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Great Battles of the Ancient World

Great Battles of the Ancient World
24xDVDRip | M4V/AVC, ~1803 kb/s | 712x480 | Duration: 12:24:35 | English: AAC, 132 kb/s (2 ch) | 8.69 GB
Genre: History

Hollywood has gone to elaborate lengths to recreate the violence and mayhem of ancient warfare in movies such as Gladiator and Troy. But what were ancient battles really like? What weapons, tactics, armor, training, and logistics were used? And what were the crucial factors that could turn the tide of battle, giving one side victory and consigning the other to slaughter, capture, or, at best, escape to fight another day?

A professor of classics and history at The Pennsylvania State University and the teacher of our immensely popular course, The History of Ancient Rome, Dr. Garrett G. Fagan has devoted extensive study to ancient warfare. In these 24 lectures he takes you into the thick of combat in some of the most notable battles fought in the Mediterranean region from prehistoric times to the 4th century A.D.

Great BattlesCrucibles of History

"Battles, for all their madness, are worthy of study if for no other reason than that they are the crucibles of history," says Professor Fagan, who notes that a few hours of hard fighting can determine the fates of entire empires. Among the many fateful battles you study are:

Marathon: This clash between Athenians and the invading Persian army in 490 B.C.E. demonstrated the fearsome effectiveness of Greek hoplite phalanxes against Persian arms. Later European history would have looked very different had the Greeks lost at Marathon.
Gaugamela: In 331 B.C.E., Alexander the Great crushed a vastly superior Persian force in a classic hammerandanvil battle, in which his cavalry (the hammer) outflanked the enemy to drive it onto the spearwielding phalanx (the anvil). When the dust had settled, King Darius III was in flight, and Achaemenid Persia, which had dominated Asia for three centuries, was at an end.
Masada: The Romans showed their mastery of the difficult art of siege warfare by breaching the virtually impregnable Jewish fortress of Masada, which fell on April 16, A.D. 73. The defenders took their own lives rather than surrender, ending the last chapter of the Jewish Revolt against Rome.

Famous Generals

You also follow celebrated confrontations between commanders of ancient times, including Hannibal versus Scipio, the 3rdcentury B.C.E. equivalent of Lee versus Grant during the American Civil War, or Rommel versus Montgomery during World War II. At the head of a Carthaginian army, Hannibal nearly broke the back of Roman power in Italy, inflicting the worst Roman defeat ever at the horrendous Battle of Cannae in 218 B.C.E. But he met his match in P. Cornelius Scipio, who lured him to Africa for a killing blow at the Battle of Zama. Scipio was known ever afterward as Scipio "Africanus."

Other generals you study include:

Alexander the Great: Arguably the greatest general ever, Alexander was heir to the tactical innovations of his father, Philip II of Macedon, who, in turn, had learned new battle techniques from Epaminondas of Thebes. Alexander's stunning victories are marked by his maximally efficient use of military tools.
Julius Caesar: A brilliant tactician and master chronicler of his own exploits, Caesar won battles against barbarian armies and Roman rivals alike. He was preparing to conquer the Parthian Empire when he was struck down in the Roman Forum on the Ides of March in 44 B.C.E.
Xenophon: Elected general after the massacre of his commanding officers, this soldier of fortune led a beleaguered army of 10,000 Greek mercenaries on a daring retreat from deep within Persian territory.

What You Will Learn

This course focuses on warfare in the ancient Mediterranean world, encompassing the region from Mesopotamia to Western Europe, including Egypt and North Africa.

The first eight lectures chart the development of warfare from prehistoric times to the glory days of the great states of the ancient Near East and Egypt. After examining theories about how to define war, you survey different models for the origins of warfare in the Upper Paleolithic (c. 37,00012,000 years ago) and Neolithic (c. 10,0005,000 years ago), testing them against the archaeological evidence, which provides our only clues to organized violence among prehistoric peoples.

Then you move into the historical era, starting with the first battles for which we have written accounts. These took place between the citystates of early Sumer (c. 30002350 B.C.E.), when armies of infantry that used rudimentary chariots clashed over honor, irrigation rights, and boundaries. Next you travel to Egypt and survey the changing nature of warfare in the Old to New Kingdoms (c. 27001070 B.C.E.), including the first fully recorded battle in history: the Battle of Megiddo between Pharaoh Thutmose III and a coalition of Syrian lords, fought outside the walls of a town in Palestine. You examine the fearsome Assyrian war machine as it developed c. 900612 B.C.E., and the sophisticated army that allowed the Assyrians to forge the largest empire yet seen in the region. You also address disputed matters of the Trojan War and Homeric warfare.

In the next eight lectures you cover warfare among the Greeks and their distinctive form of combat using hoplites, a type of armored infantry that fought in close formation called the phalanx. You study the Persian invasions of Greece (490479 B.C.E.), examining the battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataea that decided this titanic clash. The disastrous Athenian expedition against Sicily (415413 B.C.E.) during the Peloponnesian War is next, followed by the military revolution in the 4th century B.C.E., which saw the creation of a new and formidable fighting unit spearheaded by the cavalry and a reformed phalanx. This integrated and flexible army reached its pinnacle of efficiency under Alexander the Great, and you survey the battles at the Granicus River, Issus, and Gaugamela that made Alexander king of Persia.

In the third part of the course you study the legions of Rome, which evolved brutally effective tactics that gave them dominion over the entire Mediterranean basin. It is unclear how Roman legionary armies actually fought, and you explore various theories before following the legions into combat in their colossal struggles with Hannibal in the Second Punic War (218202 B.C.E.). Then you compare the Roman legion and Macedonian phalanxthe two most efficient killing machines of the dayin duels fought in Italy in the 3rd century B.C.E. and in the Balkans and Asia Minor in the 2nd century. Next you consider Roman skill in siege warfare as exemplified by Julius Caesar's siege of Alesia (52 B.C.E.) and the siege of Masada in Judea in A.D. 7273. The final two battles covered are Roman defeats and introduce the German tribal warrior. These are the battles of the Teutoburg Forest in A.D. 9, considered one of the most important battles in European history, and Adrianople in A.D. 378, which heralded the decline of Roman imperial power.

In the final lecture, Professor Fagan considers the recent proposal by scholar Victor Davis Hanson that there is a distinctively "Western way of war" traceable from the Greeks to the modern age. This intriguing view represents hoplite warfare as a unique development of Greek conditions that casts its shadow down to the present. Despite the theory's attractive simplicity, it has problems that Dr. Fagan details in a fascinating glimpse of scholarly debate in action.


01Why Study Battles? What Is War?
02The Problem of Warfare's Origins
03Sumer, Akkad, and Early Mesopotamian Warfare
04Egyptian Warfare from the Old to New Kingdoms
05The Battles of Megiddo and Kadesh
06The Trojan War and Homeric Warfare
07The Assyrian War Machine
08The Sieges of Lachish and Jerusalem
09A Peculiar Institution? Hoplite Warfare
10The Battle of Marathon
11The Battle of Thermopylae
12Naval Warfare and the Battle of Salamis
13The Athenian Expedition to Sicily
14The March of the Ten Thousand
15Macedonian Military Innovations
16Alexander's Conquest of Persia
17The Legions of Rome
18The Battles of Cannae and Zama
19Legion versus PhalanxSix Pitched Battles
20The Sieges of Alesia and Masada
21Caesar's World War
22The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
23Catastrophe at Adrianople
24Reflections on Warfare in the Ancient World
Great Battles of the Ancient World
Great Battles of the Ancient World
Great Battles of the Ancient World

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