Salamis 480 BC – The naval campaign that saved Greece

image I’d just left for a trip overseas when my partner mentioned that there was a parcel for me at the post office. She collected and told me it was a book. I knew then it was the Osprey Publishing Campaign number 222. I’d received an email from the author, William Shepherd, promising me a copy to have a look at.

I am glad this volume arrived. This book has been written in the Osprey Campaign series format attempting to cover the topic in 96 pages. The book contains a mix of historical background and modern interpretation coupled with photographs of contemporary artefacts, artistic interpretation and modern photographs of the battlefield, in this case the straits at Salamis.

I will freely admit that I am both an ancient tragic and a naval tragic so there are few better things for me to look at than a book about a topic like Salamis (maybe the Battle of Cape Ecnomus)?

The book itself contains chapters on:

  1. Origins of the Campaign
  2. Chronology
  3. Opposing Commanders
  4. Opposing Forces
  5. Opposing Plans
  6. The Campaign to Salamis
  7. ‘Salamis Divine’
  8. After the Battle
  9. The Battlefield Today

This is also a useful Bibliography included at the end referring the reader to a number of other works for further study along with an index.

Much of the analysis of the performance of triremes (trieres) at Salamis is based on various analyses of the Hellenic Navy’s Olympias, a trireme constructed in modern times based on information provided in the sources. Shepherd makes good use of this analysis as well as a number of photographs of the Olympias underway and in dock.

As you read this work it is clear that Shepherd has a strong interest in both ancient Greece and in naval matters, especially in reference to the oared fighting vessels of antiquity.

Along with clear readable text, there are some interesting illustrations painted by Peter Dennis which give a clue to how ancient naval battles must have looked. The battle maps in this book also give a clear indication of how the Greek dispositions severely hampered the Persians, effectively negating the quantitative advantage Xerxes enjoyed.

I can thoroughly recommend this book, especially to wargamers interested in ancient naval battles as well as those with an interest in ancient Greece. The book itself provides an excellent description of the battle and Dennis’s illustrations have me looking at my 1/1200th triremes and considering how to add flags to the stern of these vessels.

The book is available from Osprey Publishing, Amazon, Book Depository and other outlets. The recommended retail price is £14.99 and the book details are:

Campaign 222
Author: William Shepherd
Illustrator: Peter Dennis
Paperback published in June 2010; 96 pages;
ISBN: 9781846036842

I, for one, am looking forward to Shepherd’s next book which I believe concerns Plataea.

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3 thoughts on “Salamis 480 BC – The naval campaign that saved Greece

  1. William Shepherd 30 November 1999 / 8:00 am

    Plataea 479BC is now in production and will be out early next year with some more fantastic artwork from Peter Dennis. This was rather more difficult to write…. You'll be getting a copy, Thomo!

    Like

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