Book review: Legion versus Phalanx

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16 January 2019
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On the face of it, this could be a turgidly dry chin-stroking look into ancient warfare tactics but, thanks the brio of author Myke Cole, it’s anything but. Myke takes six battles from the period 280 BC - 168 BC where the traditional Phalanx formation faced up to the Roman Legion.

Author: Myke Cole

Reviewed buy: Duncan Evans

 

Buy your copy here.

 

On the face of it, this could be a turgidly dry chin-stroking look into ancient warfare tactics but, thanks the brio of author Myke Cole, it’s anything but. Myke takes six battles from the period 280 BC - 168 BC where the traditional Phalanx formation faced up to the Roman Legion. Each battle is examined for tactics, arms, equipment, organisation and deployment but what makes it come alive is the vivid storytelling and the depiction of the leaders on both sides. Then it becomes stories about individuals, as well as how they led their armies and in this vein, it ceases to be that technical tactics study but instead a series of gripping stories.

 

Also, the author points out elements that are largely accepted as fact thanks to detailed reports, and others where supposition comes into play, but he does this with a skill that makes it seem like a discussion between friends, not a lecture.

 

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With an excellent colour plate section full of photos of armour, illustrations, ancient graphics and diagrams of troop dispositions you have a highly entertaining and yet worthy look into how and why the Roman Legion was so effective against the Phalanx that had previously dominated the battlefield.

 

Buy your copy here.

• Osprey Publishing

• 292 pages • Hardback • £20

 

As reviewed in The Armourer January 2019

 

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