Wargaming is older than you might think. If you have ever played chess, you’ve played an ancient and highly abstract wargame. Other, more recently-produced wargames are more attentive to the specifics of the battlefield, and just about every period from ancient to modern has been turned into a game of one kind or another. The question arises: How much of a “game” is a wargame supposed to be, and how much instead is it to be a simulation of actual events? That was one of the many questions that the gentlemen-scholars of the Ancient Warfare Magazine podcast and I tackled in the latest episode. Give it a listen and see if you agree with our conclusions!
The gentlemen-scholars of the Ancient Warfare Magazine podcast and I have recorded another episode, this time on the animals that ancient warriors rode into battle: the horse, the camel, and the elephant. Mounts are often overlooked, but were crucial to warfare in antiquity. Give Riding into Battle a listen and get the full story!
England and Scotland have a long history together, and it includes a number of wars stretching back to the Middle Ages. Among the most famous Anglo-Scottish battles is that of Pinkie Cleugh. Fought on September 10, 1547, it was a resounding victory for the English. Scottish losses were so heavy that it came to be known as “Black Saturday” among them. Want to read the whole story? Give my article, “Black Saturday” a look in the December issue of Military History Monthly, out now in the U.K. It will be a couple more weeks or so before it hits the shelves in North America. I hope you enjoy it!
Two of my earlier articles have been judged worthy to find their way into All About History’s Annual bookazine! The first is ‘Roman Mystery Cults’, a look at several religious cults of the ancient world that are not as well known as those dedicated to the more familiar Olympian deities. The second is ‘Hannibal Barca: Enemy of Rome.’ Yes, it really is about Hannibal of Carthage, and right again, he also did not like ancient Rome, not even a little. Look for the Annual on the magazine rack of your local bookstore if you’re in there soon.
Big news! I’ve just had a short story, “Yesterday’s Battlefield,” appear in the science fiction anthology Dimensional Gates! Published by ZMOK Books, Dimensional Gates is set in the same universe as the miniatures battle game Beyond the Gates of Antares, the latest masterpiece from the legendary designer, Rick Priestley, who is also the creator of the famed Warhammer 40,000.
Here is the background of Antares: In the far future, six ages have come and gone, and in the current, Seventh Age, humanity has built an ultra-high-tech galactic civilization tenuously linked by transdimensional gates clustered around the red giant star Antares. Antares, however, is actually not a star, but is rather a massive alien machine that allows faster-than-light travel through space. Intrepid explorers, merchants, and military men go through these star gates seeking riches and lost technology. The result of their efforts is anything but peaceful, and Beyond the Gates of Antares is all about their conflicts. “Yesterday’s Battlefield” is about one such explorer who transits a gate to an unknown star and bites off more than he can chew.
Thank you to ZMOK Books for publishing my story, and thank you also to Rick Priestley for conjuring up such an extraordinary universe in which to set it.
I have added again to the non-bellicose corpus of my written work! In plain English, my latest material isn’t about war. So yes, there is a Softer Side of Marc! Check it out in All About History’s latest bookazine, Book of Ancient Greece. What is a bookazine you ask? Wait, you didn’t ask? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. Imagine a very beefy magazine with a square binding. Bookazines are softcover special issues, so they go into greater depth on a particular subject than would otherwise be the case in a regular, slenderer, monthly issue. My own contributions in this particular publication are in realm of Ancient Greek mythology and religion, and include: The Greeks and their Religion; The Gods Themselves; and The Twelve Olympians. If you find yourself in a bookstore soon, please give it a look. It will be on the magazine rack.
The gentlemen-scholars of the Ancient Warfare podcast and I have done it again. Another splendid episode recorded and now ready for download! This month’s offering covers the early years of Julius Caesar’s civil war with the Roman Senate. The struggle featured Caesar’s dramatic battles against his former BFF and fellow triumvir, Pompey the Great. Please give it a listen, and let others whom you think would be interested in the subject know about the podcast.