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The Mycenaeans Review by Kris Price

Nicolas Grguric
Osprey Publishing
443 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016
(212) 685-5560

Most studies of ancient history focus on the cultures of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, but there are other cultures of the same time period worthy of an in-depth study--the Sumerians, Babylonians, Phoenicians, and Mycenaeans. However, not many books are written exclusively on these ancient cultures ... until now! The Mycenaeans by Nicolas Grguric is a 64-page paperback that is dense with information about this early Greek society. Homer's Iliad, the well-known story of the Trojan War, has inspired a recent interest in the Mycenaean people, a culture which lasted from 1650-1100 BC.

The book is broken down into four sections--Introduction, The Evolution of the Mycenaean Army, Indentifiable Troop Categories, and Military Organization. The first two sections are very brief. In the Introduction, the author talks about the emergence and dominance of the Mycenaeans over the Minoans. Mr. Grguric also discusses how archaeological artifacts have given us most of our information about this ancient culture. The second section is just a couple of pages detailing the rise of the army. The third section makes up the main portion of the book and discusses the various segments of the army--Heavy Infantry, Skirmishers and Light Infantry, Chariotry, and the Cavalry. Finally, the fourth section goes over battlefield formations and the role of the palace "as the 'general headquarters' of the Mycenaean army" and also details the weapons used in battles.

The Mycenaeans were known for their successful trading networks, but not much has been written about their army. Mr. Grguric has thoroughly researched this topic and establishes the Mycenaeans as a "fierce warrior civilization." There are many black and white photographs, illustrations, and drawings throughout the book. Illustrator Angus McBride adds eight color plates, which detail the different types of soldiers in this ancient army. At the back of the book is a complete description of the action shown in each color plate. I would have liked this information to be placed closer to the plates so that I am not flipping back and forth as I am viewing these pictures.

Because the book is only 64 pages, one might think that it was written for young elementary children. However, the information in it is probably best suited for grades 4 and up. A bibliography in the back lists more resources for the student who wishes to pursue further study of this interesting culture. The book retails for $16.95, which is a little high, but it is discounted about 30% off at several well-known online bookstores. I would be comfortable paying around $11.50 for it because of the quality of the book's content. The Classical or Charlotte Mason homeschooler will love this book! The Mycenaeans may not be inches and inches thick, but it is full of a tremendous amount of detail and will add much to the study of an ancient culture that has otherwise been left out of the history books.

Product review by Kris Price, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2006