From the time of Ancient Sumeria, the heavy infantry phalanx dominated the battlefield. Armed with spears or pikes, standing shoulder to shoulder with shields interlocking, the men of the phalanx presented an impenetrable wall of wood and metal to the enemy. Until, that is, the Roman legion emerged to challenge them as masters of infantry battle.
Covering the period in which the legion and phalanx clashed (280-168 BC), Myke Cole delves into their tactics, arms and equipment, organization and deployment. Drawing on original primary sources to examine six battles in which the legion fought the phalanx – Heraclea (280 BC), Asculum (279 BC), Beneventum (275 BC), Cynoscephalae (197 BC), Magnesia (190 BC), and Pydna (168 BC) – he shows how and why the Roman legion, with its flexible organization, versatile tactics and iron discipline, came to eclipse the hitherto untouchable Hellenistic phalanx and dominate the ancient battlefield.
LEGION VS PHALANX has been met with wide acclaim, from historians, academics and general readers alike. Here’s just a small selection of the great reviews…
‘Cole’s writing has the ability to engage readers on a multitude of topics… [His] dramatic writing style had the ability to draw the reader in and want to continue reading… Cole’s blunt manner on academic debate was very refreshing and welcoming… a strength of clarity… the Battle at Magnesia had the action of a major Hollywood movie, second only to Ridley Scott’s Gladiator… engaging. Bold and refreshing… Cole’s book will resonate with strategic and tactical gaming theorist and any reader who has a curiosity of ancient military historical topics… an engrossing book to read and will engage with readers who are new to Hellenistic and Roman unit combat tactics.’ — Small Wars Journal
‘Entertaining, educational, easy to read, eye-opening and (this might sound strange but it’s true) emotional. The most accessible military history book I have ever read… Cole does more than just scratch the surface of the strategy of ancient warfare and the tactics of the time, getting stuck in at the boots-on-the-ground level (or should I say sandals?) and giving an account not just on the nature of war, but that of the warrior… Even those with only a passing intrigue will find this easily accessible as it is immediately arresting… if you want to experience the blood-pounding action of the battlefield then no one is more qualified than someone with the blood of the battlefield running through their veins. You’d struggle to find a better man to stand beside in a shield wall than Myke Cole.’ — Fantasy Hive
‘Coles’s book is the most accessible introduction to ancient warfare that I’ve read… Those needing an easy “in” for ancient history would be advised to get LEGION VERSUS PHALANX.’ — Adventures In Historyland
‘A simply fascinating and informative read that is exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented, LEGION VERSUS PHALANX: THE EPIC STRUGGLE FOR INFANTRY SUPREMACY IN THE ANCIENT WORLD is an extraordinary, unique, and seminal study.’ — Midwest Book Review
‘On the face of it, this could be a turgidly dry chin-stroking look into ancient warfare tactics but, thanks to the brio of author Myke Cole, it’s anything but.’ — The Armourer
‘… this book will appeal to C.’s target audience of war gamers, reenactors, fantasy fans and anyone who would be turned on by the film 300 or even by ancient history, given the exposure.’ — Classics For All
Myke is also the author of the acclaimed Shadow Ops and Reawakening trilogies, both published in the UK by Headline.
Zeno represents Myke Cole in the UK and Commonwealth, on behalf of the JABberwocky Literary Agency in New York.