Cold War: An International History by Carole K. Fink

By Carole K. Fink

Cold struggle seems to be past Usussr relatives and explores the chilly warfare from a world point of view.

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Earlier conflicts between the two powers wore them down and helped give the Arabs an edge. These victories were partly due to the impact of the Arab archers, although the nature of the surviving sources is such that it is difficult to make accurate comments about force structure, size, weapons and tactics. Early Arab armies were not dominated by cavalry, as the Arabs had very few horses. Instead, warriors fought dismounted. Syria and Mesopotamia were conquered by the Arabs, followed, in 639–41, by Egypt, with victory at Heliopolis in 640 proving crucial.

At that stage, Augustus controlled the western part of the Roman Empire, including Italy, while his rival and former brother-in-law, Mark Antony, dominated the eastern part, supported by his new wife, Cleopatra VII, ruler of Egypt. Actium, on the western coast of Greece, was Mark Antony’s anchorage, but it was a poor position because malaria weakened his forces, while their supply routes were endangered by Augustus’s nearby troops, affecting morale and leading to desertions among the rowers. When part of Mark Antony’s fleet tried to break out, it was defeated by that of Augustus.

Livy felt able to reassure his Roman readers that the might of Rome would have proved invincible. He commented on the quality of the Roman generalship of the age, and claimed that Alexander had become degenerate as a result of his absorption of Persian culture. Advancing a structural interpretation, Livy also contrasted the achievements of one man with those of a people in its 400th year of warfare. He argued, moreover, that Roman numbers, weaponry and fortifications were superior to those of Macedon, and that Rome was resilient and, in addition, as a sign of respective strengths, had subsequently defeated the Macedonians.

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