Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Osprey Army of Herod the Great Review

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I have no real interest in Jewish armies, apart from the Maccabees, so I bought this book for the sake of having another one for the collection. However a quick flick through revealed a book that would capture my imagination.

The main theme of the book is as per the title, the Army of Herod the Great. As a result it covers a small subject period covering about 160 years most of which focus’ on the king himself.
As with most Osprey books there is a brief description of Herod’s live and his relationship with the Romans and also a glimpse on the time period slightly before and after the life of Herod. The main focus is on the composition on the army.

As you may of gather I have somewhat fallen for this book. The subject matter is incredibly interesting and covers a fascinating period where the arms, appearance and tactics of a lot of the Hellenistic armies changed from their Macedonian origins to that more of a later republican Roman army. This for a diehard Hellenistic fanatic is incredibly useful and I would recommend anyone with a similar passion to acquire this book.

The author, Samuel Rocca, presents his work in an incredibly readable way, which always get my vote; a book with an interesting subject matter that is written in a laborious fashion always ends being a disappointment. I’m unaware of any other work by Mr Rocca but I hope he continues to write for Osprey (hinting at the Maccabees).

The art work is by Christa Hook, who I usually sometimes have issues with (my own personal taste) but once again I was more than happy with the results. Each plate is illustrated beautifully and clearly demonstrates the evolution of this Hellenistic army as well as the supplementary auxiliary troops that one could expect to find in the army of Herod the Great.
All in all I good read and useful resource for the wargamer/modeller.