Ancient Warfare magazine is published by Karwansaray Publishers. Located in the Netherlands, they concnetrate on providing a historical focus with "special emphasis... placed on quality production, original artwork, and current but accessible scholarship" (Source). Along with Ancient Warfare, they also publish a few other accessible history magazines: Ancient History, Medieval Warfare, and Wargames, Soldiers, and Strategy. This review, though, will focus on the merits and pitfalls of Ancient Warfare.
Each issue begins with a historical introduction in order to provide broad brush strokes of the historical period or event under analysis. Volume IX, Issue 1, for example, explores warfare elements during the fall of Rome in 476 CE. The first article covers the major characters, battles, and events during the brief period. Following, multiple articles cover specific battles and characters present during this period. This structure basically helps the reader to first understand the event or time period through the "big picture" and then the smaller, more nuanced elements are explored. Beneficial to the reader, it allows for a better comprehension of the events and period without overwhelming information.
After the articles on the warfare history in the time period of the magazine's theme, the magazine contains a section for film and book reviews. The film portion briefly explores the reception of themes related to the magazine focus. Volume IX, Issue 2, which focuses on the ascendancy of Thebes, discusses the presentation of Roman military garb in the 1945 film Caesar and Cleopatra. After the film portion, there are two to four book reviews relevant to ancient warfare. These portions, the film and book reviews, provide two important things for the reader. First, they explore the good and bad of how people perceive certain ancient warfare topics through the lens of film. In doing so, ancient history is shown to be more relevant than generally realized. Second, the book reviews point people towards directions for further reading and research about ancient history and warfare.
All in all, the Ancient Warfare is easy to read and simple to understand, although it is sometimes challenging. One major pitfall of the magazine is the lack of clarity with regard to geography. Seeing that the magazine is oriented towards non-professionals, a single, detailed map for each issue would be beneficial. For example, Volume VIII, Issue 6, which focuses on the Roman conquest of Greece, may be more beneficial and informative to the reader with the inclusion of a single large map marking out the significant locations within the magazines. Although there is a map focused on Greece, the magazine would be improved with a larger map that included the entire Mediterranean region with all cities mentioned in articles marked on the map.
In reality, though, this is a minor impediment to the value and accessibility of the magazine. Written by knowledgeable contributors, professors, and PhD candidates, the magazine contains relevant and up-to-date information about ancient warfare. And unlike many other historical journals, Ancient Warfare is both accessible and inexpensive. The illustrations demonstrate a true desire to help readers enter the world of ancient warfare and expertly demonstrate the rawness of war throughout ancient history. Furthermore, the depths in which the articles delve, whilst still being accessible to the average reader, are demonstrative of the goal of Karwansaray Publishers, giving legitimacy to their objective of providing sound, historical analysis that is also accessible.
I highly recommend the Ancient Warfare magazine to any people interested in ancient history. Even in my short time reading through three issues of the magazine, I learned a great deal of information that has shaped and will continue to shape my working knowledge of ancient history.