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Book Suggestions?

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Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on July 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Can anyone suggest any modern books on the Greek wars covered by Heg Gold? I've tried Donald Kagan's Peloponnesian War and found it to be a bit of a snoozer (no doubt good for reference though). Peter Green's book on Alexander has an opening chapter about Philip that is pretty good, but brief.

How about Caesar? (I know shamefully little about the guy.)


Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful
Posted on July 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Don't really know much about the Greek books, but for Caesar just do a quick search on amazon for "Rome". You'll find everything you could possibly want there. I know you are looking for specifics but I'm not sure I can help there as I mainly go for the historical fiction side of things, especially when paying for it, I want to be entertained.

If anything you are interested in is in kindle format, it will usually let you read the first chapter for free just by clicking it on the store page, that should spare you some disappointment.

(I'm sure you know all this already, just trying to be a little helpful no condescending)

Level 14 Extraplanar Programmer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Toronto
Posted on July 23, 2013 at 5:26 am

Admittedly, the books we tend to use are really quite dry, so I'm not sure if you'll be interested in these.

Although I will say that Kagan's book gets a bit more entertaining when you are sufficiently armed with page flags.

(If I recall, green flags marked interesting maps, blue flags marked important Athenian info, red flags marked important Spartan info, and yellow flags were because I ran out of flags :)

The main resource we used for the Philip campaign was simply titled "Philip of Macedon" by Nicholas Hammond. It is unfortunately out of print. Another one we used was "A History of Macedonia", by Hammond and Griffith. Volume II covers 550-336 BCE, which means it covers the Peloponnesian War and Philip's reign.

The main resource we're using for Caesar is a book simply titled "Caesar" by Adrian Goldsworthy. Some editions have the subtitle "Life of a Colossus". This has a huge amount of detail, but is unfortunately sparse on maps. We also have a copy of "Julius Caesar" by Philip Freeman, which is shorter and definitely a more interesting read. Goldsworthy goes into a lot of detail that wouldn't be particularly interesting unless you're, oh I don't know, making a game about him ;)

One recent book I picked up was Legions of Rome by Stephen Dando-Collins, which is a nice summary of the information we know about each individual legion. Unfortunately there simply aren't very many records offering specific information about the legions during the Gallic Wars, but it's fun to scan through, and I'll definitely get to use it more if we ever do something Roman that's set later in history.

Of course we also have some original sources, like Thucydides' Peloponnesian War and Caesar's Gallic Commentaries. These classics are all available wikisource, so you don't really need to buy them unless having them in book form is useful to you.

From the art side, our artists have a lot of the Osprey books, because these books go out of their way to provide a lot of visuals. These are definitely fun to skim through.

Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on July 23, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Thanks for the replies, Bansh and Rick. I had high hopes for the Kagan book. I've started it several times over the years but just can't get into it due to the rather lifeless writing. Sometimes academics just aren't the best writers, I'm afraid. Maybe I'll try the page flag trick!:) Love the maps, though.

Thanks for the heads up on the Philip books. I also just started one called "Philip II of Macedonia: Greater Than Alexander," by Richard Gabriel. So far, it's been very interesting. Plus it's available on Kindle for $10.

I've got Goldsworthy's Punic Wars in my library and definitely think he's a good writer. I looked up the Freeman book on Caesar and am really looking forward to getting this one on my Kindle too. Thanks for the tip!

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on July 24, 2013 at 4:22 pm

I can also recommend Freeman's Julius Caesar ( I think it was the first book I read when we started Rome and it strikes a good balance between detail and easy reading.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: LA,CA
Posted on July 26, 2013 at 9:03 am

O.o I have the exact same books you guys just talked about wow xD And I've read most of them and they're pretty good books. Got some useful information in'em. I'm sure Legions of Rome has some details about the legions, it gives the history of each one I believe, so the ones that were involved in the Gallic Wars should be there(haven't read it in a while).

Level 14 Extraplanar Programmer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Toronto
Posted on July 27, 2013 at 12:57 am

It has some details, just not as much as I had hoped when I first bought it. It's not the fault of the author, though; most of the history available about the legions comes from later in history.

Level 5 Human gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Posted on December 17, 2013 at 4:26 am

I definetly recommend "Lords of te Sea" and "the Pelloponesian War" both by john R. Hale. They are chock full of info about Ancient Greece and really goes deep with the details BUT is not dry at all believe it or not. I'm 16 years old and I love them so much. Both are full of maps and show diagrams, it's his books that got me into this game actually haha. The one I'm reading now is "Lords of the Sea" which is about Athenian naval history and how it went from a single city state into an empire. It covers everything from the battle of Thermopylae to beyond the Greek invasion of Persia. I truly do recommend his books because they're not dry or boring and really do teach you a lot