Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Too bad the Persians never thought of that

Mary Beard is surely right to argue that Alexander the Great has been heavily romanticized even (or especially) by professional classicists, but her debunking of him and of Philip II begins to seem a tad overboard when she writes this:
Like most historians, Worthington stands in awe of Philip’s invention of the sarissa, his devastating new piece of military hardware; but it was only an extra-long spear, so it is hard to see why Philip’s enemies didn’t just copy it.
Sure, just turn out a few hundred extra-long spears, and voila! military genius! This despite the well-known fact that phalanx tactics required quite a bit of drill and practice. Beard probably also thinks that the French were silly to lose the Hundred Years War, when all they needed was to make some longbows.

No comments:

Post a Comment