Philo Mechanicus: "On Sieges"

Translated with Introduction and Commentary

Philo Mechanicus: "On Sieges"

Translated with Introduction and Commentary

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Towards the end of the second century BCE Philo of Byzantium, a.k.a. Philo Mechanicus, wrote what is held to be the first Engineering Compendium, in eight or nine parts. Three concern warfare, viewed theoretically: a technical treatise on catapult-design (Belopoiika), and two associated ones which survive only in (lengthy) epitome. United here under the title On Sieges, Paraskeuastika and Poliorketika address broader aspects of siege-warfare. First and primarily, withstanding a siege is the objective: cities must design and build towers, walls and gates in the most suitable way, stockpile and manage food and other strategic commodities, and resist a direct assault by men and machines. Then more briefly the perspective is reversed, with those who wish to conduct such an attack shown how to do so successfully.

This is the work’s first-ever complete translation into English, preceded by an Introduction on the writer and his work. The  Commentary – the first since Garlan's in 1972 – aims to elucidate the multifarious matters arising: issues of text, translation, vocabulary, idiom; themes in the poliorcetic genre; archaeological and other substantive contexts.

"W[hitehead].s kommentierte Ausgabe ist methodisch und fachlich hervorragend gelungen und ermöglicht sowohl dem Kenner antiker Poliorketik als auch dem aus anderen Gründen an dem Werk oder einzelnen Stellen daraus Interessierten ein klareres Verständnis des Werkes, so dass damit die Grundlagen für eine intensivere wissenschaftliche Auseinandersetzung mit Philos Behandlung der Fragen zur Poliorketik gelegt sind."

Magnus Frisch, Gymnasium 126, 2019/4

"[Whitehead is] providing a very significant contribution to scholarship and a service to the public understanding of the ancient world."

Serafina Cuomo, Journal of Hellenic Studies 139, 2019

"While his book does not claim to have uttered the last word on Philo's work, it becomes the starting point of all future discussions."

Philip Rance, Gnomon 90, 2018/8

"This edition presents a translation of the full text in English for the first time and allows it to be read in close to its full context..."

Aimee Schofield, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2017.08.46

"...a book that fully deserves to be included in the library of anyone interested  in the military history of the ancient world."

Jan P. Stronk, CJ-Online, 2017.11.02
Reihe Historia – Einzelschriften
Band 243
ISBN 978-3-515-11343-4
Medientyp Buch - Gebunden
Auflage 1.
Copyrightjahr 2016
Verlag Franz Steiner Verlag
Umfang 510 Seiten
Format 17,0 x 24,0 cm
Sprache Englisch