Tuesday, 21 February 2012

FACTUAL REVIEW: Plataea 479 BC - William Shepherd, Ill. Peter Dennis

Release Date: 20/01/12


Plataea was one of the biggest and most important land battles of pre-20th century history. Close to 100,000 hoplite and light-armed Greeks took on an even larger barbarian army that included elite Asian cavalry and infantry, and troops from as far away as India, with thousands of Greek hoplites and cavalry also fighting on the Persian side. At points in the several days of combat, the Persians with their greater mobility and more fluid, missile tactics came close to breaking the Greek defensive line and succeeded in cutting off their supplies. But, in a fatal gamble when he nearly had the battle won, their general Mardonius committed the cream of his infantry to close-quarters combat with the Spartans and their Peloponnesian allies. The detailed reconstruction of this complex battle draws on recent studies of early 5th-century hoplite warfare and a fresh reading of the ancient textual sources, predominantly Herodotus, and close inspection of the battlefield.


I love finding out about the past and whilst I did get history lessons at school, it never really dealt with the sort of things that I was interested in, that of the battles and troops that shaped the past. For me, perhaps none more so than the battle of Plataea which kept Europe out of the hands of the most powerful Empire of the time, the Persians.

This title released by Osprey takes the reader by the hand and leads them through the events that led to the battle, the troop movements, the forces arrayed on both sides as well as the social and political aspects of the day. Its wonderfully detailed, the artwork within beautiful and the whole thing is explained in fine detail for the reader.

Add to this the fact that this is not just for the military history buffs but is a great tool for writers to utilise as well to help get the flavours correct and it’s a title that fulfils a lot of different angles for all readers in general. A great addition to the Osprey publishing house and one that I really recommend to others.

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