Great Generals of The Ancient World by Richard A. Gabriel   Let's begin this review with a list of the book'...

Great Generals of The Ancient World by Richard A. Gabriel Great Generals of The Ancient World by Richard A. Gabriel

Great Generals of The Ancient World by Richard A. Gabriel

Great Generals of The Ancient World by Richard A. Gabriel



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 Let's begin this review with a list of the book's chapters. These are:

What Makes Great Generals Great
Thutmose III Of Egypt
Moses
Sargon II The Great Of Assyria
Phillip II Of Macedon
Scipio Africanus
Hannibal Barca
Julius Caesar
Marcus Agrippa
Muhammad
Why Not Alexander?

 I agree completely with five of the nine choices, but you aren't reading this for my choices. Mr. Gabriel starts out with an easy choice for ancient Egypt. Instead of Ramses the what, we have Thutmose The Great. Ramses II's long life allowed him to build or put his name on almost every part of Egypt. However, his claim to 'greatness' falls short, especially in the military field. Mr. Gabriel shows that Thutmose III and Phillip II are the only two on the list that were true innovators in the military field in their time. If not for Thutmose III, the splendor of the New Kingdom would not have reached the heights it did. 

 It is hard to judge the two religious leaders Moses and Muhammad, because we mostly only have religious or religiously bent writings about them, although the author makes a fine argument for them to be on his list.

 Assyrian kings are usually not thought of as ancient conquerors or generals. They are usually portrayed as ancient psychopaths that happened to wear a crown. Why they are always singled out I don't know. There was enough terror and horror in ancient warfare to spread the wealth. Mr. Gabriel makes a great case for Sargon II to  not only be a great ancient general, but also deserving of the title of 'great'.

 Phillip II we have touched upon. He took a backwards impoverished small nation and made it ready to conquer almost the entire known world. Before Phillip II, the Macedonians spent more time killing each other. Very few of the Macedonian kings died in their beds from old age.

 Scipio needs no introduction, as Hart's biography of him is titled 'Greater Than Napoleon'.

 Hannibal is in a class by himself. Not only did he have more engagements than most of the others, he was leading a mercenary army for the most part. His romping through Italy for a decade and a half is the stuff of legends.
 Caesar, the first one, not one of the name thieves; if his own lengthy paean of praise for himself is only half true he belongs on the list.
 Agrippa, whilst Octavian wept and shook while nursing a queasy stomach, conquered an empire for him. Agrippa must have been a rare man indeed. One little push here or there and the world would be awash with the name Marcus of Agrippa, instead of Caesar.
 In the last chapter, the author makes a good argument for not including dear old Alex. This will probably stun more people than not. Didn't Hannibal famously list Alexander as #1? Actually, Plutarch has the list slightly different in the two places he writes about it.
 Now that we have come to the end, I will list the generals that did not make the list, but I believe should have:
Pyrrhus
Antigonus
For the Romans: Marius, Sulla, or Belisarius instead of Agrippa
Pompey
Khalid Khan
 Mr. Gabriel does plead a great case for his inclusions and omissions.  Do yourself a favor and pick this book up and argue over it as I have.

Robert

Publisher: Pen And Sword
Distributor: Casemate publishers

 


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