The Jewish-Roman Wars

If you’ve read my last blog post, you know that I have been very busy polishing off the most recent issue of Ancient Warfare, number VIII.5, on the Jewish-Roman Wars. Usually, time is never much of a problem, but with this issue we were cutting a very close to the deadline, due in part to a much-needed break that I took in September and some tardiness on the part of a few contributors (no hard feelings, though!).

In the end, I am quite happy with how this issue has come together. It has more original artwork than ever before, including a last-minute full-page illustration by our cover artist, Johnny Shumate, for Marc G. DeSantis’s article on Alexander’s campaign in the Levant. Marc has been contributing articles to Ancient Warfare for the past year or so and his well-written texts are always a pleasure to read (and even easier when it comes to editing).

Marc’s article is one of two non-theme related articles for this issue, the other being Owen Rees’s piece on a fascinating topic, namely dogs in ancient Greek warfare. Owen always manages to find an interesting topic to write about and explores the subject in depth. His pieces generally focus on asking a single question, which in this case is whether or not the Greeks actually used dogs in battle. If you want to know the answer, you’re going to have to get this issue.

The theme-related articles

As usual, the bulk of the magazine is devoted to discussing the theme. Considering all that is going on in the Middle East, this might be the first issue of Ancient Warfare that comes close to sort of touching on current affairs. I certainly took the opportunity to write about a topic that I consider important in this issue’s editorial, namely the trade in antiquities.

Prof. Mladen Popovic of the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) contributed the introduction to this issue, providing a framework for the history of the wars that the Romans fought in Judea in the first two centuries AD. He also touched upon important methodological issues when it comes to treating the subject in both academic and popularizing texts.

Newcomer Tilman G. Moritz, with whom I have communicated often via email, contributed this issue’s “Source” article on Josephus. Josephus is not only the single most important ancient historian of the period in question, but was also personally involved in the conflict between the Romans the Jews. Tilman’s article delves into the nature of both the man and the text. Tilman was also kind enough to provide instructions to Johnny Shumate when it came to drawing up the cover.

Vasilis Pergalias, who earlier contributed an article to our issue on the Ionian Greeks, wrote an article on the experiences of Legio III Gallica during the First Judean Revolt of AD 66. Regular contributor Sean Manning wrote a short piece on the so-called victoria navalis, based on a study of Roman coins. Ancient Warfare stalwart Sidney E. Dean wrote an article on the Siege of Jerusalem in AD 70; Rocio Espin created a beautiful reconstruction of the ancient city to accompany his easy-to-read text.

There’s no reenactor in this issue, but we managed to sort of fill the vacuum by having Graham Sumner write an article on Roman imperial legionary cavalrymen. Angel Garcia Pinto provided the full-page illustration for this piece. If you have seen Angel’s work before, you know that he is very meticulous, and infuses his illustrations with loads of historically accurate detail.

This issue’s main article is regular contributor Joseph Hall’s piece on the Second Jewish Revolt. Joe has written other articles in the past and has also often been kind enough to help me out by providing ideas for the cover illustration and sending instructions to Johnny Shumate. The centrefold accompanying his article is yet another work of art by Radu Oltean (and again, if you like his work, you really should buy his book on the Dacian Wars).

Rounding out the issue is regular contributor Arnold Blumberg’s article on the Bar-Kochba Revolt, which is also illustrated by Angel Garcia Pinto. All the articles taken together thus give a good idea of the major Judean revolts against the Roman Empire.

As always, I hope that you will enjoy reading this latest issue of Ancient Warfare. I am open to suggestions for improvement and any other comments that you might have. If you feel like writing for the magazine yourself, check out our upcoming themes and deadlines, and be sure to give the submission guidelines a gander. 

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