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The Elephant in the Greek and Roman World (Aspects of Greek and Roman life) Hardcover – November 1, 1974


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Product Details

  • Series: Aspects of Greek and Roman life
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell Univ Pr (November 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801409314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801409318
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,863,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Red Harvest on February 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This title has long been out of print, but it is well worth hunting down and adding to one's collection. Despite the 1974 publishing date, Scullard's writing style is not outdated, and the level of illustration is sufficient. This book is a model for how an author should go about thoroughly reviewing a specialized component of historical warfare. It presents a complete, cohesive, authoritative, and balanced picture of the subject.

Scullard's interpretations are clearly presented, but he also provides balanced analysis of other possibilities and competing theories. He also does a commendable job of attempting elephant "accounting" in the historical sources, by keeping track of elephant forces changing hands from one ruler/army to others. This lends strength to his interpretations and assumptions.

The elephant in warfare is peculiarly striking since it is both so formidable and unpredictable. Elephants were powerful weapons in their day, at times striking terror into men and horses and thereby securing victory. On other occasions elephants were easily countered and sent amok back into their own forces, resulting in catastrophic disarray for their own army. The mercurial nature of elephant warfare, their declining population in North Africa, expensive upkeep, and improved countermeasures lead to the elephant's demise as a weapon of war. All these aspects are discussed in this fine book.

This work is for those whose imaginations are captured by the battles of Hannibal, Phyrrhus, and Alexander that involved elephants, and those who want a full understanding of elephants as weapons of war. Scullard does a fine job of reviewing elephant usage of the period from Porus vs. Alexander all the way to Sassanid Persia.
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