Saturday 28 January 2017

Fake Books at Osprey

Browsing Osprey's January sale . Populated by the usual old or odd titles, my eye fell on the poll for new titles.
Yes, that's right. They are asking if you want a book that compares and contrasts Athenian and Spartan triremes. Great!, think all the galley-fans. Yes, we want more of that !

But wait for a moment, Can anyone write this book and with a straight face and say it is a book comparing and contrasting Athenian and Spartan triremes ?

1) There are just two depictions of galleys from a Spartan context that I know of. OK I have not seen everything but I do trawl all ancient maritime sources extensively and regularly. One is a tiny incomplete drawing on a comb from the seventh centuery, before triremes, and the other is the Orthaia plaque also from the seventh century.

2) Nowhere have we accounts of the Spartan navy - if that is such we should call it, rather than the Peloponnesian navy. Thus we have nowhere an account of the form or operation of a Spartan trireme. Thucydides, the Athenian, is the primary source for the war and for information on triremes.

In short, I fail to see how one could honestly produce a book which describes somethiong called a 'Spartan trireme'. The fact that it seems that Osprey are going to do do just that signifies there is no editorial control of their material. No reality control, even. Has someone put in a book proposal for this title or is it one to be cobbled together from existing titles ? - a now standard Osprey marketing tactic.

Admittedly Osprey do publish total fantasy like Orc Warfare and game rules now, perhaps these areas are bleeding into the non-fiction areas?

 This title has a blurb in the present tense, with no trace of irony...
To defeat your enemy, you must understand him. This volume offers an indispensable analysis of the most vicious killers of all - orcs. Born and bred for war, they are an awful, brutish, violent species and, despite their constant infighting and backstabbing, their horde armies remain a dire threat to all races. To them, war is life. Beginning with an examination of the fighting methods of the individual orc warrior, the book expands to look at how they do battle in their small warbands and in vast armies. Using vivid, illuminating illustrations, it reveals the tactics, technology and disposition of all the orc troop types, from lightly armed archers and heavily armored shock troops to their wolf cavalry and siege engines, uncovering startling regional variations and highly specialized fighters such as beserkers and battle shamans. Finally, it will explore specific key battles that orcs have fought in to develop the fullest possible understanding of these loathsome, terrifying creatures and the ways in which they go to war.
To write a book about a 'Spartan Trireme' would be to write a fantasy book. It could only end as a book using principally Athenian sources to hypothesise about their opposition. 'We may suggest that the Spartan triremes painted their sterns bright red' , that kind of thing.
If you are going to vote for this book be well aware you are asking for something that does not exist. Something that cannot exist. You will get a fake product.

Wednesday 25 January 2017

The Disease is Spreading !

A nice blog post at 'Into the Mælstrom' on card galleys ! Keep up the good work Francesc!
Click to visit

Go know you want to... try it out. As Sir Thomas Beecham said ' All things are worth trying once except  incest and folk dancing'. You don't even need a sense of rhythm to cut out and paste card ships together!
Hmm.. Beecham's Rule has been broken

Tuesday 24 January 2017


 Still mourning the tetrapylon and theatre of Palmyra. Here is a little antidote.

A nice short produced by the Danish School at Athens and posted by Haaretz of all people. But Israel, of course, have the Athlit ram and lots of ancient nautical stuff along their coast. They look after our heritage.

Just time to drink a cup of coffee and have a couple of biccies. Assuming you get them ready before pressing 'PLAY'.