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Greek and Roman warfare differed from other cultures and was unlike any other forms of warfare before and after. The key difference is often held to be that the Greeks and Romans practised a 'Western Way of War', where the aim is an open, decisive battle, won by courage instilled in part by discipline. Harry Sidebottom looks at how and why this 'Western Way of War' was constructed and maintained by the Greeks and Romans, why this concept is so popular and prevalent today, and at whether or not this is an accurate interpretation. All aspects of ancient warfare are thoroughly examined - from philosophy and strategy to the technical skills needed to fight. He looks at war in the wider context - how wars could shape classical society, and how the individual's identity could be constructed by war, for example the Christian soldier fighting in God's name. He also explores the ways in which ancient society thought about conflict: Can a war be just? Why was siege warfare particularly bloody? What role did divine intervention play in the outcome of a battle? Taking fascinating examples from the Iliad, Tacitus, and the Persian Wars, Sidebottom uses arresting anecdotes and striking visual images to show that the any understanding of ancient war is an ongoing process of interpretation. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Late antiquity: decline or transformation, conflict or interaction? Late antiquity is the period (c.300 - c.800) in which barbarian invasions ended Roman Empire in Western Europe by the fifth century and Arab invasions ended Roman rule over the eastern and southern Mediterranean coasts by the seventh century. Asking 'what, where, and when' Gillian Clark presents an introduction to the concept of late antiquity and the events of its time. Not only a period of cultural clashes, political restructurings, and geographical controversies, Clark also demonstrates the sheer richness and diversity of religious life as well as the significant changes to trade, economy, archaeology, and towns. Encapsulating significant developments through vignettes, she reflects upon the period by asking the question 'How much can we recognise in the world of late antiquity?' ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
The ancient Near East is defined, for the purposes of this book, as the cuneiform lands," the regions of the ancient world where the cuneiform script, written on clay tablets, was used as the most common medium for written communication. These lands comprise Mesopotamia (with its variously named regions: Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia, and Assyria); Syria, Elam (later known as Persia), and Anatolia. The three thousand years to be covered by this book - from around 3500 BCE, with the founding ofthe first Mesopotamian cities (which coincide with the invention of writing) to the conquest of the Near East by the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE - encompass an era of remarkable innovation and achievement. Many of the creations of the people of the ancient Near East are still with us, from fundamental inventions such as the wheel and the plow to intellectual feats such as the inventions of astronomy, law, and diplomacy. The region is known as the "cradle of civilization" for good reason. Here, men and women first tried to live peacefully together in densely urban cities, and found ways, through law and custom, to thrive and prosper. The popular image of history as a story of progress from primitive barbarism to modern sophistication is completely belied by the study of the ancient Near East. For example, women had many rights and freedoms; they could own property, run businesses, and represent themselves in court. Diplomats traveled between the capital cities of major powers ensuring peace and friendship between the kings. Scribes and scholars studied the stars and could predict eclipses and the movements of the planets. These achievements were lost in subsequent centuries, only to be reborn in more modern times. Perhaps the most obvious legacy from the ancient Near East is seen in some of our units of measurement. The Mesopotamians invented a mathematical system based on the number 60, and all the 60-based units in our modern world (including seconds, minutes, and degrees) have come down, unaltered, directly from Mesopotamia. Taking a chronological view, the book will include what we know, ideas about what we don't yet know (but perhaps will in the future), evidence used for discerning the history of the region, and approaches taken to the evidence by scholars of the ancient Near East. Each chapter will focus on one or two archaeological sites that have contributed extensive evidence (both textual and archaeological) to our understanding of an era and expanding from that evidence to a broader view of the era as a whole."
Aerial warfare has dominated war-making for over 100 years, and despite regular announcements of its demise, it shows no sign of becoming obsolete. In this Very Short Introduction Frank Ledwidge offers a sweeping look at the history of aerial warfare, introducing the major battles, crises, and controversies where air power has taken centre stage, and the changes in technology and air power capabilities over time. Highlighting the role played by air power in the First and Second World Wars, he also sheds light on the lesser-known theatres where the roles of air forces have been clearly decisive in conflicts, in Africa, South America, and Asia. Along the way, Ledwidge asks key questions about the roles air power can deliver, and whether it is conceptually different from other forms of combat. Considering whether bombing has ever been truly effective, he discusses whether wars can be won from the air, and concludes by analysing whether there is a future for manned air power, or if it is inevitable that drones will dominate 21st century war in the air. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable. Previously published in hardback as Aerial Warfare: The Battle for the Skies.
This book is a clear and informative introduction to cryptography and data protection - subjects of considerable social and political importance. It explains what algorithms do, how they are used, the risks associated with using them, and why governments should be concerned. Important areas are highlighted, such as Stream Ciphers, block ciphers, public key algorithms, digital signatures, and applications such as e-commerce. This book highlights the explosive impact of cryptography on modern society, with, for example, the evolution of the internet and the introduction of more sophisticated banking methods. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Some would argue that scarcely a day passes without a new assault on our privacy. In the wake of the whistle-blower Edward Snowden's revelations about the extent of surveillance conducted by the security services in the United States, Britain, and elsewhere, concerns about individual privacy have significantly increased. The Internet generates risks, unimagined even twenty years ago, to the security and integrity of information in all its forms. The manner in which information is collected, stored, exchanged, and used has changed forever; and with it, the character of the threats to individual privacy. The scale of accessible private data generated by the phenomenal growth of blogs, social media, and other contrivances of our information age pose disturbing threats to our privacy. And the hunger for gossip continues to fuel sensationalist media that frequently degrade the notion of a private domain to which we reasonably lay claim. In the new edition of this Very Short Introduction, Raymond Wacks looks at all aspects of privacy to include numerous recent changes, and considers how this fundamental value might be reconciled with competing interests such as security and freedom of expression. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Herodotus has come to be respected by most scholars as a responsible and important historian. Herodotus was both a critical thinker and a lively storyteller, a traveller who was both tourist and anthropologist. Like Homer, he set out to memorialize great deeds in words; more narrowly, he determined to discover the causes of the wars between Greece and Persia and to explain them to his fellow Greeks. In his hands, the Greeks' unforeseeable defeat of the Persian kings Darius and Xerxes, with their vast hosts, made for fascinating storytelling. Influenced by the work of the natural scientists and philosophers of his own and earlier eras, Herodotus also brought his literary talents to bear on a vast, unruly mass of information gathered from many interviews throughout his travels and left behind him the longest work that had ever been written in Greek - the first work of history, and one which continues to be read with enjoyment today. Herodotus: A Very Short Introduction introduces readers to what little is known of Herodotus's life and goes on to discuss all aspects of his work, including his fascination with his origins; his travels; his view of the world in relation to boundaries and their transgressions; and his interest in seeing the world and learning about non-Greek civilizations. We also explore the recurring themes of his work, his beliefs in dreams, oracles, and omens, the prominence of women in his work, and his account of the battles of the Persian Wars. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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