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"This book explores the ways in which ancient society thought about conflict. Many aspects of ancient warfare are examined from philosophy to the technical skills needed to fight"--Provided by publisher.
The ancient Near East is defined, for the purposes of this book, as the cuneiform lands," the regions of the ancient world where the cuneiform script, written on clay tablets, was used as the most common medium for written communication. These lands comprise Mesopotamia (with its variously named regions: Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia, and Assyria); Syria, Elam (later known as Persia), and Anatolia. The three thousand years to be covered by this book - from around 3500 BCE, with the founding ofthe first Mesopotamian cities (which coincide with the invention of writing) to the conquest of the Near East by the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE - encompass an era of remarkable innovation and achievement. Many of the creations of the people of the ancient Near East are still with us, from fundamental inventions such as the wheel and the plow to intellectual feats such as the inventions of astronomy, law, and diplomacy. The region is known as the "cradle of civilization" for good reason. Here, men and women first tried to live peacefully together in densely urban cities, and found ways, through law and custom, to thrive and prosper. The popular image of history as a story of progress from primitive barbarism to modern sophistication is completely belied by the study of the ancient Near East. For example, women had many rights and freedoms; they could own property, run businesses, and represent themselves in court. Diplomats traveled between the capital cities of major powers ensuring peace and friendship between the kings. Scribes and scholars studied the stars and could predict eclipses and the movements of the planets. These achievements were lost in subsequent centuries, only to be reborn in more modern times. Perhaps the most obvious legacy from the ancient Near East is seen in some of our units of measurement. The Mesopotamians invented a mathematical system based on the number 60, and all the 60-based units in our modern world (including seconds, minutes, and degrees) have come down, unaltered, directly from Mesopotamia. Taking a chronological view, the book will include what we know, ideas about what we don't yet know (but perhaps will in the future), evidence used for discerning the history of the region, and approaches taken to the evidence by scholars of the ancient Near East. Each chapter will focus on one or two archaeological sites that have contributed extensive evidence (both textual and archaeological) to our understanding of an era and expanding from that evidence to a broader view of the era as a whole."
Jennifer Roberts introduces the background and writing of the 5th century Greek thinker and researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus, who invented the genre of historical investigation. She discusses all aspects of his work, including his fascination with his origins; his travels; his interest in seeing the world; and the recurring themes of his work.
Introduces major topics in ancient Greek civilization through the development of eleven characteristic city states, ranging from prehistoric Cnossos through Byzantion, and including the future Marseilles as well as Athens and Sparta.
The Roman Empire was a remarkable achievement. With a population of sixty million people, it encircled the Mediterranean and stretched from northern England to North Africa and Syria. This Very Short Introduction covers the history of the empire at its height, looking at its people, religions and social structures. It explains how it deployed violence, 'romanisation', and tactical power to develop an astonishingly uniform culture from Rome to its furthest outreaches.
The war instinct is part of human nature, but the means to fight war depend on technology. Alex Roland traces the co-evolution of technology and warfare from the Stone Age to the age of cyberwar, describing the inventions that changed the direction of warfare throughout history: from fortified walls, the chariot, battleships, and the gunpowder revolution to bombers, rockets, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and nuclear weapons. In the twenty-first century, new technologies continue to push warfare in unexpected directions, while warfare stimulates stunning new technological advances. Yet even now, the newest and best technology cannot guarantee victory. Brimming with dramatic narratives of battles and deep insights into military psychology, this book shows that although military technologies keep changing at great speed, the principles and patterns behind them abide.
The enormous loss of life and physical destruction caused by the First World War led people to hope that there would never be another such catastrophe. How then did it come about that there was a Second World War causing twice the 30 million deaths and many times more destruction as had been caused in the previous conflict? In this Very Short Introduction, Gerhard L. Weinberg provides an introduction to the origins, course, and impact of the war on those who fought and the ordinary citizens who lived through it. Starting by looking at the inter-war years and the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, he examines how the war progressed by examining a number of key events, including the war in the West in 1940, Barbarossa, The German Invasion of the Soviet Union, the expansion of Japan's war with China, developments on the home front, and the Allied victory from 1944-45. Exploring the costs and effects of the war, Weinberg concludes by considering the long-lasting mark World War II has left on society today. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Warfare is the most dangerous threat faced by modern humanity. It is also one of the key influences that has shaped the politics, economics, and society of the modern period. But what do we mean by modern war? What causes modern wars to begin? Why do people fight in them, why do they end, and what have they achieved? In this accessible and compelling Very Short Introduction, Richard English explores the assumptions we make about modern warfare and considers them against the backdrop of their historical reality. Drawing on the wide literature available, including direct accounts of the experience of war, English provides an authoritative account of modern war: its origins, evolution, dynamics, and current trends. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
The rise and fall of the Roman Republic occupies a special place in the history of Western civilization. From humble beginnings on the seven hills beside the Tiber, the city of Rome grew to dominate the ancient Mediterranean. Led by her senatorial aristocracy, Republican armies defeated Carthage and the successor kingdoms of Alexander the Great, and brought the surrounding peoples to east and west into the Roman sphere. Yet the triumph of the Republic was also its tragedy. In this Very Short Introduction, David M. Gwynn provides a fascinating introduction to the history of the Roman Republic and its literary and material sources, bringing to life the culture and society of Republican Rome and its ongoing significance within our modern world. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.