Themes for volume XI

Frequently, I get emails from readers who ask if I could please devote more space in the magazine (and on the blog) to warfare in cultures other than Greek or Roman. My reply is usually something along the lines that I try, but that it isn’t easy. One of the reasons is that we simply don’t have as many sources about warfare in other cultures as we do for the Greeks or the Romans. There is, sadly enough, no Mesopotamian equivalent of Xenophon or Caesar.

That’s why most of the time, issues that don’t deal with the Greeks or Roman tend to cover a larger swathe of history. For example, our issue on ancient Egypt (issue VII.1) dealt with warfare in the Middle and especially New Kingdom periods. Our Hittite issue (IX.3) likewise covered a large period rather than dealing solely with, for instance, Suppiluliuma I. We just don’t have the amount of detailed information available to produce an issue similar to, for example, Ancient Warfare X.1, which deals not with the whole of the Peloponnesian War, but just the first part – a period of about a decade.

Similarly, some readers email me about why we don’t cover ancient China or ancient India. We have had articles that brush against these topics, like J. Albert Morales’ article in issue VII.1, but we’ve never had an entire theme devoted to the subject. The problem here is more complicated: Ancient Warfare deals with the ancient world in the narrow sense (the Mediterranean and regions around it). Furthermore, the knowledge my colleagues in the office and I possess about ancient China or India is limited, which could be a hindrance in evaluating proposals.

Finally, proposals could be a problem, too. Each volume of Ancient Warfare features two issues dedicated to a Roman theme, two to a Greek theme, one to a general theme (e.g. archery, siege warfare), and one to a non-Graeco-Roman theme. While I usually get more than twenty proposals for every issue, my experience has been that getting enough proposals for a non-Graeco-Roman-themed issue is hard. I imagine that if we did an issue on, for example, ancient China, there will likewise be a dearth of proposals.

All this brings me to the point of this post: now that issue X.1 has been published, it’s time to start thinking about ideas for themes for volume XI of Ancient Warfare. The theme for the first issue of this volume has, as always, already been decided: archery in the ancient world. That means that I’m looking for ideas for the two Roman and two Greek issues. I am also curious to read what you’d like to see as the theme for the non-Graeco-Roman issue, keeping the above comments in mind.

And these comments don’t mean you can’t suggest something outlandish. But if you do suggest something that doesn’t deal with the ancient Mediterranean, Near East, or Europe, I’d like you to provide a rationale, too: what are the sources like for the theme you are proposing, what kinds of topics could we discuss within the confines of that theme, and so forth. And if you happen to be an expert on that topic, please say so: I’d be more than happy to make someone guest editor of Ancient Warfare for that particular issue.

The deadline for submitting suggestions for themes for volume XI is 30 April 2016. That gives you a month to send me your ideas, either direct or via the contact form. As always, I’ll collect all suggestions and you’ll get a chance to vote on your favourites in June. 

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