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Pickup not available. Product Highlights Most generals and leaders, such as Hannibal and Alexander the Great, are renown for their victories in pitched battles, but siege tactics were a necessary and important part of conquering fortified enclaves.

Ancient Siege Warfare: Persians, Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans 546-146 BC (Elite)

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Roman expansion to the East

See our disclaimer. Sieges played a central role in many conflicts of the ancient world and generals, including Darius, Alexander the Great, Hannibal and Scipio Africanus successfully used siegecraft to gain their objectives.

As siege tactics became integral to success in war, generals employed the minds of engineers and scientists to develop tactics which ranged from penetrating the defences or blockading the city through to tricks and deception. This fascinating study tracks developments in siege warfare from Ancient Persia in the 6th century BC through to the Roman sieges of the second century BC, describing the range of equipment and techniques which evolved during this period.


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Ancient Siege Warfare: Persians, Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans 546 146 BC

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Melvil Decimal System: Works under MDS Wording Edition. But do the statistics really support this conclusion? Thus, in the space of sixty years, Roman armies had utilised the tactic four or five times, as far as we know, whereas during the same period more than a dozen towns are known to have been taken by storm. Far from a "marked increase in the use of circumvallation" 64 , the seventy-five years separating the sieges of Orongis and Numantia witnessed a strategy of investment only twice, at Ambracia BC and at Carthage BC.

However, it is clear that, in concept, this was simply a linear version of the Capuan circumvallation, designed to close off the isthmus with a double line of fortifications. But this is apparently not the case. Ironically, this analysis is not even accurate for those sieges that actually involved circumvallation, far less for Caesarian sieges in general.


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  • Only half of Caesar's sieges involved a circumvallation at all, and most of these were played out as blockades, which rather contradicts the idea that "he regarded passive blockade as a waste of resources" Not only is D. Addressing the subject of the siege embankment, D. The former, he writes, are "raised to parallel the height of a defensive work enabling the passage of storming parties and the mounting of engines capable of effecting a breach" , while the latter are "raised to parallel or overtop the height of a defensive work allowing oversight of the defenders and the advantageous emplacement of artillery" A fine distinction.

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    Indeed, most of D. The case for such a subdivision is never fully argued, but D. Of course, this is a perfect description of the "assault ramp," which similarly requires heavy machinery to be manoeuvred along the apex. Indeed, the defenders of Cremna harboured no illusions about the approaching danger, as they laboured to buttress their walls against the expected battering attack.

    Osprey Elite Ancient Siege Warfare - Persians, Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans ? BC (ELI Nr.

    Turning to mining, D. In his conclusion, D. But, as each chapter jumps from siege to siege in a desultory fashion, chronologically from Fidenae to Cyzicus, alphabetically from Agrigentum to Zama, the result is rather disjointed.

    Equally, the lack of an historical framework makes it difficult to identify any overall trends, and the emphasis on the small corpus of material remains unfortunately leads to a skewed picture of Roman siegecraft. I am unsure what D. And if so, how? The latter comprise "any structure or feature constructed by an assailant for the purpose of prosecuting operations directly or indirectly against a defended position" In his description of the siege of Ambracia BC , Livy illustrates the point well when he refers to Nobilior's siege works as munimenta "fortifications" and his battering-rams as opera "works" Livy The example of Eretria BC , where "the surroundings offered timber in abundance for the construction of opera from scratch" Livy