Monday, 4 September 2006

Under siege

There aren't too many books about ancient siege warfare.

Besieged book jacket

But the Ancient & Medieval History Book Club is advertising a new one. "Through use of outstanding photographs and explanatory diagrams of siege warfare", says their blurb, "this expert study examines the techniques and weapons used during the period."



  1. but not if you already have the author's previous Osprey works; "Ancient siege warfare - persians Greeks etc 546-146 BC"; "Siege warfare in the Roman World 146 BC-AD378"; "Greek and Roman siege machinery" and "Greek and Roman Arillery", for this book is simply a compendium of those.....

  2. << this book is simply a compendium of those >>
    Actually, you're wrong. Amazon have a Look Inside facility, and you can see, for example, that there's a new Assyrian section. The book definitely doesn't seem to be a compendium of these four previous books. Perhaps we ought to ask someone who actually knows? (Rather than someone who simply wants to criticise.)

  3. Reviewed by California Bookwatch:

    "BESIEGED: SIEGE WARFARE IN THE ANCIENT WORLD may be a specialty item for college-level holdings, but any collection strong in early history - not just military holdings - must have it. It covers the methods of siege warfare, examining history, politics, tactics and weaponry alike in a thorough coverage which includes lavish illustrations, photos and maps throughout. The evolution of siege warfare through nine centuries comes to life in a top pick for any ancient history library."

  4. Hello. I'm the guy who actually knows!

    I don't know if anyone is particularly interested in this, but - for the record - Osprey asked me to bundle my two siege warfare books into one, with some new colour pictures (many previously in b&w) and redrawn maps/plans (again in colour).

    Besieged runs to about 60,000 words (not including glossary and index), whereas the previous pair of siege warfare books only totalled about 40,000 words. Some of the extra material comes from Greek and Roman Siege Machinery (and almost none from Greek and Roman Artillery, so feel free to purchase that one!) but there is also a lot of new text in the hardback, to give added value.

    So Paullus Scipio is, indeed, wrong to state that this is simply a compendium. I hope that clears the matter up.

  5. To use your words, Duncan, "more shameless self publicism"? Perhaps you would care to comment on the ethics of praising your own work?

  6. From the Fly-leaf of "Besieged": "Previously published as Elite 121: Ancient Siege Warfare - Persians Greeks Carthaginians and Romans; Elite 126 Siege warfare in the Roman World; Greek and Roman Siege machinery; Greek and Roman Artillery....all written by Duncan Campbell "

  7. This book is a fascinating history of siege warfare in the ancient world. Produced by Osprey Publishing, it has a reputation of excellence to live up to, and the book does so admirably!

    Beginning with siege warfare as practiced by the Assyrians (which for some reason is presented as the Introduction, instead of the first chapter), the book examines Achaemenid Persian methods, Classical Greek, Macedonian, Hellenistic, and finally Roman methods, which makes up a good half of the book itself.

    Along the way, the reader is treated to many well-drawn illustrations, pictures, maps, and other visual treats.

    Overall, I found this to be a very well made book. I thought that it did a great job of presenting the tools and techniques of siege warfare (true, from the viewpoint of the besieger and not the besieged).

    If you want to learn about the ancient are of siege warfare, then I really do recommend that you read this book. You won't be disappointed!