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Ancient Warfare Podcast

Discussions from Ancient Warfare Magazine. Why did early civilisations fight? Who were their Generals? What was life like for the earliest soldiers? Ancient Warfare Magazine will try and answer these questions. Warfare minus two thousand years.
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Now displaying: Page 1
May 24, 2024

Thanks to Andy for sending this one in. 'I’m listening to SJA Turney’s Marius' Mules. Over the first three books, he frequently references the medical support for the legions. How developed were the medics? Were their skills another advantage for the Romans ?'

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May 17, 2024

In a second question from his postcard, Gus asks, what was the difference between bronze and iron weapons and armour in terms of availability, hardness, temper and penetrating ability?

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May 10, 2024

'After two decades of war, Alexander's successors had found a delicate balance. When Ptolemy's wayward son managed to destabilize matters, the Celts grabbed their chance.'

The Ancient Warfare team discuss the latest issue of the magazine XVII.2 Invasion of the Celts: Brennus' Campaign into Greece.

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May 3, 2024

In a new Ancient Warfare Answers postcard, Gus asks Thureophoroi - what were they? (light troops/peltast replacements)and where did they originate?

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Apr 26, 2024

Aaron asks "On your comment about written battle accounts, were Empire era writings less common, lost to time, or were the generals less educated than Republic era generals?"

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Apr 19, 2024

In this episode of the Ancient Warfare Magazine podcast, Murray and Jasper are joined by Stephen DeCasien to discuss rams on ships.

Stephen is a PhD candidate at Texas A&M University studying Nautical Archaeology. His academic interests are Greek and Roman maritime history and archaeology, with a special focus on naval warfare, naval rams, and warships.

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Apr 12, 2024

To celebrate the 300th episode of the Ancient Warfare Podcast and Ancient Warfare Answers, Murray answers a curly one, what really happened at the battle of Marathon - Murray has forgotten who asked him this but is a 'big' question nonetheless!

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Apr 5, 2024

'A question for Murray, who or what made the decisions about where Roman army units were based or moved around the Empire? I am presuming if it were a vexillation from Hadrian's Wall to York, it would be a local commander's decision, but what if it was a cohort sent from York to Gaul, ie between adjacent provinces? Was that worked out by the military staff of the respective governors? And then what about legions moving from, say, Gaul to Syria for military reasons or even for civil engineering projects? Was there a general staff in Rome comprised of ex-field generals, gnarly old centurions and civil servants, or was it down to the Emperor/Senate (depending on the period) to plan it all?'

Thanks for that question Keith.

 

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Mar 29, 2024

Sara wonders how negotiations between different armies were practically arranged. For example, with Caesar in Gaul, several times he had some type of meetings with different groups. Such as the Helvetii before he had even established himself in Gaul. How was such a meeting arranged before and after a battle?

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Mar 22, 2024

Murray answers this question set in by Tim. 

'I'm wondering why historians generally accept that Mons Graupius was indeed a great victory for Agricola. My understanding is that Tacitus' account is the only written evidence we have, and archaeology has turned up little physical evidence of the battle.

Is part of the reason that a great victory would have been too big a lie to pass off,  so there must be some truth to the story? Or was it generally accepted for generals to make their victories more impressive so no one in Rome batted an eye at Tacitus' account?'

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Mar 15, 2024

Nathan wonders how the Praetorian Guard was structured. Was it used in traditional combat or taken on campaigns? While not directly related to ancient warfare, why did the emperors continually use the Praetorian Guard despite their history of treachery, intrigue, and assassination?

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Mar 8, 2024

'The time has come to take the fight to the enemy. How do you prepare? Can you rely on your guides, your allies, and your subordinates? Have you secured enough supplies?'

The Ancient Warfare Magazine team get together to discuss issue XVII.1 In the Land of the Enemy: The Challenges of Campaigning.

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Mar 1, 2024

Gregorio Gariglio asks, "could you please tell me what really happened at the Battle of Pydna and are the casualty rates that the sources give to us correct?"

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Feb 23, 2024

Blake asks "Love your podcast, my question is about Ancient Roman Enemies and the most well remembered. My question is why do we talk about say Spartacus, Boudica or Hannibal over say Genseric or Shapur I? Especially since the latter were more successful against Rome than the former, I have a few theories but I wanted to hear your answer."

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Feb 16, 2024

Matthew Tilley asks "who/what were hypastpists? I always hear very vague descriptions, or none at all." Murray gives his thoughts.

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Feb 9, 2024

Murray answers three separate but closely related questions this week – from Floody77 – “Hi Murray, I was wondering who you're favourite ancient general was and why ?”; from Euchale : “Who do you think is one of the most underrepresented Generals of ancient times in popular media, compared to how important they were in their time? Any book recommendations to read more about him?”; and from Caleb on Patreon “If an autobiography of an ancient general could be discovered, who would you want it to be written about, why, and what is already known about them?”

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Feb 2, 2024

'Since the dawn of the Classical Era up to World War II, thousands have lost their lives fighting over the pass at Thermopylae.'

Jasper and Murray are joined by Michael Livingston and AW regular Myke Cole to discuss their new book, The Killing Ground: A Biography of Thermopylae.

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Jan 26, 2024

Patron Simon's second question asks 'Were there notions of "losing well" or instances of exemplary defeat in ancient warfare?'

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Jan 19, 2024

Patron Simon (via postcard) asks 'It's often said that Greek armies put their best soldiers on the right. Given that predictability is exploitable, how and why did such a convention arise?'

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Jan 12, 2024

'Shortly after Marcus Aurelius came to power in AD 161, the Roman Empire was racked by a series of military crises. While unrest in Britain and a new war with Parthia were swiftly dealt with, the invasion of Roman territory by the Chatti and Chauci peoples heralded a resurgent threat from the empire’s European neighbours. Soon the Marcomanni and the Quadi, as well as the Dacians and the Sarmatian Iazyges, would attack the Romans in a series of savage conflicts that continued until AD 175 and would involve the first invasion of Roman Italy since the beginning of the 1st century BC.'

Marc talks to Murray about his latest Combat title for Osprey on Marcus Aurelius' Marcomannic Wars, Barbarian Warrior vs Roman Legionary: Marcomannic Wars AD 165–180.

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Jan 5, 2024

Murray answers a question from a 12-year-old fan from Italy, Greg - How many casualties were there really at Magnesia? The Roman sources say 53,000 for the Seleucids and only 350 Romans died. Is This true?

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Dec 29, 2023

Responding to several comments on recent podcasts which have looked at heavy infantry, especially the Macedonian phalanx, Murray looks at the issue of light armed troops in ancient battle accounts.

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Dec 22, 2023

Mark wants to hear Murray's thoughts on comparing the Roman wars against the Vandals vs the Punic Wars. Mark writes, 'both the Roman-Vandal and Roman-Carthage wars occurred roughly in the same geographic area and included naval and land-based fighting. However, within 26 years the Vandals had conquered North Africa, the major islands of the Western Med and sacked Rome. 

In the 3rd/2nd centuries BCE the 1st/2nd Punic wars lasted over 60 years, and even then, neither side could capture each other's capitals. Granted, the Roman Empire was exhausted and fighting multiple enemies for much of the 5th century CE- but the Roman Republic also fought on multiple fronts during the 2nd Punic War. 

Then, in the 6th century CE, Belisarius was able to conquer and annex the Vandal Kingdom in less than a year. Why did these later wars seem to happen at a much faster pace? Did smaller armies and a more depopulated Mediterranean in late antiquity shorten wars? Were logistics better with better ships or Roman roads? Did later armies and navies use different tactics or technologies so that wars were much shorter?'

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Dec 15, 2023

Murray answers this question from Jsoth, 'during the battle of Issus, it's my understanding that the Macedonian phalanx struggled and even lost ground against Darius' mercenary Greeks. I was under the impression that if facing off directly, the sarrisa-wielding phalanx would be at an advantage with their longer spears, but here, that doesn't seem to be the case. Do historians believe this is accurate, and if so, why or how?'

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Dec 8, 2023

'King at just 20, Alexander of Macedon spent two years securing his northern borders and Greece. In 334 he crossed the Hellespont to begin the campaign his father had prepared: the invasion of Achaemenid Persia.'

The Ancient Warfare team discuss issue XVI.6 of the magazine Alexander versus Darius

 

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