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Armed Force in the Teispid-Achaemenid Empire: Past Approaches, Future Prospects. Oriens et Occidens Band 32 (Franz Steiner Verlag: Stuttgart, 2021) 437 pp., 8 b/w ill., 4 b/w tables. ISBN 978-3-515-12775-2 EUR 74,– (softcover) (publisher’s website)

My first book is coming out from Franz Steiner Verlag this month. Its the first book on Achaemenid armies since 1992, and the first written by someone who can read any ancient Near Eastern language. I show that most of what we think we know about Achaemenid armies and warfare goes back to classical writers and to 19th and 20th century stereotypes about the east. So many books sound the same because they are repeating the ideas of early authorities in new language. By focusing on indigenous, contemporary sources and placing the Achaemenids in their Near Eastern context- the standard methods in Roman Army Studies and Achaemenid Studies since the 1980s- we can tell a different story.

It is based on my PhD thesis, but contains:

  • New material on archaeology, cuneiform and biblical sources, and artwork
  • English translations of all long quotes from languages other than English
  • Three maps covering most of the cities and archaeological sites mentioned
  • Two illustrations of period artwork
  • Indices of sources cited, words in ancient languages, and people, places, and technical terms
  • Extensively revised footnotes and bibliography

You can find more information and a 19 page sample on Franz Steiner Verlag’s website for the book.

Financial times are hard for most of us, and these books with a run of a few hundred copies are not as cheap as something from Pen & Sword. If you are interested but can’t afford 74 Euros + shipping and handling, you could request that your public or university library order it (usually they have a requests form) or get a free copy in exchange for reviewing it for a magazine or academic journal (contact their reviews section). And if they can sell out those few hundred copies, there is a chance that someone will be willing to print a few thousand copies for a lower price.