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Early African warfare – mercenaries and catapults

By |2018-02-21T11:50:43+00:00October 3rd, 2017|Africa, War|

Early African warfare: Nubian archers in the Middle Kingdom (from the Nubian museum in Aswan, Egypt) The beginnings of war There has been fighting in Africa since the early Stone Age, when one group of people fought and killed another group in order to take over their land along the shore of a [...]

Roman army from the Republic to the fall of Rome

By |2018-04-25T10:26:45+00:00September 5th, 2017|Romans, War|

Testudo formation on the Column of Trajan, Rome Roman soldiers learned how to do a lot of complicated movements so that they could fight better. One of the most famous was the testudo or "turtle".  All the soldiers used their shields to make a sort of shell all around the unit, as you [...]

Roman wars and warfare – the Roman military

By |2018-04-25T10:26:45+00:00September 5th, 2017|Romans, War|

Roman soldiers on the Column of Marcus Aurelius, Rome The Romans were (along with some Greek city-states) among the first people on Earth to pay their soldiers a regular salary so that they could be full-time soldiers instead of only fighting when they could spare the time from their farms. At first, the Romans had part-time soldiers like the Carthaginians and [...]

Who was the god Mars? The Roman god of war

By |2017-09-04T16:05:22+00:00September 4th, 2017|Religion, Romans|

So-called "Mars of Todi", an Etruscan statue from about 500 BC Mars was the Roman god of war and fighting, the son of Juno (all by herself, with no dad). People in the Roman Empire thought of Mars as being similar to the Greek god of war, Ares, but Mars was a popular god, who fought to bring peace and [...]

Indra, god of rain – Ancient India

By |2017-07-21T09:16:14+00:00July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Indra, 4-5th c. AD (Mathura, India) In the earliest Hindu stories that we know of, from the Rig Veda, Indra is the ruler of the Hindu gods, the way Zeus is the ruler of the Greek gods, or Thor the ruler of the German gods. These stories probably go back at least to about 1000 BC. In the Rig Veda, Indra [...]

War in ancient Greece

By |2018-04-23T14:26:48+00:00July 19th, 2017|Greeks, War|

Greek warfare: hoplite soldiers (Chigi Vase, ca. 650 BC) Wars were very common in ancient Greece. The Greeks lived in little city-states, each one like a small town in the United States today, with no more than about 100,000 people in each city-state. These city-states - Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes - were always fighting each other over their borders. [...]

Greek hoplites and democracy – Classical Greece

By |2018-05-30T23:35:45+00:00July 19th, 2017|Greeks, War|

Greek hoplites and democracy - a Corinthian helmet from the 600s BC Hoplites needed armor When the Greek city-states turned to this new hoplite way of fighting, it meant that each man had to have the right armor. Nobody could fight without a shield, and a helmet, and all that. So you could only be a [...]

Ancient Greek soldiers: the Greek hoplite phalanx

By |2018-05-04T23:13:29+00:00July 19th, 2017|Greeks, War|

Ancient Greek soldiers - Greek hoplites in a phalanx formation (Chigi Vase, ca. 650 BC) Before the hoplite phalanx In the Bronze Age, and in the early part of the Archaic period, Greek soldiers fought their battles the same way most other soldiers did in the Mediterranean and West Asia. They learned to [...]

Ancient Greek warships

By |2017-10-14T14:02:51+00:00July 18th, 2017|Greeks, War|

A pentekontor People called the earliest Greek warships pentekontors. They were probably designed to compete with similar Phoenician ships being built about the same time. Pentekontors were long, narrow ships, designed to go fast so they could overtake other ships and attack them. They had 25 rowers, or oarsmen, on each side. By the 500s BC, [...]