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The Importance of Warfare in Book of Mormon Studies

TitleThe Importance of Warfare in Book of Mormon Studies
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsHamblin, William J.
EditorReynolds, Noel B.
Book TitleBook of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins
PublisherFoundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies
CityProvo, UT
KeywordsAncient Near East; Scholarship; Warfare

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The Importance of Warfare in Book of Mormon Studies

William J. Hamblin

William J. Hamblin is associate professor of history at Brigham Young University. This chapter is reprinted by permission. First published in Stephen D. Ricks and William J. Hamblin, eds., Warfare in the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990).

Historians are becoming increasingly aware of the fundamental role of warfare in human history.1 Warfare served, for instance, as a major factor in the development of early forms of civilization and the state.2 Many times military conquest directly resulted in cultural interaction and the transformation of civilizations, such as the spread of Hellenism after the conquest of Alexander the Great and the great Islamic cultural synthesis following the Arab conquests. The expansion and eventual dominance of the world’s great religions were often closely related to military conquest. Military conquests directly aided in the extension of Christianity, especially in the Age of Discovery. The success of Arab conquests swiftly raised Islam to the status of a world religion.

In addition, the search for military superiority over enemies frequently stimulated the invention of new technologies.3 Much of the great literature of antiquity centered around military themes and was produced under the patronage of military elites.4 The transportation of diseases, plants, and animals, as well as human migrations to new regions, was closely connected with military expeditions.5 Exploration and the expansion and control of trade routes were based as much on military as on economic activities.6

Warfare was thus always a major concern of the elites of ancient societies. In early times, leaders frequently assumed that anyone who was not a member of their tribe, city, or kingdom was a potential enemy. Thus, unless some compelling reason existed for peaceful cooperation, international relations were at best passively hostile and quite often openly violent. Periods of peace were often predicated more on the fear of going to war with a strong enemy than on any concept among the ruling elite that peace was somehow desirable. Of course, there were many exceptions to this general pattern, especially among some, though by no means all, religious leaders and philosophers. Nonetheless, political and military reality ensured that peaceful social concepts seldom were put into widespread official practice. In this century, which can be characterized as the age of world war, genocide, and nuclear bombs, it is difficult to imagine that less than a century has passed since modern technology rendered the effects of war so horrendous that a widespread call for the complete abolition of war has arisen.

The inevitability of war has always been a chief criterion in determining how ancient societies organized themselves. The need to defend family, home, and possessions from bands of brigands or organized enemy armies necessitated the increasing militarization of ancient societies. In such a situation, the ruling elites were closely associated with, if not actually the same as, the military elites. Indeed, many rulers could maintain their power only by exerting military force against their own subjects. The process of progressive militarization culminated in the formation of a series of huge militarized empires like Assyria, Persia under the Achaemenids, the empire of Alexander the Great and his successors, the Mauryan empire in India, the Qin dynasty in China, and, of course, Rome.

In these social and economic conditions, most disposable economic resources of ancient governments were devoted to maintaining a strong military force. Estimates vary, but probably fifty to seventy?five percent of the revenues of Pre?Modern European governments went to support the armies.7 The social, cultural, and religious values of many ancient societies further glorified military action and heroism, creating a widespread martial mentality.8 The spoils of war represented a major source of income and prosperity for a victorious state. What we see today as the great cultural achievements of ancient civilizations were, for the most part, built on the plunder, blood, and ruins of defeated enemies.

The civilizations described in the Book of Mormon were no exception to this general pattern. Aside from a remarkable period following the visitation of Christ to the Nephites, armed conflicts at different levels of intensity were nearly constant phenomena. Few, if any, generations passed without involvement in a major war. The authors of the Book of Mormon took war and its social and spiritual ramifications very seriously. Hugh Nibley, for instance, estimated that the book devotes approximately one?third of its content directly or indirectly to military matters.9 The Book of Mormon describes many aspects of warfare in great detail, and several of its prophets and heroes were military men. In its emphasis on warfare, the Book of Mormon accurately reflects the grim reality of history.

The Discontinuity between Ancient and Modern Warfare

Like many aspects of human life, the nature of pretechnical warfare falls into definite cross-cultural patterns. This is to say that, in broad terms, soldiers in most ancient societies tended to organize for war and fight in a limited number of basically similar military systems. Nonetheless, though warfare has been a constant factor in human history, the precise nature of warfare and the means by which wars were carried out have varied greatly.

There have been many periods of transformation in the patterns of human warfare. The most important began in the late sixteenth century in Western Europe, based on a combination of the development of effective gunpowder weapons, the development of new methods of state organization that allowed an increasing percentage of state resources to be devoted to warfare, the creation of new military tactics, and the eventual industrialization of warfare. Later, the military developments of the Napoleonic age further transformed patterns of warfare.10 These developments eventually changed the history of the entire planet and transformed the way people lived.11 Thus historians recognize a fundamental discontinuity, beginning in the sixteenth century, between what could be called Modern or technical warfare and Pre-Modern or pretechnical warfare.

Despite the fact that Joseph Smith lived in the age of Modern, or technical warfare, following the great military transformations of both the sixteenth century and the Napoleonic wars, the Book of Mormon consistently reflects the basic patterns of Pre-Modern warfare. The Pre-Modern military patterns described in the Book of Mormon are not limited to generalities, but also extend to the minutest details of the text. I would like to summarize the remarkable consistency and ancient parallels of Book of Mormon military descriptions in seven categories.

The Ecological Foundations of Ancient Warfare

Pre?Modern warfare, along with all other elements of Pre-Modern life, was closely bound up with the natural environment. These environmental considerations are clearly reflected in the history of warfare and underlay many of the descriptions of warfare in the Book of Mormon.

The basic environmental consideration was that human beings are physically limited. The human body can operate at peak efficiency only within a limited range of environmental conditions governed by factors like temperature, humidity, and altitude. Even under optimum environmental conditions, humans need frequent periods of rest and daily access to food and drink. When extended beyond its limited range of favorable conditions, the human body quickly loses efficiency, and the effectiveness of the warrior rapidly deteriorates.

Another basic limiting factor was the terrain. Each geographical zone in the world represents a unique combination of hills, mountains, forests, valleys, rivers, lakes, and oceans. The patterns of warfare in any region of the world are invariably based on their unique terrain. As John L. Sorenson has demonstrated in his geographical studies, the accounts of warfare in the Book of Mormon are filled with descriptions of the strategic and tactical effects of the terrain.12

Another important consideration in warfare is climate, hydrology, and seasonality. War was very difficult to conduct during periods of extensive rain, heat, or cold. Because ancient societies were closely tied to the seasonal cycles of nature for crop planting and harvesting, agricultural considerations limited periods of extended warfare. Sorenson has also demonstrated that the Book of Mormon accounts of warfare reflect the climatic and seasonal conditions of Mesoamerica.13

A final important natural factor in ancient warfare was animal resources. Throughout human history, a wide range of animals has been used to support military activity. Donkeys, horses, camels, elephants, and oxen have served as beasts of burden to transport supplies and equipment. Soldiers also rode horses, camels, and elephants into battle. Cattle, sheep, goats, and other livestock were frequently herded with armies to provide continuous supplies of meat. Thus the speed of an army’s march frequently depended not on the average speed of a human being, but on the average speed of the slowest animal accompanying the army. Many military systems also used birds such as carrier pigeons to send messages.14

The success of many ancient military systems directly hinged on creating efficient human and animal cooperation specifically adapted to particular environments. Two of the great military transformations in world history came about through the domestication and militarization of the camel and horse. For example, the success of the great Arab conquests of the seventh century A.D. depended on the fighting units’ ability to transport men and supplies quickly through the desert with camels.15 Of even greater impact was the domestication of the horse and the development of chariot warfare, which contributed to the widespread success of Indo?European migrations and the ultimate collapse of several ancient civilizations, including Old Babylonia, Middle Kingdom Egypt, Harappa in India, and Shang China.16 Chariot?based armies subsequently dominated ancient warfare in Eurasia for a thousand years and were replaced only when soldiers learned to ride horses in battle effectively, thereby eliminating the need for chariots. Mounted military aristocracies, like the medieval European knights, thereafter dominated warfare in Eurasia for another two thousand years, until the rise of effective gunpowder weapons in the sixteenth century.

The success of Central Asian nomadic armies, like the Mongols, stemmed directly from their unique combination of horse and sheep nomadism. The ultimate limitation on the size of the Mongol empire was inadequate pasture land for their animals rather than their enemies’ military strength.17 India, on the other hand, was uniquely the land of elephant warfare, where the strength of an army was measured by the number of elephants a king owned.18

In short, different military systems developed in different parts of the world at different times according to the different animal resources human beings could use for their military purposes. The Book of Mormon clearly reflects this principle. Unlike the Bible, with its frequent references to horses and chariots in warfare, no animal is ever mentioned as being used for military purposes in the Book of Mormon. There are, of course, references to the horses and chariots of King Lamoni (see Alma 18:9–12; 20:6), but these are clearly in a ceremonial and transportational rather than a military setting.19 The king may ride in his chariot, but no one is ever said to have fought in a chariot, nor to have ridden a horse in battle. Horses and chariots are again mentioned in 3 Nephi 3:22 but in reference to migration rather than combat. Though the problems surrounding the mention of horses and chariots in the Book of Mormon have by no means been resolved,20 from the perspective of military history, animals did not play a significant role in Book of Mormon warfare, either in battle or for transportation of war supplies. This precisely parallels pre?Columbian Mesoamerica, where animals do not seem to have been used extensively for military purposes.21

Military Technology

Another important element in Pre?Modern warfare was the technological limitations of the civilization at war. Although Modern warfare is the age of the absolute preeminence of technology, technological and tactical developments have always played a significant role in changing balances of military power.22 Despite vast differences in detail, all Pre?Modern soldiers fought with missile or melee weapons in face?to?face encounters, frequently wearing some kind of armor. With the rise of effective long?range gunpowder weapons, however, guns quickly replaced muscle?propelled missiles, swords, and spears, while armor was progressively discarded. The range at which killing could occur continually lengthened, until today it has reached into the heavens. Without exception, the weapons, tactics, and military operations described in the Book of Mormon fit into the ancient pattern.

Ancient societies needed a broad range of technological skills to transform their natural resources into military power. These skills included animal husbandry for the care of mounts and pack animals, metallurgical and lithic skills for weapon and armor making, engineering skills for building fortifications and siegecraft, and nautical skills for sea and river transportation and naval warfare.

The Book of Mormon provides a great deal of incidental detail on military technology. As we have attempted to demonstrate in several chapters in Warfare in the Book of Mormon, descriptions of weapons and armor in the Book of Mormon are all consistent with ancient patterns as represented in the ancient Near East and Mesoamerica. Indeed, the Book of Mormon consistently parallels Mesoamerica and differs from the ancient Near East in precisely those features that distinguish Mesoamerica from the ancient Near East. Coats of mail, helmets, battle chariots, cavalry, and sophisticated siege engines are all absent from the Book of Mormon and Mesoamerica, despite their importance in biblical descriptions of ancient Near Eastern warfare.23 Studies on fortifications demonstrate that the Book of Mormon patterns of military architecture and engineering are also consistent with similar patterns in Mesoamerica.24 The Book of Mormon further reflects the fact that ancient military technology and tactics were never static. Major changes in military techniques described in the Book of Mormon include the proliferation of armor and fortifications among the Nephites in the first century B.C. (see Alma 43:19; 48:8–9), which the Lamanites later adopted (see Alma 49:6).

Social and Economic Foundations of Ancient Warfare

Warfare should not be seen as strictly a military activity. Many elements in warfare reflect the social and economic patterns in a society. In order to be militarily competitive, ancient societies first needed access to basic resources to carry out warfare: food to feed the soldiers; textiles and leather for clothing and armor; specialized stones or metals for weapons and armor; stone and lumber for building fortifications; timber and other products for ship building; and gold, silver, and other forms of wealth to purchase these supplies and to ensure the loyalty of the troops.

The ability to recruit, equip, train, supply, and move large groups of soldiers, servants, and animals also represented a major social undertaking for ancient societies. Indeed, warfare strained the economic and social resources of many ancient societies, sometimes beyond their limits, thereby contributing to their ultimate collapse.25 As the story of Moroni and Pahoran illustrates, the cost of warfare exerted terrible social and economic pressure on Nephite society (see Alma 58–61).26 Because of the economic strain of supporting armies at war for long periods of time, plundering was essential in supplying many ancient armies and is constantly mentioned in the Book of Mormon.27

Demography and patterns of recruitment are topics that warrant further study. Obviously, the Book of Mormon describes a steady demographic and geographic expansion of Nephite culture through the centuries.28 This expansion coincided precisely with a steadily increasing size of armies and casualties mentioned in the text. The pattern was to move from armies numbering in the thousands in the first century B.C. to armies in the tens of thousands by the fourth century A.D.29

Pre?Modern warriors were generally organized into kinship or communal groups, serving under leaders who personally participated in the melee. The broadened agricultural and industrial base of early Modern societies allowed for an increasing percentage of the population to serve in the military, until eventually universal conscription was introduced. In Modern warfare, the tactical organization of soldiers is purely administrative rather than communal. Pre?Modern warfare also tended to be aristocratic, with a hereditary, highly trained, elite military aristocracy dominating warfare in most societies. With the rise of gunpowder weapons, which allow marginally trained peasants to kill the most highly trained aristocrat, the hereditary military aristocracies became functionally obsolete and ultimately declined and disappeared. As John Tvedtnes has demonstrated, the Book of Mormon fits the ancient pattern of tribal and communal military organization and hereditary military aristocracies.30

Military Operations

It is interesting that the volume Warfare in the Book of Mormon has very few discussions of the actual battles and campaigns. This reflects the current trends in military history, which focus less on what has been called the “drum and bugle” accounts of battles, and more on the political, social, economic, cultural, and religious implications of warfare in human societies. Of course, Nibley, Sorenson, and others have already done preliminary examinations of battle narratives in the Book of Mormon.31 Nonetheless, a great deal of work in analyzing the actual accounts of campaigns still remains.32 Here I can only briefly review some of the major patterns in Pre?Modern field operations as reflected in the Book of Mormon.33

Preparations for battle in ancient societies were very complex. Creating an army was essentially tantamount to creating a mobile city. An army had all the social, economic, and logistical needs of a sedentary city, but it faced the additional problems of being constantly on the move and harassed by enemies.34 The Book of Mormon clearly reflects many of these problems.

Manpower had to be recruited, and soldiers trained, equipped, organized into units for marching and tactics, and mobilized at central locations to begin operations. An army generally required a wide range of camp followers to supply its troops with food and supplies: porters, cleaners, cooks, and other laborers. The number of camp followers sometimes equaled or exceeded the number of soldiers in an army. The army needed to prepare and maintain barracks, arsenals, fortifications, and other bases, and the society had to prepare to maintain some type of a standing army, usually royal guardsmen, in peacetime. Getting the troops and supplies to the strategic points of conflict required extensive marching and maneuvering. Any reader of the military sections of the Book of Mormon will recall the seemingly endless accounts of marches and countermarches.

Not all military conflict in antiquity was characterized by formal, set battles. What we in modern times call guerrilla war typified much ancient warfare. This characteristic of warfare is also well described in the Book of Mormon, as can be seen in Daniel C. Peterson’s analysis of the nature and motives of the Gadianton robbers.35

Actual battlefield operations usually represented only a small portion of the time of a campaign, but they were inevitably the most important. Battles began with the dispatching of scouts to reconnoiter for food, trails, and the location of enemy troops. Most ancient armies used spies and other means to gain intelligence, and the Book of Mormon frequently mentions the importance of spies and other Nephite intelligence operations.36 Military leaders generally made battle plans shortly before the army encountered the enemy. Such plans were frequently formulated by a council of officers and professional soldiers who discussed the situation and offered suggestions, which is precisely what Moroni does in preparation for battle (see Alma 52:19).

In theory, units within an army during battle could be controlled, maneuvered, and withdrawn on command. In fact, though, when the actual fighting began, such coordination often proved difficult. Soldiers tended to fight in units distinguished by banners held by officers or assistants, and the troops simply followed the banner around the field (recalling to mind Moroni’s title of liberty and other banners placed on towers). Cohesion of military formations was often a decisive element in Pre?Modern combat. It was especially vital for defensive purposes, for an organized body of men could mutually protect one another, while a single isolated man would be subject to attack from the side and rear.

Work by A. Brent Merrill has demonstrated that armies in the Book of Mormon were organized on a decimal system of hundreds, thousands, and ten thousands. This followed a pattern similar in ancient Israel and was probably the most widespread system of military organization in the ancient world. There was also a clear ranking of captains and chief captains, and there seems to have been a basic continuity between officers and their units.37

Battles frequently began with an exchange of missiles to wound and demoralize the enemy. Only when the missiles were exhausted did hand?to?hand combat occur. The battle described in Alma 49 offers a good description of archery duels preceding hand?to?hand melees. When panic began to spread in the ranks, a complete collapse could be sudden and devastating. The death of the king or commander often led to the complete collapse of an army, as happened in Alma 49:25. Casualties occurred most during the flight and pursuit after the disintegration of the main units. Battles in the Book of Mormon often end with descriptions of just such routs, flights, and destructions of armies (see Alma 52:26–36; 62:31, 38).38

Political and Legal Norms of War

Each ancient civilization developed its own political and legal norms by which it was supposed to conduct warfare. Of course, in antiquity, as today, such legal norms were often honored only in the breach. Nonetheless, ancient societies often professed important laws and patterns of behavior regarding international relations and diplomacy.

Perhaps the greatest distinction between modern and ancient international affairs is the ancient emphasis on personal oaths. Terrence L. Szink’s paper in Warfare in the Book of Mormon  shows that ancient military oaths were taken very seriously, and the Book of Mormon emphasis on oaths of loyalty from troops and oaths of surrender from prisoners illustrates these ancient concepts very well.39 The Book of Mormon also presents a complex pattern of international relations, treaties, and diplomacy consistent with ancient Near Eastern practices.40

The question of the causes of warfare in ancient societies has received detailed attention by historians and anthropologists, who have discovered a broad range of social, economic, ethnic, political, cultural, religious, and personal causes of war. In a FARMS Preliminary Report, David Palmer has examined some of these causes, pointing out that the Book of Mormon manifests similar patterns.41 Patterns of war in a civilization were also frequently linked to major ideological conflicts, as Matthew M. F. Hilton and Neil J. Flinders discuss in their paper in Warfare in the Book of Mormon.42 On the other hand, shifting patterns of ideological and religious loyalties could also serve as the basis for making peace, as John A. Tvedtnes discusses.43

In many ancient societies, few distinctions existed between soldiers and police forces, although, as Welch has shown, there were clear distinctions between thieves and robbers that are also manifest in the Book of Mormon.44 Welch’s contribution to Warfare in the Book of Mormon demonstrates that the Book of Mormon presents a complex pattern of martial law, with numerous details parallelling ancient Israelite and Jewish laws of war.45

Cultural Manifestations of Warfare

Ancient warfare was often a cultural and artistic phenomenon. Before the modern concentration of wealth in the hands of capitalists and the development of mass media art forms, the two major patrons of literature and the arts were kings and priests. Most Pre?Modern literature and art therefore naturally reflects the concerns of their patrons—warfare and the gods, along with the important addition of the favorite nonmilitary pastime of the warriors (if not always the priests), love. Most of the great classics of Pre?Modern world literature focus on the concerns of war, God, and love: the Gilgamesh epic, Homer’s epics, the Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana, the Hebrew Bible, Vergil’s Aeneid, the Norse sagas, the medieval European romances, Dante’s Divina commedia, Japanese war tales like Heike Monogatari, Chinese novels like The Three Kingdoms, Firdawsi’s Shah-nameh from Iran—the list could be greatly expanded. Likewise, war and God are the two major themes of the Book of Mormon, which can thus be seen as a typical product of the concerns of Pre?Modern elites.

Religion and War

As James Aho has demonstrated, nearly all ancient warfare was sacral warfare carried out in relation to a complex series of religious ritual, law, and ideology.46 Although there have always been political and economic motives for ancient and medieval war, Pre?Modern warfare was fundamentally sacral. Post?sixteenth?century European technicalized war has become increasingly secularized, with political, nationalistic, racial, and economic justifications predominating.

The close connection between religious ideology and warfare is one of the most obvious ancient elements of the Book of Mormon. In numerous incidental details, the Book of Mormon reveals the substantial ties between warfare and religion, which parallel patterns in the ancient Near East and in Mesoamerica. In his chapter in Warfare in the Book of Mormon, Stephen D. Ricks has demonstrated that certain elements of Israelite patterns of holy war were continued in the Book of Mormon, along with the important ancient idea that success in war was due fundamentally to the will of the gods. As he has shown, the Book of Mormon mentions activities such as consulting prophets before battle. Likewise, a strict purity code for warriors can be seen in the story of Helaman and the stripling warriors. An example of ritual destruction of cities in relationship to warfare also appears in the Book of Mormon (see Alma 16:1–11, cf. Deuteronomy 13:12–18).47

Bruce W. Warren’s contribution to Warfare in the Book of Mormon approaches the question of sacral warfare from the Mesoamerican perspective. Warren demonstrates that the issues of ritual kingship and human sacrifice of war prisoners, which many scholars now see as fundamental elements in Mesoamerican religious and political societies, have interesting parallels in the Book of Mormon.48

Book of Mormon Parallels to Ancient Patterns

Let me conclude this overview by summarizing the military topics on which the Book of Mormon manifests clear parallels to ancient patterns of military behavior: the use of only pregunpowder weapons; communal bases of military loyalty; tribal military organization; agricultural economic base; seasonal patterns in warfare; military implications of geography and climate; limited use of animal resources; weapons technology and typology; fortifications; military innovations; social and economic impact of warfare; the military implications of changing demographic patterns; recruitment based on tribes and communities; the problems of supplying soldiers in times of war; complex prebattle maneuvering; extensive scouting and spying; prebattle war councils; use of banners for mobilization and organization; decimal military organization; proper tactical role of missile and melee combat; patterns of flight after battle; the importance of oaths of loyalty and surrender; norms of international relations; the causes of warfare; treatment of robbers as brigands; laws of war; importance of plunder in warfare; guerrilla warfare; ritual destruction of cities; ritual capture of kings; human sacrifice; treatment of prisoners; disposal of the dead; centrality of war to the elite culture; the fundamental interrelationship between war and religion; religious ritual behavior before, during, and after battle; divination before battle; camp purity; and the ideology of holy war. In none of these topics does the Book of Mormon contradict the ancient patterns of the practice of warfare. In many of these topics, the Book of Mormon uniquely reflects its dual heritage of the ancient Near East and Mesoamerica. Hugh Nibley has called the study of military affairs in the Book of Mormon “a rigorous test” to the historical claims of the book.49 In light of the numerous studies cited here, we can say that the Book of Mormon does indeed pass the test.


1.    See William McNeill, The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since A.D. 1000 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982); Geoffrey Parker, The Military Revolution, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (New York: Random House, 1987). For a general introduction to ancient warfare, see Arther Ferrill, The Origins of War (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1985). For a discussion of specific reasons for studying warfare in the Book of Mormon, see John W. Welch, “Why Study Warfare in the Book of Mormon?” in Warfare in the Book of Mormon, ed. Stephen D. Ricks and William J. Hamblin (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990).

2.    Jonathan Haas, The Evolution of the Prehistoric State (New York: Columbia, 1982).

3.    Martin van Creveld, Technology and War: From 2000 B.C. to the Present (New York: Free Press, 1989).

4.    On the “heroic” background of the origin of literature, see H. Munro Chadwick and N. Kershaw Chadwick, The Growth of Literature, 3 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1932–40).

5.    On diseases, see McNeill, The Pursuit of Power; and William Hardy, Plagues and Peoples (Garden City, New York: Anchor Press, 1976).

6.    Carlo M. Cipolla, Guns and Sails in the Early Phase of European Expansion, 1400–1700 (London: Collins, 1965); and Geoffrey V. Scammell, The World Encompassed: The First European Maritime Empires, ca. 800–1650 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981).

7.    For examples from Pre?Modern Europe, see Carlo M. Cipolla, Before the Industrial Revolution (New York: Norton, 1976), 51–3. A discussion of Modern (technicalized) and Pre?Modern (pretechnical) warfare follows.

8.    For a general introduction to martial mentalities in societies, see James A. Aho, Religious Mythology and the Art of War: Comparative Religious Symbolisms of Military Violence (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1981); Bruce Lincoln, “War and Warriors: Overview,” in The Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. Mircea Eliade, 16 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1987), 15:339–44; and C. Scott Littleton, “War: Indo?European Beliefs and Practices,” in ibid., 15:344–9. The best?known examples of martial mentality dominating a social system are the western European knight and the Japanese Samurai, on which see Joachim Bumke, The Concept of Knighthood in the Middle Ages, tr. W. T. H. and Erika Jackson (New York: AMS Press, 1982); and Stephen R. Turnbull, The Samurai: A Military History (New York: Macmillan, 1977).

9.    Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah, vol. 7 in The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988), 291. His figure of 170 pages refers to earlier editions of the Book of Mormon that contained 522 pages.

10. Gunther E. Rothenberg, The Art of Warfare in the Age of Napoleon (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978).

11. For general discussions of these developments, see Parker, The Military Revolution; and McNeill, The Pursuit of Power.

12. John L. Sorenson, Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1985), 239–76.

13. John L. Sorenson, “Seasonality of Warfare in the Book of Mormon and in Mesoamerica,” in Warfare, 445–77.

14. The best introduction to the logistics of ancient armies is in Donald W. Engels, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978), 1–25.

15. Donald P. Hill, “The Role of the Camel and the Horse in the Early Arab Conquests,” in War, Technology, and Society in the Middle East, ed. V. J. Parry and Malcolm E. Yapp (London: Oxford University Press, 1975). For a general overview, see Fred M. Donner, The Early Islamic Conquests, Princeton Studies on the Near East (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1981).

16. On the rise of the chariot, see Robert Drews, The Coming of the Greeks: Indo?European Conquests in the Aegean and the Near East (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1988), with full bibliography. For the chariot in East Asia, see Edward L. Shaughnessy, “Historical Perspectives on the Introduction of the Chariot into China,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 48/1 (June 1988): 189–237. For a general introductory discussion of the implications of chariots on world history, see William McNeill, The Rise of the West (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963), 102–9.

17. John M. Smith Jr., “‘Ayn Jalut: Mamluk Success or Mongol Failure?” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 44/2 (1984): 307–45.

18. Simon Digby, War?horse and Elephant in the Delhi Sultanate, Oriental Monographs (London: Oxford University Press, 1971).

19. On the importance of the distinction between ceremonial and military chariotry, see Shaughnessy, “Introduction of the Chariot into China.”

20. For a brief discussion, see Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting, 295–6.

21. On Mesoamerican logistical constraints, see Ross Hassig, Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988), 61?72.

22. McNeill, Pursuit of Power.

23. In Warfare, see William J. Hamblin and A. Brent Merrill, “Swords in the Book of Mormon,” 329–51; William J. Hamblin, “The Bow and Arrow in the Book of Mormon,” 365–99; William J. Hamblin, “Armor in the Book of Mormon,” 400–24; Paul Y. Hoskisson, “Scimitars, Cimeters! We Have Scimitars! Do We Need Another Cimeter?” 352–9; and William J. Hamblin and A. Brent Merrill, “Notes on the Cimeter (Scimitar) in the Book of Mormon,” 360–4.

24. John L. Sorenson, “Fortifications in the Book of Mormon Account Compared with Mesoamerican Fortifications,” in Warfare, 425–44; and David Palmer, “Warfare and the Development of Nephite Culture in America,” FARMS Preliminary Report, 1985.

25. Norman Yoffee and George L. Cowgill, eds., The Collapse of Ancient States and Civilizations (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988) contains detailed discussions of numerous factors from many different civilizations.

26. Nibley, Since Cumorah, 322–9.

27. See R. Gary Shapiro, comp., An Exhaustive Concordance of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price (Salt Lake City: Hawkes, 1977), s.v. “gain,” “plunder,” “steal,” and their derivatives.

28. Sorenson, Ancient American Setting, 190?238.

29. A. Brent Merrill, “Nephite Captains and Armies,” in Warfare.

30. John A. Tvedtnes, “Book of Mormon Tribal Affiliation and Military Caste,” in Warfare, 266–95.

31. Nibley, Since Cumorah, 291–333; Sorenson, Ancient American Setting, 239–60.

32. See Matthew Hilton, “Preliminary Summary of Nephite Armed Conflict in the Book of Mormon,” FARMS Working Paper, 1987.

33. See Hugh W. Nibley, “Warfare and the Book of Mormon,” in Warfare, 127–45.

34. See Engels, Alexander the Great, 1–25, for discussion.

35. Daniel C. Peterson, “Notes on ‘Gadianton Masonry,’ ”  and “The Gadianton Robbers as Guerrilla Warriors,” in Warfare, 174–224 and 146–73, respectively.

36. See Shapiro, An Exhaustive Concordance, s.v. “spies” and spy.”

37. Merrill, “Nephite Captains,” in Warfare, 266–95.

38. See Shapiro, An Exhaustive Concordance, s.v. “fled” and “flee.”

39. See Terrence L. Szink, “An Oath of Allegiance in the Book of Mormon,” in Warfare, 35–45.

40. Mark Davis and Brent Israelsen, “International Relations and Treaties in the Book of Mormon,” FARMS Preliminary Report, 1982.

41. Palmer, “Warfare and the Development of Nephite Culture.”

42. See Matthew M. F. Hilton and Neil J. Flinders, “The Impact of Shifting Cultural Assumptions on the Military Policies Directing Armed Conflict Reported in the Book of Alma,” in Warfare, 237–65.

43. John A. Tvedtnes, “The Sons of Mosiah: Emissaries of Peace,” in Warfare.

44. John W. Welch, “Theft and Robbery in the Book of Mormon and in Ancient Near Eastern Law,” FARMS Working Paper.

45. John W. Welch, “Law and War in the Book of Mormon,” in  Warfare, 46–102.

46. Aho, Religious Mythology.

47. Stephen D. Ricks, ” ‘Holy War’: The Sacral Ideology of War in the Book of Mormon and in the Ancient Near East,” in Warfare, 103–17.

48. Bruce W. Warren, “Secret Combinations, Warfare, and Captive Sacrifice in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon,” in Warfare, 225–36.

49. Nibley, Since Cumorah, 291.