recruits for service terms of twenty to thirty years and Chinese planners preferring a large pool with short-term service. While various types of governments prepared for and waged war in significantly different ways, Bradford finds that better organization led to success on the battlefield and that, for the most part, societal innovation was more important than technological innovation. The ongoing discussion of the lessons of ancient warfare around the globe will provide valuable insights for interested general readers and military professionals alike.

From the author's introduction:


Ancient battles seize the modern imagination. Far from being forgotten, they have become a significant aspect of popular culture, prompting a continuing stream of books, feature films, television programs and board and computer games... there is a certain escapist satisfaction in looking back to an era when conflicts between entire states turned on clear-cut pitched battles between formed armies, lasting just a few hours and spanning just a few miles of ground. These battles were still unspeakably traumatic and grisly affairs for those involved - at Cannae, Hannibal's men butchered around two and a half times as many Romans (out of a much smaller overall population) as there were British soldiers killed on the notorious first day of the Somme.


However, as with the great clashes of the Napoleonic era, time has dulled our preoccupation with such awful human consequences, and we tend to focus instead on the inspired generalship of commanders like Alexander and Caesar and on the intriguing tactical interactions of units such as massed pikemen and war elephants within the very different military context of pre-gunpowder warfare.


Lost Battles takes a new and innovative approach to the battles of antiquity. Using his experience with conflict simulation, Philip Sabin draws together ancient evidence and modern scholarship to construct a generic, grand tactical model of the battles as a whole. This model unites a mathematical framework, to capture the movement and combat of the opposing armies, with human decisions to shape the tactics of the antagonists. Sabin then develops detailed scenarios for 36 individual battles such as Marathon and Cannae, and uses the comparative structure offered by the generic model to help cast light on which particular interpretations of the ancient sources on issues such as army size fit in best with the general patterns observed elsewhere. Readers can use the model to experiment for themselves by re-fighting engagements of their choice, tweaking the scenarios to accord with their own judgment of the evidence, trying out different tactics from those used historically, and seeing how the battle then plays out. Lost Battles thus offers a unique dynamic insight into ancient warfare, combining academic rigor with the interest and accessibility of simulation gaming. This book includes access to a downloadable computer simulation where the reader can view the author's simulations as well create their own.
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Was an advanced civilization lost to history in the global cataclysm that ended the last Ice Age? Graham Hancock, the internationally bestselling author, has made it his life's work to find out--and in America Before, he draws on the latest archaeological and DNA evidence to bring his quest to a stunning conclusion.

We’ve been taught that North and South America were empty of humans until around 13,000 years ago – amongst the last great landmasses on earth to have been settled by our ancestors. But new discoveries have radically reshaped this long-established picture and we know now that the Americas were first peopled more than 130,000 years ago – many tens of thousands of years before human settlements became established elsewhere.

Hancock's research takes us on a series of journeys and encounters with the scientists responsible for the recent extraordinary breakthroughs. In the process, from the Mississippi Valley to the Amazon rainforest, he reveals that ancient "New World" cultures share a legacy of advanced scientific knowledge and sophisticated spiritual beliefs with supposedly unconnected "Old World" cultures. Have archaeologists focused for too long only on the "Old World" in their search for the origins of civilization while failing to consider the revolutionary possibility that those origins might in fact be found in the "New World"?

America Before: The Key to Earth's Lost Civilization is the culmination of everything that millions of readers have loved in Hancock's body of work over the past decades, namely a mind-dilating exploration of the mysteries of the past, amazing archaeological discoveries and profound implications for how we lead our lives today.

Graham Hancock's multi-million bestseller Fingerprints of the Gods remains an astonishing, deeply controversial, wide-ranging investigation of the mysteries of our past and the evidence for Earth's lost civilization. Twenty years on, Hancock returns with the sequel to his seminal work filled with completely new, scientific and archaeological evidence, which has only recently come to light...

Near the end of the last Ice Age 12,800 years ago, a giant comet that had entered the solar system from deep space thousands of years earlier, broke into multiple fragments. Some of these struck the Earth causing a global cataclysm on a scale unseen since the extinction of the dinosaurs. At least eight of the fragments hit the North American ice cap, while further fragments hit the northern European ice cap. The impacts, from comet fragments a mile wide approaching at more than 60,000 miles an hour, generated huge amounts of heat which instantly liquidized millions of square kilometers of ice, destabilizing the Earth's crust and causing the global Deluge that is remembered in myths all around the world. A second series of impacts, equally devastating, causing further cataclysmic flooding, occurred 11,600 years ago, the exact date that Plato gives for the destruction and submergence of Atlantis.

The evidence revealed in this book shows beyond reasonable doubt that an advanced civilization that flourished during the Ice Age was destroyed in the global cataclysms between 12,800 and 11,600 years ago. But there were survivors - known to later cultures by names such as 'the Sages', 'the Magicians', 'the Shining Ones', and 'the Mystery Teachers of Heaven'. They travelled the world in their great ships doing all in their power to keep the spark of civilization burning. They settled at key locations - Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, Baalbek in the Lebanon, Giza in Egypt, ancient Sumer, Mexico, Peru and across the Pacific where a huge pyramid has recently been discovered in Indonesia. Everywhere they went these 'Magicians of the Gods' brought with them the memory of a time when mankind had fallen out of harmony with the universe and paid a heavy price. A memory and a warning to the future...

For the comet that wrought such destruction between 12,800 and 11,600 years may not be done with us yet. Astronomers believe that a 20-mile wide 'dark' fragment of the original giant comet remains hidden within its debris stream and threatens the Earth. An astronomical message encoded at Gobekli Tepe, and in the Sphinx and the pyramids of Egypt,warns that the 'Great Return' will occur in our time...

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Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher walked across the Galilee, gathering followers to establish what he called the “Kingdom of God.” The revolutionary movement he launched was so threatening to the established order that he was executed as a state criminal. Within decades after his death, his followers would call him God.
 
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