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2,500 Years of Murderous Masterminds
Ancient World Commanders by Angus Konstam
© 2013 James LaFond
Nobody beats the British for war books with great photos and artwork.
Ancient World Commanders
From the Trojan War to the Fall of Rome
Angus Konstam
Compendium, 2008, London, 192 pages
Mister Konstam is a prolific historian who has the enviable position of museum curator in a nation that spent 200 years raping the world. That is a lot of war art. Angus’ specialty is on naval and military affairs, and he does a great job employing a wide array of art to tell his tales.
The introduction to this piece, for my taste, is not extensive enough. I would have also liked an afterword. However, this is merely meant to be an illustrated encyclopedic reference. The famous, infamous, and even mythical leaders, of the ancient world from forested Britain to cultured China are listed alphabetically. Most of the entries have accompanying art that ranges from renaissance paintings to ancient funeral masks and busts.
The best portion of this book is easily the attention paid to the military commanders of transitory ages that get little press in general histories, as they were basically just war-leaders. These include the barbarian chieftains of Europe, the ‘Diodachi’ or successors of Alexander, Persian kings of the Sassanid Dynasty, Byzantine generals, and even an Indian emperor. Ancient Egyptian and Assyrian figures, along with the mythic heroes of the Iliad, are also given balanced coverage.
This book is a valuable reference for anyone interested in ancient warfare.
I once read a book on pirates by Angus Konstam that was outstanding, easily a 5-star item. If you can get a hold of a copy, do so.
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