This week’s blog post is on Ancient World Magazine: a review of Guy Halsall’s “Warfare and Society in the Barbarian West 450-900” (Routledge, 2003).
Halsall is a thoughtful scholar, and when I read his book I was struck that in looking at the end of the ancient world, he faces many of the challenges that we face trying to understand warfare in the earlier parts of ancient history. And thanks to my studies in Victoria, I have some idea of how his book is positioned in some debates, even though my own opinions on those debates are not worth sharing. When academic debates have settled down to two camps sitting down and declaring they have won and the other side should come over and surrender, it can help to look at how people one or two sub-fields over work through similar questions. And its an interesting, affordable book without too much self-indulgence. If you are interested in martial arts or arms and armour, this book’s ideas about how early medieval weapons were used are in line with the ideas of people like Roland Warzecha.