by Richard Taylor
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (15 Oct 2020)
The Macedonian pike phalanx dominated the battlefields of Greece and the Near and Middle East for over two centuries. It was one of the most successful infantry formations of the ancient world, only rivalled by the manipular formation of the Roman legions. The phalanx was a key factor in the battlefield success of Alexander the Great and after his death dominated the armies of his Successors (the Diadochoi), who ruled from Greece and Egypt to the borders of India. Richard Taylor gives an overview of the phalanx's development, organization, equipment and training. He analyses the reasons for its success, with an emphasis on case studies of the many battles in which it was used, from Philip II's reign to the Mithridatic Wars. He discusses whether the famous defeats by the Romans necessarily mean it was inherently inferior to the manipular legion tactics, and considers what other factors were in play. The clear, accessible and well-researched text is supported by diagrams and battle maps, making this an outstanding study of this mighty formation.
I've now finished Richard's Phalanx book, and I am impressed; this should be on everybody's bookshelf. Richard goes beyond the technical details of sarissa length, shield style, battle formations - not that there is anything wrong with those subjects, and all are covered; but there is also good stuff on the origins of the phalanx troops and how they relate to Hellenistic military systems as a whole. Highly recommended!
Duncan Head, author of Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars
The Macedonian Phalanx is a thoughtful, engaging account of the ancient pike phalanx. By drawing upon literature, inscriptions, archaeology, and comparative evidence it uses the best available methods in ancient history.
Sean Manning, author of Armed Force in the Teispid-Achaemenid Empire, at Book and Sword
Easily the most comprehensive treatment of the subject to date. His command of all the available source material, both literary and material, is unrivalled
Myke Cole, author of Legion and Phalanx, in Ancient Warfare magazine