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The Army of Herod the Great (Men-at-Arms) Paperback – November 24, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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“The Army of Herod the Great...draws upon ancient texts and the latest in Israeli archaeological reports and findings to piece together the strength, arms and armor, organization, and tactics of this ancient field army... The Herodian army was a complex amalgam of Hellenistic and Roman influences, and is relatively obscure even among academics, making this study a particularly challenging one to undertake. Thankfully, author Samuel Rocca is more than up to the task. A teacher and curator at the Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem, Rocca studied and completed his MA at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem before researching his PhD on Herodian Judea at Bar-Ilan University. In other words, he has the credentials to pull of this project. One of the most impressive touches is the manner in which Rocca routinely explains the manner in which he arrived at his conclusions, such as the size of any given military unit or campaigning army. Finally, it should be noted that the book is richly illustrated with photos of relevant artifacts and original full-color artwork reconstruction by Christia Hook.” ―Andrew Hind, Strategy and Tactics (December 2009)

“Osprey's 'Men-at-Arms' series offers a narrowed focus on equipment and uniforms throughout history and military collections will appreciate some new additions. Samuel Rocca's The Army of Herod the Great surveys the military skills of one of Rome's most important client kings.” ―The Bookwatch (January 2010)

About the Author

Samuel Rocca was born in Milan, Italy but now lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three sons. He served with the Israeli Defense Forces, and has worked as a teacher and a curator at the Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem. Having studied biblical and classical archaeology at undergraduate level at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he went on to complete his MA there, before researching his PhD on Herodian Judaea at Bar-Ilan University. Samuel has given papers at numerous international conventions, and written articles for several academic journals. This is his first book for Osprey Publishing. The author lives in Jerusalem, Israel.
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Product Details

  • Series: Men-at-Arms (Book 443)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (November 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846032067
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846032066
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,143,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very detailed but also concise and well told book by Mr. Rocca.
This month, after some five months of being open for visitors, the Herod the Great exhibition in the Israel Museum of Jerusalem, has been closed.
It displayed vividly this very contoversial king of the Jews,appointed by the Romans.
Some see him as a ruthless killer - of family members and others as well - and others see him as one of the greates builders in Judea - Jerusalem, Jericho, Herodion (his tomb and mausoleum) Caesarea (port and city) etc.
This book enlarged the view - at least mine - on a very non-conventional king.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While Herod the Great is mostly remembered as the King in the Holy Bible to try to kill the infant Jesus, leading to mass slaughter of male infants, there was much more to him than this. This book covers the wars of his reign with the Egyptians and Arabs. A good read.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very good Men-at-Arms title, in part because of the subject chosen and also because it is covered in an interesting and engaging way.

By choosing to concentrate on the little known army of Herod the Great, Samuel Rocca fills a gap. To my knowledge at least, this is the only volume in this collection that presents the army of one of Rome's client states in the East in the time of Mark Antony and Augustus. This means that this book is to some extent a companion to both Philippi and Actium in the campaign series, since some of the soldiers shown in the plates might have been somewhat similar. It is also valuable because it shows what was essentially a "blended" army: one were Hellenistic and Roman influences were mixed, with the former dominating in the cavalry and light infantry and the latter being more prevalent for the heavy infantry.

Then there is the topic itself. Like many other readers, I suspect, I did not know very much about the army of Herod, its organization or its achievements before reading this book. What makes it into one of the very best in the series is that it manages, despite the usual size limit (48 pages for Men-at-Arms) to present the various troop types and their equipment, the army's organization, a historical background AND the main campaigns in which this army was involved. Given its size, this does imply that you get only an introduction, a glimpse, and you may be left craving for me by the end of the book. However, it is one of the only volumes in the collection to achieve something that even more recent titles - such as the one on the Macedonian armies after Alexander - seem unable to deliver: to present you with a full introduction and not mainly with a discussion on bits and pieces of equipment.
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