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Ancient History

  • Military History Magazine

    Military History Book Review: The Poison King

    The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy by Adrienne Mayor, Princeton University Press, 2009, $29.95 This is an enjoyable but strange book. The introduction claims it is “the first full-scale...

  • Military History Magazine

    Trajan’s Column

    A 100-foot column in Rome records the 2nd Century military exploits of Trajan and his legions. Nineteen centuries after its construction, Trajan’s Column remains one of antiquity’s great works of architecture, a magnificent work of art...

  • Military History Magazine

    Rome’s Big Idea

    A grand long-term strategy allowed Roman rulers—both good and bad—to shape the empire’s destiny. Why did the Western Roman Empire collapse? The question has consumed historians, clergy and philosophers since its fall in the 5th...

  • MHQ Magazine

    Tactical Exercises: Fear the Phalanx

    The Macedonian formation terrified opponents— and at times overwhelmed the vaunted Roman legion. ONE DAY in late June 168 Rome and Macedon were encamped be- tween Mount Olympus and the port city BC, the armies of of Pydna in Macedonia....

  • Military History Magazine

    Buddha: Enlightened Warrior

    In his youth Siddhartha Gautama was a brawny, six-foot warrior prince, trained in the art of war—and perhaps touched by tragedy. It is a curious fact of military history that the founders of three of the world’s four major religions...

  • Military History Magazine

    What We Learned: from Mount Gilboa, 1006 BC

    The Israelite victory at Michmash Pass (1010 BC) sparked a popular uprising that ejected Philistine outposts from the Israelite hill country. Saul’s control of the foothills thwarted outright frontal assaults, so Philistine commanders...

  • Military History Magazine

    Hannibal’s Big Mistake

    In the Second Punic War the great Carthaginian general repeatedly defeated Rome’s best armies—but still lost. In November 218 BC, after invading Italy, Carthaginian military commander Hannibal defeated a Roman cavalry force at the...

  • MHQ Magazine

    Marathon Men

    The conventional wisdom is that the Athenians at the Battle of Marathon were amateur soldiers who won by chance. In reality, they were the Israel Defense Force of their day—smart, highly trained, and merciless. Before dawn on September...

  • MHQ Magazine

    The Greatest Ancient Leader

    When Theodore Ayrault Dodge, the American Civil War historian known for his love of the ancient generals, dubbed Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar “great captains” in 1889, imperial ambition was some- thing to be admired. Today, after...

  • Military History Magazine

    Decisions: Roman Folly at Edessa

    Treachery has often had a decisive impact on military operations. Great generals have founded tactical and even strategic plans upon it—and with good reason. Assassinations, betrayals and defections, if timed properly, can turn the...

  • Military History Magazine

    The Persian Fallacy

    In the hit fantasy action film 300 the valiant Greeks defending the pass at Thermopylae in 480 BC are portrayed as the epitome of heroic manliness. Their Persian opponents, on the other hand, are depicted as effeminate slaves led by...

  • HistoryNet

    Greek Hoplites, 700-300 B.C.

    These citizen-soldiers of ancient Greece were nearly unstoppable. Greek hoplites were infantry warriors who carried shields, were primarily armed with spears, and fought in the disciplined ranks of a phalanx formation – a solid mass of...

  • HistoryNet

    Rome’s Parthian War, A.D. 161-166

    Old enemies battled in the ancient Middle East. Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (reigned A.D. 138-161) made sure his heirs stayed in Rome under his watchful eye. Thus both of his adoptive sons, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, achieved...

  • HistoryNet

    The First Aryan Blitzkrieg

    Over three millennia before Hitler’s “lightning warfare,” chariot-borne Aryan warriors overran the ancient world. The chariots of Mursilis I, grandson of the Hittite Empire’s founder, were nearing the end of their raid that had...

  • HistoryNet

    The Fall of Elam, 645 B.C.

    Assyrians obliterated the troublesome kingdom in present-day Iran. Twenty-first century Iran exasperates its neighbors and defies the world’s major powers with its outrageous and often belligerent behavior. Yet over 2,600 years ago the...

  • HistoryNet

    The Great Siege of Jerusalem

    Roman legions crush The Zealots’ Revolt. Religious extremists within a traditional society in the Middle East rebel against powerful Western influences the fanatics view as threatening their faith. The society itself is torn between...