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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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Jul 12, 2024

"Over the course of its long history and expansion, Rome fought a range of peoples. Some were conquered, while others never were. A few would even return for revenge."

In the latest issue, the team discuss issue XVII.3 Rome's May Enemies: Threats from within and without

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Jul 5, 2024

Jan asks what do we really know about ancient massed archery? How was it conducted? We may envision Hollywood-style showers of arrows raining down accurately on a target, but… how realistic is this?

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Jun 28, 2024

Euchale writes that he has recently watched a video by Farya Faraji on just how inaccurate a lot of modern "interpretations" of ancient music is. One of his pet peeves is the use of Armenian Duduks for anything vaguely Arabic. Euchale poses two questions to Murray, do you have pet peeve that every movie gets wrong about ancient warfare? And, have you ever researched anything in regard to ancient music in your area of expertise?

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Jun 21, 2024

College library director Darren is sponsoring a wargame involving a student tabletop game club (D&D, etc.) and a student history club. Darren writes to ask Murray what, in his opinion, would be the best ancient battle(s) for a group of 18 to 20-year-old students.

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Jun 7, 2024

Dave Latham asked about the Kingdom of Soissons, and after a particularly deep rabbit hole, Murray has emerged to give you his musings.

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May 31, 2024

Mark asks, 'did any of the friendly client states (i.e. Thrace, Cappadocia, Mauretania etc) try to copy Roman legions in terms of equipment, organisation, tactics etc?'

 

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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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