Legion versus Phalanx: The Epic Struggle for Infantry Supremacy in the Ancient World

Written by:
Myke Cole
Narrated by:
Alexander Cendese

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
December 2018
8 hours 35 minutes
Taking a populist approach to a serious subject, Myke Cole combines a novelist's flair for drama with an ancient historian's eye for detail to create a unique book that delves into one of the most popular areas of the Ancient World.

From the time of Ancient Sumeria, the heavy infantry phalanx dominated the battlefield. Armed with spears or pikes, standing shoulder to shoulder with shields interlocking, the men of the phalanx presented an impenetrable wall of wood and metal to the enemy. Until, that is, the Roman legion emerged to challenge them as masters of infantry battle.

Covering the period in which the legion and phalanx clashed (280–168 BC), Myke Cole delves into their tactics, arms and equipment, organization and deployment. Drawing on original primary sources to examine six battles in which the legion fought the phalanx--Heraclea (280 BC), Asculum (279 BC), Beneventum (275 BC), Cynoscephalae (197 BC), Magnesia (190 BC), and Pydna (168 BC)--he shows how and why the Roman legion, with its flexible organization, versatile tactics and iron discipline, came to eclipse the hitherto untouchable Hellenistic phalanx and dominate the ancient battlefield.
Profile Avatar

This book deserves more attention than it has received so far. A well-researched and fascinating read for anyone interested in ancient history, it is accessible even to those whose knowledge of the topic is limited to popular movies like "300." However, by no means is it a superficial treatment of the topic; the author has meticulously reviewed the details of the battles he describes in this work, even visiting some of the sites to evaluate factors such as terrain. Some of the passages I personally found most insightful, such as in the descriptions of Pyrrhus, would have been practically impossible to arrive at from a purely academic point of view by an armchair historian with no real-world experience. The narrator does a good job engaging listeners, avoiding the dry monotone which unfortunately one sometimes encounters in history books. For those who wish to delve further into the subject, the author provides an excellent appendix with valuable information. This audio book was a really good choice, and I hope other potential readers will be encouraged to add it to their list.

1 book added to cart
View Cart