Actium: Transforming A Republic To An Empire

As we’ve seen in our series “With Spears & Shields,” ancient battles could have far reaching effects for empires, civilizations, and ideologies. We’ve looked at empires or countries fighting each other for territory, glory, revenge, and conquest.

What if a battle was fought between soldiers of the same country? That’s right: civil war. And what if that battle decisively crushed one opposition? What if that battle significantly changed the course of a nation and even its form of government? The stakes were high for Rome and Mediterranean World at Actuim when Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra battled Octavian in the final major battle of Rome’s Republic Days. Continue reading

Pydna: A Greek Or Roman World?

In 168 B.C. Macedonians, representing the Greek culture, and Romans, forging a new world empire, clashed yet again. It wasn’t the first time these cultures and adversaries had met on a battlefield. However, the Battle of Pydna decisively determined which military, government, and culture would dominate the Mediterranean region in the coming years.

King Perseus and his Macedonian army, confident in their battle formation, met the Roman General Paullus with his republic army in the battle where flexible tactics and thinking would win the day. The effect of Pydna reached far across the timeline. Continue reading

Lachish: Terrors Of A Siege

Sometimes – for various reasons – an army decided to take an extremely defensive position: inside a city. If the opposing army didn’t go away, a siege would likely occur in an attempt to force the defenders out, starve the population, and conquer the city.

One of the first recorded sieges in Ancient History took place at Lachish in southern Judah (Israel). An Assyrian army matched its strength against that city’s strong walls in 701 B.C. A history-making moment as the siege was recorded and set precedent for centuries of sieges in the future.

Today’s article explores the highlights of this siege, presenting facts about the countries and their leaders, the tactics and strategic of the siege, the effects of siege warfare, and Lachish’s influence on World History. Continue reading

Kadesh: Searching For Glory

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One of the challenges with Ancient History is the primary sources. In ancient cultures, kings supposedly did no wrong (some cultures even thought their rulers were gods!). So…what if a king lost a battle in a far distant land, but escaped to rule another day? Would he really tell his subjects back home that he lost? Would he inscript a defeat on his memorial walls and columns? Would historians centuries later take this king at his word when he claimed a victory?

The Battle of Kadesh in 1285 B.C. illustrates some of these challenges in Ancient Military History. The battle is significant in the history of Ancient Egypt and the Hittite Kingdom, and its story concludes with the first “recognized” peace treaty in World History.

This blog post delves into some of the most important things you should know about this battle: armies and leaders, the battle, the propaganda, and the historical conclusion. Continue reading