Cavalry Operations in the Ancient Greek World R.E Gaebel University of Oklahoma Press 2002 | PDF | 2 Mb | 360 Pages
One of the attractions of military history, particularly in the ancient world, when battles were of short duration and usually decisive, is the opportunity it affords to evaluate human decision making. The study of cavalry also provides a wonderful opportunity to immerse oneself in the vast subject of horses and horsemanship.
This is a thorough and competent overview of the subject working chronologically from the earliest real evidence of Greek cavalry to the Successors of Alexander the Great, with a chapter on Hannibal for good measure.
My main criticism is that I found the analysis over-dependant on Victor Hanson's unconvincing portrait of the Ancient Greeks as an exceptional culture and Phalanx warfare as an exceptional (and somehow egalitarian) activity, but this was not presented to the same extent as in say Hanson's own book in the Cassell History of Warfare series, and doesn't therefore make the book unuseable if you don't happen to share this view.
On the positive side is the author's very balanced view of the importance of cavalry, which draws out both the effectiveness of cavalry in the earliest era and their continuing limitations even under Alexander and the Successors.
He is interested in more than just charging on the battlefield and demonstrates a healthy scepticism about the technological constraints (such as lack of stirrups) which are sometimes held to have impeded cavalry in this period.
Not registered yet? We'll like you more if you do!