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Discussions from Ancient Warfare Magazine. Why did early civilisations fight? Who were their Generals? What was life like for the earliest soldiers? Ancient Warfare Magazine will try and answer these questions. Warfare minus two thousand years.
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The Ancient Art of Modern Warfare

Chris Mayer National Security and Strategy Consultant

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Exploring changes in the practice of war while the fundamental nature and principles of war are unchanging. Includes mercenaries, PMSC, Hybrid Warfare, revolution in military affairs. For in-depth information see my blog at blog.ctmayer.net
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War is really very simple, but Clausewitz cautioned that by saying that in war, even the simplest thing is difficult, sometime insurmountable. This idea, which he called “Friction” he maintained was the one thing that made war in theory different from war in practice. The elements that create friction in war also apply to the effort to move from wa…
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If the only acceptable outcome of war is a peace, and the only sustainable peace is a just peace, then it is essential to answer the question, “what is peace?” This is a simple question, but without a simple answer. It has been debated from Plato up until the present day. This lack of definition may be one reason why the transition from war to peac…
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Euchale writes that he has recently watched a video by Farya Faraji on just how inaccurate a lot of modern "interpretations" of ancient music is. One of his pet peeves is the use of Armenian Duduks for anything vaguely Arabic. Euchale poses two questions to Murray, do you have pet peeve that every movie gets wrong about ancient warfare? And, have y…
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The subject of Just War, or Justum Bellum, is a frequent topic in these podcasts. If, however, the only acceptable justification for any war is to establish a more just and lasting peace, shouldn’t there be a similar framework for Just Peace, or Justum Pacem? Just War theory goes back to Plato and Aristotle, but Just Peace thinking is a product of …
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In Chapter 17 of the Prince, Nicolo Machiavelli wrote that a prince ought to desire to be thought of as clement and not cruel. It is more important, he said, to generate a respectful fear which, in then end, is actually more merciful than those who pursue reputations of mercy. Under no circumstances, however, should the prince become hated. This co…
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Just as it takes two parties to agree to fight a war, it takes both parties to agree to peace. Getting both warring parties to agree to peace sometimes requires a third party. This third party provides “good offices” to help both sides agree on what peace should look like. It also helps when each party understands the political objectives of the ot…
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Ending a war begins when one side or the other believes that the cost of continuing to fight exceeds any expectations of success. This could be a simple cost benefit calculation, it could be that continuing to fight after a major defeat is unlikely to bring success, or that the war aims have already been achieved and any further violence is unjusti…
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Thanks to Andy for sending this one in. 'I’m listening to SJA Turney’s Marius' Mules. Over the first three books, he frequently references the medical support for the legions. How developed were the medics? Were their skills another advantage for the Romans ?' Join us on Patron patreon.com/ancientwarfarepodcast…
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My podcasts on The Ancient Art of Modern Warfare presented the elements of war that I think every citizen should know in holding our elected representatives responsible for decisions about going to and prosecuting war. The time has come in this series to move from war to peace. The most important consideration in going to and in prosecuting war is …
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'After two decades of war, Alexander's successors had found a delicate balance. When Ptolemy's wayward son managed to destabilize matters, the Celts grabbed their chance.' The Ancient Warfare team discuss the latest issue of the magazine XVII.2 Invasion of the Celts: Brennus' Campaign into Greece. Join us on Patron patreon.com/ancientwarfarepodcast…
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In this episode of the Ancient Warfare Magazine podcast, Murray and Jasper are joined by Stephen DeCasien to discuss rams on ships. Stephen is a PhD candidate at Texas A&M University studying Nautical Archaeology. His academic interests are Greek and Roman maritime history and archaeology, with a special focus on naval warfare, naval rams, and wars…
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'A question for Murray, who or what made the decisions about where Roman army units were based or moved around the Empire? I am presuming if it were a vexillation from Hadrian's Wall to York, it would be a local commander's decision, but what if it was a cohort sent from York to Gaul, ie between adjacent provinces? Was that worked out by the milita…
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Sara wonders how negotiations between different armies were practically arranged. For example, with Caesar in Gaul, several times he had some type of meetings with different groups. Such as the Helvetii before he had even established himself in Gaul. How was such a meeting arranged before and after a battle? Join us on Patron patreon.com/ancientwar…
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Murray answers this question set in by Tim. 'I'm wondering why historians generally accept that Mons Graupius was indeed a great victory for Agricola. My understanding is that Tacitus' account is the only written evidence we have, and archaeology has turned up little physical evidence of the battle. Is part of the reason that a great victory would …
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“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” So begins L.P. Hartley’s book, The Go-Between. Although the way people do things changes over time, what they do remains largely the same. War and politics are human endeavors, and human nature is unchanging. It should be no surprise, therefore, that the nature of war and politics i…
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Nathan wonders how the Praetorian Guard was structured. Was it used in traditional combat or taken on campaigns? While not directly related to ancient warfare, why did the emperors continually use the Praetorian Guard despite their history of treachery, intrigue, and assassination? Join us on Patron patreon.com/ancientwarfarepodcast…
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“Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.” My purpose in my podcasts of the Ancient Art of Modern Warfare. But who is Sun Tzu, and how is what he said relevant to modern warfare? Music…
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'The time has come to take the fight to the enemy. How do you prepare? Can you rely on your guides, your allies, and your subordinates? Have you secured enough supplies?' The Ancient Warfare Magazine team get together to discuss issue XVII.1 In the Land of the Enemy: The Challenges of Campaigning. Join us on Patron patreon.com/ancientwarfarepodcast…
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Blake asks "Love your podcast, my question is about Ancient Roman Enemies and the most well remembered. My question is why do we talk about say Spartacus, Boudica or Hannibal over say Genseric or Shapur I? Especially since the latter were more successful against Rome than the former, I have a few theories but I wanted to hear your answer." Join us …
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