Cover Image: A Sensory History of Ancient Warfare

A Sensory History of Ancient Warfare

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Member Reviews

You’ve read the histories (or watched the BBC shows) about ancient battles. But how did the people on the ground feel? Were they jostling shoulder-to-shoulder in a phalanx? What were the smells, sounds, and sights during the throes of battle? A Sensory History of Ancient Warfare answers those questions.

Though the author states he is writing this book for a general audience, it helps if you have some background in ancient history. Otherwise, you may be using Wikipedia frequently to get the overview of each battle before diving into the sweaty details. However, those details are fascinating.

There are six battles described within A Sensory History of Ancient Warfare: two Greek, two Roman and two others. The time period ranges from 333 bce to 544 ce. Though the battles are not placed chronologically in the book, it is interesting to see how war paraphernalia changed during the centuries.

If you enjoy war stories, ancient history, or are setting a book during this time period, A Sensory History of Ancient Warfare is a good choice. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars!

Thanks to Pen & Sword and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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An interesting take on warfare, trying to include all the senses to give a realistic account of being on the battlefield.

I found this a little dry in places but the research is there and I can see the appeal for those interested in military history.
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This is a very interesting take on ancient warfare, the author attempts to take the reader back to the sites and smells of the battlefield. It’s a little patchy in places which is understandable given the issues with evidence but i thoroughly enjoyed it.
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A Sensory History of Ancient Warfare by Conor Whately is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early July.

This book goes over battle arenas in 401 BC - 554 AD with detailed when and how explanations, the lead-up, co-occurring events, keeping groups equipped, fed, and paid/incentivized with multisensory standpoints of specific leaders and soldiers/fighters.
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The author did an excellent job of bringing the past to the present!  He goes into great detail about some of the events and explains why we think events looked, smelled, sound, and felt like they did.  There were times when it felt a little spotty in description, but I  understand  that some of these events happened thousands of years ago and records can be hit or miss, a problem which the author addresses. Overall a good read, not at all dry.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about warfare of the past.
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