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"Recommended reading Punic Wars / Battle of Magnesia " Topic

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AlexMacP Inactive Member07 Feb 2017 10:08 p.m. PST

I'm looking to learn more about ancient history. I would like to know what would be some great books on Rome vs Carthage and Rome vs the Seleucid Empire. I would like something that with a military/ wargaming focus.

timurilank07 Feb 2017 11:48 p.m. PST

The Seleucid Army by B. Bar-Kochva.

The classics and available as e-books.

The Histories by Polybios.
The Spanish Wars by Appian.
The History of Rome by Livy.

I am sure others will add more suggestions.

Plasticviking308 Feb 2017 3:03 a.m. PST

Not specific to Magnesia but in conjunction with ancient authors suggested by timur (maybe he meant Appain's SYRIAN wars) give you all you need to go a long way in ancient gaming for under 30 dollars.



Samarkand to Sardis by Sherwin-White and Kurht is great for Seleucid kingdom but now pricey. Get it from the library.

Sobieski Inactive Member08 Feb 2017 4:14 a.m. PST

Plutarch touches on a few of the people involved.

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP08 Feb 2017 4:43 a.m. PST

'Hannibals War' by Lazenby and
'Cannae' by Adrian Goldsworthy

williamb08 Feb 2017 5:47 a.m. PST

"Lost Battles" by Phil Sabin covers most of the battles for the period you are interested in along with earlier and later ones. Each chapter on a battle also includes references to the ancient authors who wrote about the battles citing the specific section of their texts.

EvilBen Supporting Member of TMP08 Feb 2017 8:10 a.m. PST

Goldsworthy's The Punic Wars is an excellent introduction. I think it was also published as The Fall of Carthage.

Marcus Brutus08 Feb 2017 8:14 a.m. PST

I would second Lost Battles. I've always wanted to pick up Grainger's "The Roman War of Antiochos the Great" but it is just too pricey. Bar-Kochva's book is great value. For Zama any of the main books on the 2nd Punic War will have a big section on Zama. Also, "Hannibal's Last Battle: Zama and the Fall of Carthage" is worth picking up although the author spends half the book talking about the preceding campaigns and is rather less detailed about the battle than I would like. Liddell-Hart's " Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon" has a large section on Zama (of course!)

Hasdrubal the Splendid Inactive Member08 Feb 2017 10:50 a.m. PST

Livy the war with Hanibal

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP08 Feb 2017 12:05 p.m. PST

What I've read of Grainger's Antiochus book looked good.

An easy way to get the relevant bits of loads of ancient authors is on Attalus e.g. for Magnesia.

For troops, tactics and sundry other military matters, Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars is still extremely valuable, especially with the new introduction covering some of the more recent research.

ToneTW08 Feb 2017 3:40 p.m. PST

Cannae: The Experience of Battle in the Second Punic War – G. Daly, is a good read.

ether drake Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2017 7:38 a.m. PST

For Punic Wars, I support the recommendations for Polybius, Livy, Lazenby and Goldsworthy. Of most direct use for a wargamer would be Duncan Head's Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars (covers the Seleucids, too).

Scenarios in Lost Battles (but bear in mind how his system variably translates troop numbers into equivalent units), and Commands & Colors : Ancients can help shortcut a lot of research. The latter can all be browsed at

The background and scenario info in Allen Curtis' WAB supplement Hannibal and the Punic Wars is excellent, too.

The Atlas of Ancient Battlefields by J. Kromayer & G. Veith has some lovely maps done by ex-military cartographers. link

Bar-Kochva is probably the best study on the Seleucids.

gpruitt09 Feb 2017 8:19 a.m. PST

Polybius and Livy are of course the classic sources. However, both can be a bit dry and dusty. I found some of the wargaming related books to be similarly dry and dusty – good if you have insomnia and need to fall asleep in a hurry.

If you want a good book as far as readability goes I would second the recommendation for Liddell-Hart's "Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon". Since this is a biography of Scipio it primarily covers his youth, campaign's in Spain, and then Zama. To cover Hannibal's campaigns in Italy I actually prefer "Hannibal: Enemy Of Rome" by Leonard Cottrell. It is a fun book to read on the subject. The author tells the story as he takes a driving vacation from Spain to Italy, reliving the campaign along the way. Both of these are entertaining works.

Nikator Inactive Member09 Feb 2017 9:33 a.m. PST

I second Swampster's vote for John D Grainger's book on Antiochus the Great, which has a long detailed account of Magnesia. Grainger is excellent on Hellenistic history, and his trilogy on the Seleukids (the Antiochus III book is the middle one) is well worth the read.

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2017 10:43 a.m. PST

TMP link

Hannibal's War for sale at Joe's Shop on TMP Marketplace

Hasdrubal the Splendid Inactive Member13 Feb 2017 1:34 p.m. PST

Gpruiit I am rereading Livy at the moment and I have to disagree with your assessment he is dry.

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