On Biblical Warfare

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
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Yaitz331
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Sergeant - 7.5 cm FK 16 nA
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On Biblical Warfare

Post by Yaitz331 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:55 pm

This post is going to be a bit long and rambling, so let me get my essential point out of the way first.
I want to put a book here for research when making Swifter then Eagles; "The Military History of Ancient Israel" by Richard A Gabriel. It's not too long, about 300 pages, and if you want to read it, don't bother reading further here; I'm just going to sum up the parts of it that are interesting for purposes of StE, and, as a nonprofessional, I'm probably not going to do it that well.
Alright then, let the rambling begin!

The Bible is usually assumed to be completely useless for purposes of military history, even if true at all. Richard A Gabriel shows that this is entirely false; the Bible is chock full of fascinating examples of military history. Gabriel looks at the Bible with the eye of an experienced soldier, and finds examples everywhere of brilliant tactics, genius strategy, and not-so-brilliant-or-genius strategy and tactics. In the process, he inadvertently gives a new argument for the rough historicity of the Bible; if it was entirely false, it is highly unlikely that the strategy and tactics recorded would make so much sense.
It has three parts. The first chapter has an overview of the geography of Israel and how it impacts the stratego-tactical picture. The second chapter, the most important for purposes of StE, has detailed descriptions of the Canaanite, Philistine, Assyrian, Egyptian, and Israelite armies; how they evolved through time, who served in the army, what was the command structure, and more. The evolving of the Israelite army in particular is explained in more detail in the third and main part of the book, an analysis of the events of the Bible from the Exodus to King Solomon from a military history point of view.
I'm just going to attempt to summarize the evolution of the Israelite army here.
Gabriel's military history begins with the Israelite stay in Egypt. Looking at the precise wording and historical circumstances, Gabriel develops a picture not of a people thrown into slavery, but of a mercenary group falling out of favor and being pressed into corvee labor. After leaving Egypt, this group is organized, with an army of between five and five-and-a-half thousand emerging. This military includes many aspects that are revolutionary for the time; psychiatric troop screening, and, most fascinatingly, a level of hygiene that was not practiced for millennia afterwards, including the separation of toilet water from drinking water, which was not practiced as recently as the American Civil War. The army is divided into tribal contingents, each with a different specialty, with a marching order highly influenced by Egypt. By the time the army reaches the Jordan Valley and prepares to cross into Israel under Joshua, the army had risen to approximately 8,000 men. The army is well-equipped with both Egyptian weaponry and has contingents of nomadic peoples who were experts in bronze-casting attached to it. The army was organized the same way as the sojourn in the Sinai desert. So far, this would be one army list in FoG2; "Israelites (Exodus) - 1275-1200 BCE".
Once Joshua died, the military began rapidly deteriorating. The army became poorly equipped, significantly smaller, and, worst of all, divided. The tribes lost cohesion and became separate entities, barely capable of coalescing to form a defensive whole. The Bronze Age Collapse, hitting from 1200-1150 BCE, didn't help either, and the situation of the Israelites practically collapsed. The period of the Judges saw much smaller, much less well-equipped armies under the eponymous judges, leaders who would arise, briefly help in some local or regional difficulty, and then vanish. The Israelites barely held on to independence thanks to the capabilities of these judges. This period would be a second list; "Israelites (Judges) - 1200-1050 BCE". This period ended with the crushing defeat at Aphek-Ebenezer, where the Philistines destroyed more than half of an Israelite army and established control over practically all of Israel. In around 1030-1035 BCE, Saul came to power, fought a series of wars against neighbouring nations, and then fought the Philistines in a series of wars from 1010-1006 BCE. Saul revitalized the Israelite military, establishing a levy force of 25,000-30,000 men, a professional corps of 3,000, and mercenaries. This would be "Israelites (Saul) - 1030-1006 BCE".
In 1006 BCE, Saul died in battle at Mount Gilboa, and David took control. David massively reorganized the military, vastly expanding on the professional corps. David's army had 18,000 conscripts, and large numbers of professional soldiers and mercenaries. David also revived the practice of tribal specialties in the army. Under David, the Philistines were finally driven from the central ridge once and for all, the whole of Transjordan was conquered, and the subjugation of Aram created a massive empire extending from the border of Egypt north to the Euphrates. In 961 BCE, David died, and his son Solomon took over. This period would be another army list; "Israelites (David) - 1006-961 BCE".
Solomon finished the transformation of the Israelite army into an army typical of other armies of the day, including a large charioteer corps, the end of an army divided between levy and mercenary/professional, the erection of a massive system of fortifications, and more. However, the army's success hid the flaw of the kingdom; it's internal weakness. With Solomon's death and the rise of his son Rehoboam to power, the kingdom split, with the rise of a separate northern kingdom under Jeroboam in the north. The period from David's death to the split of the monarchy would be "Israelite (Solomon) - 961-918 BCE". In 918 BCE, the combination of revolt in the north and an Egyptian invasion in the south spelled the end of the Israelite Empire, which had lasted for less then a hundred years. From now on, there were two kingdoms; the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. from this point on, there would never again be a united monarchy, and the split between Judah and Israel became permanent.
So, that's my brief summary of Gabriel's tracing of the evolution of the Israelite military from the exodus to the end of the United Monarchy. Again, it's probably not such a good summary, so read the book for yourself.

Now, you may argue: but the Bible has never been shown to be real, so how can we rely on it for information? Well, if we don't use the Bible, there's really nothing to use on the early Israelite armies, so we should use it as we use other unreliable information; it's generally true, although should not be taken wholesale. I think Gabriel does that well, taking the general story to be true with significant modifications. So, in my opinion at least, this book is an excellent source on a rarely looked at part of military history, which I believe should be used in Field of Glory 2.

Can't wait for Swifter then Eagles!

NikiforosFokas
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Re: On Biblical Warfare

Post by NikiforosFokas » Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:55 pm

once more thanks for the book :)
For Byzantium!!

Barrold713
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Re: On Biblical Warfare

Post by Barrold713 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:19 am

Yaitz331 wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:55 pm
This post is going to be a bit long and rambling, so let me get my essential point out of the way first.
I want to put a book here for research when making Swifter then Eagles; "The Military History of Ancient Israel" by Richard A Gabriel. It's not too long, about 300 pages, and if you want to read it, don't bother reading further here; I'm just going to sum up the parts of it that are interesting for purposes of StE, and, as a nonprofessional, I'm probably not going to do it that well.
Alright then, let the rambling begin!

The Bible is usually assumed to be completely useless for purposes of military history, even if true at all. Richard A Gabriel shows that this is entirely false; the Bible is chock full of fascinating examples of military history. Gabriel looks at the Bible with the eye of an experienced soldier, and finds examples everywhere of brilliant tactics, genius strategy, and not-so-brilliant-or-genius strategy and tactics. In the process, he inadvertently gives a new argument for the rough historicity of the Bible; if it was entirely false, it is highly unlikely that the strategy and tactics recorded would make so much sense.
It has three parts. The first chapter has an overview of the geography of Israel and how it impacts the stratego-tactical picture. The second chapter, the most important for purposes of StE, has detailed descriptions of the Canaanite, Philistine, Assyrian, Egyptian, and Israelite armies; how they evolved through time, who served in the army, what was the command structure, and more. The evolving of the Israelite army in particular is explained in more detail in the third and main part of the book, an analysis of the events of the Bible from the Exodus to King Solomon from a military history point of view.
I'm just going to attempt to summarize the evolution of the Israelite army here.
Gabriel's military history begins with the Israelite stay in Egypt. Looking at the precise wording and historical circumstances, Gabriel develops a picture not of a people thrown into slavery, but of a mercenary group falling out of favor and being pressed into corvee labor. After leaving Egypt, this group is organized, with an army of between five and five-and-a-half thousand emerging. This military includes many aspects that are revolutionary for the time; psychiatric troop screening, and, most fascinatingly, a level of hygiene that was not practiced for millennia afterwards, including the separation of toilet water from drinking water, which was not practiced as recently as the American Civil War. The army is divided into tribal contingents, each with a different specialty, with a marching order highly influenced by Egypt. By the time the army reaches the Jordan Valley and prepares to cross into Israel under Joshua, the army had risen to approximately 8,000 men. The army is well-equipped with both Egyptian weaponry and has contingents of nomadic peoples who were experts in bronze-casting attached to it. The army was organized the same way as the sojourn in the Sinai desert. So far, this would be one army list in FoG2; "Israelites (Exodus) - 1275-1200 BCE".
Once Joshua died, the military began rapidly deteriorating. The army became poorly equipped, significantly smaller, and, worst of all, divided. The tribes lost cohesion and became separate entities, barely capable of coalescing to form a defensive whole. The Bronze Age Collapse, hitting from 1200-1150 BCE, didn't help either, and the situation of the Israelites practically collapsed. The period of the Judges saw much smaller, much less well-equipped armies under the eponymous judges, leaders who would arise, briefly help in some local or regional difficulty, and then vanish. The Israelites barely held on to independence thanks to the capabilities of these judges. This period would be a second list; "Israelites (Judges) - 1200-1050 BCE". This period ended with the crushing defeat at Aphek-Ebenezer, where the Philistines destroyed more than half of an Israelite army and established control over practically all of Israel. In around 1030-1035 BCE, Saul came to power, fought a series of wars against neighbouring nations, and then fought the Philistines in a series of wars from 1010-1006 BCE. Saul revitalized the Israelite military, establishing a levy force of 25,000-30,000 men, a professional corps of 3,000, and mercenaries. This would be "Israelites (Saul) - 1030-1006 BCE".
In 1006 BCE, Saul died in battle at Mount Gilboa, and David took control. David massively reorganized the military, vastly expanding on the professional corps. David's army had 18,000 conscripts, and large numbers of professional soldiers and mercenaries. David also revived the practice of tribal specialties in the army. Under David, the Philistines were finally driven from the central ridge once and for all, the whole of Transjordan was conquered, and the subjugation of Aram created a massive empire extending from the border of Egypt north to the Euphrates. In 961 BCE, David died, and his son Solomon took over. This period would be another army list; "Israelites (David) - 1006-961 BCE".
Solomon finished the transformation of the Israelite army into an army typical of other armies of the day, including a large charioteer corps, the end of an army divided between levy and mercenary/professional, the erection of a massive system of fortifications, and more. However, the army's success hid the flaw of the kingdom; it's internal weakness. With Solomon's death and the rise of his son Rehoboam to power, the kingdom split, with the rise of a separate northern kingdom under Jeroboam in the north. The period from David's death to the split of the monarchy would be "Israelite (Solomon) - 961-918 BCE". In 918 BCE, the combination of revolt in the north and an Egyptian invasion in the south spelled the end of the Israelite Empire, which had lasted for less then a hundred years. From now on, there were two kingdoms; the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. from this point on, there would never again be a united monarchy, and the split between Judah and Israel became permanent.
So, that's my brief summary of Gabriel's tracing of the evolution of the Israelite military from the exodus to the end of the United Monarchy. Again, it's probably not such a good summary, so read the book for yourself.

Now, you may argue: but the Bible has never been shown to be real, so how can we rely on it for information? Well, if we don't use the Bible, there's really nothing to use on the early Israelite armies, so we should use it as we use other unreliable information; it's generally true, although should not be taken wholesale. I think Gabriel does that well, taking the general story to be true with significant modifications. So, in my opinion at least, this book is an excellent source on a rarely looked at part of military history, which I believe should be used in Field of Glory 2.

Can't wait for Swifter then Eagles!
They should be big on recon...

Seek and Ye Shall Find

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