Ancient Warfare Vol VII, Issue 2: Struggle for control: Wars in ancient Sicily

Ancient Warfare Vol VII, Issue 2: Struggle for control: Wars in ancient Sicily

Ancient Warfare Vol VII, Issue 2: Struggle for control: Wars in ancient Sicily

The main theme here is the long series of wars in ancient Sicily. This was at least a five-sided conflict, involving the native Sicilians, Ionian Greeks, Dorian Greeks, Phoenicians and Carthaginians, and eventually the Romans, who ended the series of ancient wars. Sicily's position in the centre of the Mediterranean was especially important in the Ancient World as control of its coasts gave one control of major shipping lanes.

The theme begins with a useful introduction, with an overview of the various players on Sicily and the main wars, supported by a nice map showing the main ancient cities on the island. Next comes a look at the Greek fortifications of the island, with material on the type of construction used and some examples taken from the surviving remains. The disastrous Athenian attack on Syracuse is covered with a look at the performance of the Athenian cavalry during this campaign. The wars against Carthage are represented by articles on Timoleon of Corinth, a general who came to the island to help during a crisis, Dionysius's siege of Motya and the role of Agathocles in the conflict. Finally the role of mercenaries and specialists in ancient warfare is examined in an article on Cretan mercenary archers.

Away from the main theme there is an interesting article on Roman ownership inscriptions - essentially name tags carved onto metal gear (at least that is what survives), that often contain useful snippets of information about the organisation of the Roman army. The cost of service in the Legions is examined in an article that looks at the reasons why some men cut their own thumbs off to avoid service. The final article, on Alexander's victory at the battle of the Granicus, provides an interesting take on this cavalry battle, taking into account the nature of the terrain and of the Persian cavalry to produce a coherent version of the battle.

Struggle for control: Historical introduction
Sicilian Greek fortifications: Military architecture as source
Timoleon of Corinth: Saviour of Sicily
An underestimation of the enemy's cavalry: Athenian cavalry in Sicily
In the service of Syracusan tyrants: A regiment of Cretan mercenary archers
Dionysius I's Siege of Motya, 379 BC: Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind
Treachery, tyrant and terror: Agathocles of Syracuse and the Third Greco-Punic War
'Keep your grubby paws off my stuff!' - Roman ownership inscriptions
'I would rather cut off my thumb' - Refusal of military service in ancient Rome
Alexander's great cavalry battle - What really happened at the River Granicus

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