Gabriele Esposito, The Macedonian Army of Philip II and Alexander the Great, 359-323BC (Pen & Sword, 2022)
This ambitious book undertakes to describe the development of the Macedonian army and its organization and equipment, through the reigns of Philip II and his son Alexander the Great.
Esposito begins with a survey of Macedonia and its warlike neighbours who retarded its progress. Then along came Philip II in 359, just 23 years old but keen to establish Macedonia as a power. To do that, he needed to reform his military, which he managed through studying Greek reforms and introducing his own elements. Philip succeeded but was assassinated before he could appreciate the fruits of his efforts. That brought his son Alexander to centre stage. Esposito narrates the familiar story of Alexander’s ascendancy before describing his army that carried him into Persia and beyond and established his greatness. Esposito also describes the armies Alexander faced on his journey. He concludes with a study of Macedonian weapons and equipment.
As an introduction to the military history of the great era of Macedonia, this book works well enough. The text is functional, based on a thin bibliography constructed of Osprey books, Ancient Warfare magazine articles, and a selection of primary sources, though none are referenced within the text. What makes Esposito’s growing list of books on uniforms and equipment different is his use of photographs of reenactors rather than artwork to illustrate his text. I don’t think this quite works because it looks like they are wearing costumes – too clean, too ‘modern’ – rather than men in battle, but the reproduction weapons look more authentic. Wargamers and beginner students will find this book a useful starting point.