Hellenistic and Roman Naval Wars: 336 BC-31 BC

Written by:
John D. Grainger
Narrated by:
Peter Noble

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
March 2022
11 hours 36 minutes
A technological, strategic, and tactical history of ancient naval ships from Alexander to the battle of Actium.

The period covered in this book is well known for its epic battles and grand campaigns of territorial conquest, but Hellenistic monarchies, Carthaginians, and the rapacious Roman Republic were scarcely less active at sea. Huge resources were poured into maintaining fleets not only as symbols of prestige but as means of projecting real military power across the Mediterranean arena.

Taking the period between Alexander the Great's conquests and the Battle of Actium, John Grainger analyzes the developments in naval technology and tactics, the uses and limitations of sea power and the differing strategies of the various powers. He shows, for example, how the Rhodians and the Romans eschewed the ever-larger monster galleys favored by most Hellenistic monarchs in favor of smaller vessels. This is a fascinating study of a neglected aspect of ancient warfare.
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This is definitely an elucidating read for anyone interested in ancient history. There's much on the naval part of land campaigns, so it in a way changes our perception of the reknowned wars and battles. The book is also strong on technical aspects, logistics and politics. For example, it underlines the importance of Athen's naval might well after the "great age." The progression of the Roman navy and it's various hiatuses are explained magisterially. Besides, the narrator is among the best in this genre.

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