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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Warfare in the Classical World

Books at City News Café

Warfare in the Classical World: Reviewed by Dominick M Maino

Dominick M Maino, Book Review Editor

City News Cafe is well known for its more than 5,000 magazines, awesome coffee, music performances and Hattie Portage’s home crafted chocolate truffles. Now the Six Corners community will also have access to a small business... right in our neighborhood... book store as well. 

Please feel free to let us know what topics and titles you’d like to see on our shelves. (

Contact Dominick Maino (, the CNC Book Review Editor, if you’d like to write a review of any of the books you’ve read and want to see it published here.

Warfare in the Classical World
by John Warry

Reviewed by Dominick M. Maino

Several years ago I became almost fanatical about learning all I could in regards to ancient Rome. It started with Julius Caesar and those that came before him and after him as the “First Men of Rome”. After Caesar I sought out the stories of individuals who claimed or were recognized as Imperators of the Empire. This journey led me to read about life in a typical Roman city and centuries later the story of Catherine de Medici who taught the French manners, and how to cook, how to make perfume and even fashion (Yes, Italians taught the French all they know! This should not surprise you.).
This led me to a broader study of warfare from the time of Homer and the Mycenaeans… all the way to the end of the Western Roman Empire and the coming of the barbarians.

Warfare in the Classical World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weapons, Warriors, and Warfare in the Ancient Civilizations by John Warry has 224 pages (printed by the University of Oklahoma Press) with numerous drawings and illustrations (many in full color), battle maps, a glossary and more.

 At the very beginning the author’s foreword lets you know that this book is based on as much scientific fact as is available and takes great pains to justify using Homer (the ultimate teller of stories) as a primary source when discussing the Mycenaeans, the early Greeks and Troy. He then goes on to review the pronunciation of ancient languages and why certain ancient words are spelled and said the way we now spell and say them.

All the chapters have a similar layout. They first discuss the “ancient authorities” used as sources and then review the political and historical background. Almost every page has diagrams, drawings, battle maps and/or other illustrations. This does not mean this is a picture book however. In-between each of these incredible illustrations is a story told using fairly precise language. This text leans heavily towards the academic side of history with an emphasis placed on dates, battles, equipment, ships and armor. 

If you want a biography of the men and women of history; if you want “a detailed story” of the individuals involved, this is not the book for you. If you desire knowledge of the “nuts and bolts” of ancient warfare, you should definitely add this text to your collection however.

City News has a copy of the book on its shelf, waiting to be taken home and treasured. Stop by anytime.

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