Battle of the Aisne, 57 B.C.

Battle of the Aisne, 57 B.C.

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Battle of the Aisne, 57 B.C.

The battle of the Aisne (57 B.C.) was Julius Caesar's first victory in his campaign against the Belgic tribes of modern Belgium. At the end of the first year of his Gallic War Caesar's army entered winter quarters well to the north of the Roman Province of Transalpine Gaul. The Belgae, the inhabitants of modern Belgium, were understandably worried about Caesar's intentions, and formed a league to resist any Roman attack. This gave Caesar an excuse to campaign against them, and in the spring of 57 B.C. he lead his army north.

According to Caesar the Belgae were able to raise an army of around 300,000 men. Even if this figure was greatly exaggerated, Caesar's 40,000 legionaries (in eight legions) and their auxiliaries were still badly outnumbered. Caesar did have two advantages – the professionalism of his legions and the poor Belgic supply system, which limited the amount of time they could keep such a large army together.

Caesar decided to attempt to split his enemies. Divitiacus, the leader of Caesar's allies the Aedui, was sent to attack the lands of the Bellovaci, in the hope that their 60,000-strong contingent would leave the main Belgic army. Learning that the main army was approaching his position, Caesar advanced to a bridge over the Aisne. Six cohorts, under the command of Q. Titurius Sabinus, were left on the south bank of the river with orders to build a fortified camp. The rest of the army crossed the river and occupied a hill on the north bank.

The Belgae's first move was to attack the town of Bibrax, eight miles from the Roman camp. The town held out for the first day of the attack, but it was clear that it would fall on the second day. The defenders of Bibrax managed to get a message to Caesar, and overnight he moved a force of Numidian and Cretan archers and Balearic slingers into the town. This convinced the attackers that they would no longer be able to take the place, and the Belgic army moved to a new camp two miles from the main Roman position.

Caesar was still badly outnumbered, and over the next few days he refused to risk a battle. The fighting was restricted to a number of minor cavalry engagements, which apparently convinced Caesar that it was worth risking a battle. The Roman camp was built on a gently sloping hill that was wide enough for the entire army to deploy, and that had steep enough sides to prevent the Belgae from easily attacking the Roman flanks. Caesar further protected his flanks by building ditches along the slopes and by building forts at each end of his main line. The forts were filled with Caesar's field artillery.

With their preparations complete the Romans came out of their camp and formed up in order of battle. The Belgae did the same, and for some time it appeared that a major battle was about to begin, but the two armies were separated by a small marsh. Whichever side moved first would inevitably become disorganised while crossing the marsh, giving their opponents an advantage. Neither Caesar nor Galba was willing to make that first move, and so after another minor cavalry engagement the Romans returned to their camp.

The Belgae now took the initiative. They attempted to cross the river using a nearby ford in preparation for an attack on the six cohorts on the south bank of the Aisne. Caesar responded by moving his cavalry, lightly armed Numidians, slingers and archers across the bridge. The lighter Roman troops so fast that they reached the ford while most of the Belgic army was still crossing the river. While the Roman cavalry dealt with those troops that were already on the south bank the missile troops prevented the rest of the army from crossing the river. Eventually the Belgae retreated to their camp.

By this point the Belgic army was running short of supplies, and news had reached them that the Aedui were approaching the lands of the Bellovaci. At a council of war their leaders decided that each contingent should return to its own country, but remain under arms. They would then wait to see which way Caesar moved next and then bring the army back together. This was a disastrous move. The retreat itself nearly turned into a rout, while Caesar was able to move at least as fast as the dispersing Belgic army. Over the next few weeks the Suessiones, Bellovaci and Ambiani all surrendered to the Romans. Only the Nervii and their allies continued to resist the Romans, and they too were forced surrender after suffering a heavy defeat on the Sambre.

Prisoners left to burn in Ohio fire

A fire at an Ohio prison kills 320 inmates, some of whom burn to death when they are not unlocked from their cells. It is one of the worst prison disasters in American history.

The Ohio State Penitentiary was built in Columbus in 1834. Throughout its history, it had a poor reputation. A cholera epidemic swept through the facility in 1849, killing 121 convicts. In 1893, a prison superintendent wrote that "ten thousand pages of history of the Ohio Penitentiary would [not] give one idea of the inward wretchedness of its 1,900 inmates. The unwritten history is known only by God himself."

The prison, built to hold 1,500 people, was almost always overcrowded and notorious for its poor conditions. At the time of the 1930 fire, there were 4,300 prisoners living in the jail. Construction crews were working on an expansion and scaffolding was set up along one side of the building. On the night of April 21, a fire broke out on the scaffolding.

The cell block adjacent to the scaffolding housed 800 prisoners, most of whom were already locked in for the night. The inmates begged to be let out of their cells as smoke filled the cell block. However, most reports claim that the guards not only refused to unlock the cells, they continued to lock up other prisoners. Meanwhile, the fire spread to the roof, endangering the inmates on the prison’s upper level as well.

Finally, two prisoners forcibly took the keys from a guard and began their own rescue efforts. Approximately 50 inmates made it out of their cells before the heavy smoke stopped the impromptu evacuation. The roof then caved in on the upper cells. About 160 prisoners burned to death.

A New, Terrible Twist On Trench Warfare

When World War I broke out, trench warfare wasn’t new. It had been around since the time of the Roman legions, when soldiers routinely dug pits around temporary camps as a defense against midnight attacks. It had been used, too, in later conflicts, including the Napoleonic Wars and the American Civil War.

But by 1914, the playing field had changed. Advances in weaponry meant that rifles and artillery could now shoot farther and at a faster rate than ever before.

Armor could no longer effectively prevent bullet wounds, and a single gunman, if properly shielded, could take out several charging enemies before they even reached his position.

Entrenchment, then, was the obvious tactical choice at the outset of the war: soldiers would dig deep ditches at the most advanced position they could hold, then sight over the top of the embankment and fire at the enemy.

The results of a frontal attack on an entrenched opponent were devastating. Men who went “over the top” — that is, leapt over the trench to rush enemy lines — were killed almost instantly. At the Battle of the Somme, an estimated 20,000 British soldiers lost their lives in a courageous and ultimately futile charge.

The combatants of WW1 quickly realized that armies could rarely hope to attack from the front: if they wanted to make any progress, they would have to sneak around the sides of the trenches to outflank their opponent.

To avoid falling prey to this maneuver, the opposing army would then have to extend their trenches, digging parallel to their enemy’s line in an interminable race to the sea.

The repercussions of this strategy were a bloody, paralyzing stalemate as both armies attempted to stretch until they could stretch no farther. Historians estimate that the trenches of the Western Front, laid end to end, would extend 25,000 miles from start to finish.

It was a war of attrition, and that’s what WW1 photos capture: a life of trenches, marching to trenches, and occasionally the briefest moments of respite.

The Berlin Wall: Blockade and Crisis

The existence of West Berlin, a conspicuously capitalist city deep within communist East Germany, “stuck like a bone in the Soviet throat,” as Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev put it. The Russians began maneuvering to drive the United States, Britain and France out of the city for good. In 1948, a Soviet blockade of West Berlin aimed to starve the western Allies out of the city. Instead of retreating, however, the United States and its allies supplied their sectors of the city from the air. This effort, known as the Berlin Airlift, lasted for more than a year and delivered more than 2.3 million tons of food, fuel and other goods to West Berlin. The Soviets called off the blockade in 1949.

After a decade of relative calm, tensions flared again in 1958. For the next three years, the Soviets𠄾mboldened by the successful launch of the Sputnik satellite the year before during the “Space Race” and embarrassed by the seemingly endless flow of refugees from east to west (nearly 3 million since the end of the blockade, many of them young skilled workers such as doctors, teachers and engineers)𠄻lustered and made threats, while the Allies resisted. Summits, conferences and other negotiations came and went without resolution. Meanwhile, the flood of refugees continued. In June 1961, some 19,000 people left the GDR through Berlin. The following month, 30,000 fled. In the first 11 days of August, 16,000 East Germans crossed the border into West Berlin, and on August 12 some 2,400 followed—the largest number of defectors ever to leave East Germany in a single day.

Rosie Ruiz fakes Boston Marathon win

Rosie Ruiz, age 26, finishes first in the women’s division of the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:31:56 on April 21, 1980. She was rewarded with a medal, a laurel wreath and a silver bowl however, eight days later Ruiz is stripped of her victory after race officials learned she jumped into the race about a mile before the finish line.

The Cuban-born Ruiz, an administrative assistant from New York City, qualified for the 84th Boston Marathon by submitting her time for running the 1979 New York City Marathon. Although Ruiz never explained why she cheated, it has been suggested her boss was so impressed she qualified for the prestigious Boston race that he offered to pay her way. It’s believed that Ruiz intended to jump into the middle of the pack of runners but miscalculated when she joined the marathon one mile from the end, not realizing she was ahead of the other 448 female competitors.

Ruiz was unknown in the running world and her victory raised suspicions because it was a 25-minute improvement over her New York City Marathon time. Additionally, her winning time was then the third-fastest marathon time in history for a woman. After studying race photographs–Ruiz didn’t appear in any of them until the very end𠄺nd conducting interviews, Boston Marathon officials stripped Ruiz of her title on April 29, 1980, and named Jacqueline Gareau of Canada the women’s division champion with a time of 2:34:28. Ruiz’s New York time was later invalidated when officials discovered she had taken the subway during part of the race.

The controversy surrounding Ruiz overshadowed Bill Rogers, who won the men’s division of the 1980 Boston Marathon for a record fourth year in a row. At the 2005 Boston Marathon, Jacqueline Gareau served as grand marshal and re-enacted her 1980 marathon performance by breaking the tape. After her cheating was revealed, Ruiz, who maintained she had won the Boston Marathon fairly, lost her job in New York. She encountered further trouble in 1982 when she was accused of stealing money from an employer. The following year, she was caught selling drugs to undercover officers in Florida. In both cases, Ruiz served brief stints in jail. Ruiz died in 2019 in Florida. 

The first Boston Marathon was run on April 19, 1897. Women were officially allowed to compete in the race starting in 1972. Following the Ruiz incident, race officials instituted tighter security measures to prevent future episodes of cheating.

Encyclopedia - Creeping Barrage

Although considered as a battlefield tactic as early as 1915 (and initially deployed by Bulgarian artillerists during the Adrianople siege of March 1913) the so-called 'creeping barrage' was not actually deployed until August 1916 by the British (Sir Henry Horne) during the Battle of the Somme on the Western Front.

Until this point artillery barrages preceded infantry attacks for periods ranging from hours to days. Once the infantry attack began in earnest supporting artillery would typically be promptly switched against pre-determined secondary targets.

A creeping barrage however was designed so as to place a curtain of artillery fire just ahead of advancing infantry, a barrage which would constantly shift - or creep - forward directly ahead of attacking troops. The innovation was successful, although chiefly against sharply defined and localised targets. Subsequently the combined use of artillery, infantry, tanks and aircraft would greatly assist the efficacy of larger-scale breakthrough attacks.

French Commander-in-Chief Robert Nivelle placed over-reliance upon the merits of the creeping barrage as a primary form of attack during his disastrous Second Battle of the Aisne in April 1917, the failure of which led to widespread mutiny in the French Army.

Such a method of artillery fire necessarily required very careful planning by both artillery and infantry commanders, particularly with regard to timing if an army's own troops were not to be caught (or held back) by their own artillery barrage. As a rough rule of thumb a creeping barrage would progress at the rate of approximately 50 metres per minute once an attack began.

Variations upon the creeping barrage included the so-called 'fire waltz' whereby a hail of artillery fire would ravage a position and move onwards, only to then reverse course in order to catch defensive forces rushing to the devastated line.

Saturday, 22 August, 2009 Michael Duffy

A howitzer is any short cannon that delivers its shells in a high trajectory. The word is derived from an old German word for "catapult".

- Did you know?

Renovations to the Hagia Sophia

As Islam was the central religion of the Ottomans, the Hagia Sophia was renovated into a mosque. As part of the conversion, the Ottomans covered many of the original Orthodox-themed mosaics with Islamic calligraphy designed by Kazasker Mustafa İzzet.

The panels or medallions, which were hung on the columns in the nave, feature the names of Allah, the Prophet Muhammad, the first four Caliphs, and the Prophet’s two grandsons.

The mosaic on the main dome�lieved to be an image of Christ—was also covered by gold calligraphy.

A mihrab or nave was installed in the wall, as is tradition in mosques, to indicate the direction toward Mecca, one of the holy cities of Islam. Ottoman Emperor Kanuni Sultan Süleyman (1520 to 1566) installed two bronze lamps on each side of the mihrab, and Sultan Murad III (1574 to 1595) added two marble cubes from the Turkish city of Bergama, which date back to 4 B.C.

Four minarets were also added to the original building during this period, partly for religious purposes (for the muezzin call to prayer) and partly to fortify the structure following earthquakes that struck the city around this time.

Under the rule of Sultan Abdülmecid, between 1847 and 1849, the Hagia Sophia underwent an extensive renovation led by Swiss architects the Fossati brothers. At this time, the Hünkâr Mahfili (a separate compartment for emperors to use for prayer) was removed and replaced with another near the mihrab.

The last offensives and the Allies’ victory

As the German strength on the Western Front was being steadily increased by the transfer of divisions from the Eastern Front (where they were no longer needed since Russia had withdrawn from the war), the Allies’ main problem was how to withstand an imminent German offensive pending the arrival of massive reinforcements from the United States. Eventually Pétain persuaded the reluctant Haig that the British with 60 divisions should extend their sector of the front from 100 to 125 miles as compared with the 325 miles to be held by the French with approximately 100 divisions. Haig thus devoted 46 of his divisions to the front from the Channel to Gouzeaucourt (southwest of German-held Cambrai) and 14 to the remaining third of the front from Gouzeaucourt past German-held Saint-Quentin to the Oise River.

On the German side, between Nov. 1, 1917, and March 21, 1918, the German divisions on the Western Front were increased from 146 to 192, the troops being drawn from Russia, Galicia, and Italy. By these means the German armies in the west were reinforced by a total of about 570,000 men. Ludendorff’s interest was to strike from his temporary position of strength—before the arrival of the major U.S. contingents—and at the same time to ensure that his German offensive should not fail for the same reasons as the Allies’ offensives of the past three years. Accordingly he formed an offensive strategy based on taking the tactical line of least resistance. The main German attacks would begin with brief but extremely intense artillery bombardments using a high proportion of poison gas and smoke shells. These would incapacitate the Allies’ forward trenches and machine-gun emplacements and would obscure their observation posts. Then a second and lighter artillery barrage would begin to creep forward over the Allied trenches at a walking pace (in order to keep the enemy under fire), with the masses of German assault infantry advancing as closely as possible behind it. The key to the new tactics was that the assault infantry would bypass machine-gun nests and other points of strong resistance instead of waiting, as had been the previous practice on both sides, for reinforcements to mop up the obstructions before continuing the advance. The Germans would instead continue to advance in the direction of the least enemy resistance. The mobility of the German advance would thus be assured, and its deep infiltration would result in large amounts of territory being taken.

Such tactics demanded exceptionally fit and disciplined troops and a high level of training. Ludendorff accordingly drew the best troops from all the Western Front forces at his disposal and formed them into elite shock divisions. The troops were systematically trained in the new tactics, and every effort was also made to conceal the actual areas at which the German main attacks would be made.

Ludendorff’s main attack was to be on the weakest sector of the Allies’ front, the 47 miles between Arras and La Fère (on the Oise). Two German armies, the 17th and the 2nd, were to break through the front between Arras and Saint-Quentin, north of the Somme, and then wheel right so as to force most of the British back toward the Channel, while the 18th Army, between the Somme and the Oise, protected the left flank of the advance against counterattack from the south. Code-named “ Michael,” this offensive was to be supplemented by three other attacks: “St. George I” against the British on the Lys River south of Armentières “St. George II” against the British again between Armentières and Ypres and “Blücher” against the French in Champagne. It was finally decided to use 62 divisions in the main attack, “Michael.”

Preceded by an artillery bombardment using 6,000 guns, “Michael” was launched on March 21, 1918, and was helped by an early morning fog that hid the German advance from the Allied observation posts. The attack, which is known as the Second Battle of the Somme or the Battle of Saint-Quentin, took the British altogether by surprise, but it did not develop as Ludendorff had foreseen. While the 18th Army under von Hutier achieved a complete breakthrough south of the Somme, the major attack to the north was held up, mainly by the British concentration of strength at Arras. For a whole week Ludendorff, in violation of his new tactical emphasis, vainly persisted in trying to carry out his original plan instead of exploiting the unexpected success of the 18th Army, though the latter had advanced more than 40 miles westward and had reached Montdidier by March 27. At last, however, the main effort of the Germans was converted into a drive toward Amiens, which began in force on March 30. By that time the Allies had recovered from their initial dismay, and French reserves were coming up to the British line. The German drive was halted east of Amiens and so too was a renewed attack on April 4. Ludendorff then suspended his Somme offensive. This offensive had yielded the largest territorial gains of any operation on the Western Front since the First Battle of the Marne in September 1914.

The Allies’ cause at least derived one overdue benefit from the collapse of one-third of the British front: at Haig’s own suggestion, Foch was on March 26 appointed to coordinate the Allies’ military operations and on April 14 he was named commander in chief of the Allied armies. Previously, Haig had resisted the idea of a generalissimo.

On April 9 the Germans began “ St. George I” with an attack on the extreme northern front between Armentières and the canal of La Bassée, their aim being to advance across the Lys River toward Hazebrouck. Such was the initial success of this attack that “ St. George II” was launched the next day, with the capture of Kemmel Hill (Kemmelberg), southwest of Ypres, as its first objective. Armentières fell, and Ludendorff came to think for a time that this Battle of the Lys might be turned into a major effort. The British, however, after being driven back 10 miles, halted the Germans short of Hazebrouck. French reinforcements began to come up and, when the Germans had taken Kemmel Hill (April 25), Ludendorff decided to suspend exploitation of the advance, for fear of a counterstroke against his front’s new bulge.

Thus far Ludendorff had fallen short of strategic results, but he could claim huge tactical successes—the British casualties alone amounted to more than 300,000. Ten British divisions had to be broken up temporarily, while the German strength mounted to 208 divisions, of which 80 were still in reserve. A restoration of the balance, however, was now in sight. A dozen U.S. divisions had arrived in France, and great efforts were being made to swell the stream. Furthermore, Pershing, the U.S. commander, had placed his troops at Foch’s disposal for use wherever required.

Ludendorff finally launched “ Blücher” on May 27, on a front extending from Coucy, north of Soissons, eastward toward Reims. The Germans, with 15 divisions, suddenly attacked the seven French and British divisions opposing them, swarmed over the ridge of the Chemin des Dames and across the Aisne River, and, by May 30, were on the Marne, between Château-Thierry and Dormans. Once again the attack’s initial success went far beyond Ludendorff’s expectation or intention and, when the Germans tried to push westward against the right flank of the Allies’ Compiègne salient, which was sandwiched between the Germans’ Amiens and Champagne bulges, they were checked by counterattacks, which included one sustained for a fortnight from June 6 by U.S. divisions at Belleau Wood (Bois de Belleau). An attack from Noyon, against the left flank of the Compiègne salient, came too late (June 9).

Overtaken by the inordinate fruition of his own offensives, Ludendorff paused for a month’s recuperation. The tactical success of his own blows had been his undoing yielding to their influence, he had pressed each too far and too long, using up his own reserves and causing an undue interval between blows. He had driven three great wedges into the Allied lines, but none had penetrated far enough to sever a vital rail artery, and this strategic failure left the Germans with a front whose several bulges invited flanking counterstrokes. Moreover, Ludendorff had used up many of his shock troops in the attacks, and the remaining troops, though strong in numbers, were relatively lower in quality. The Germans were to end up sustaining a total of 800,000 casualties in their great 1918 offensives. Meanwhile, the Allies were now receiving U.S. troops at the rate of 300,000 men per month.

The next German offensive, which opened the Second Battle of the Marne, was launched in Champagne on July 15. It came to nothing: a German thrust from the front east of Reims toward Châlons-sur-Marne was frustrated by the “ elastic defense” that Pétain had recently been prescribing but that the local commanders had failed to practice against the offensive of May 27. A drive from Dormans, on the left flank of the Germans’ huge Soissons–Reims bulge, across the Marne toward Épernay simply made the Germans’ situation more precarious when Foch’s long-prepared counterstroke was launched on July 18. In this great counterstroke one of Foch’s armies assailed the Germans’ Champagne bulge from the west, another from the southwest, one more from the south, and a fourth from the vicinity of Reims. Masses of light tanks—a weapon on which Ludendorff had placed little reliance, preferring gas instead in his plans for the year—played a vital part in forcing the Germans into a hasty retreat. By August 2 the French had pushed the Champagne front back to a line following the Vesle River from Reims and then along the Aisne to a point west of Soissons.

Having recovered the initiative, the Allies were determined not to lose it, and for their next blow they chose again the front north and south of the Somme. The British 4th Army, including Australian and Canadian forces, with 450 tanks, struck the Germans with maximum surprise on Aug. 8, 1918. Overwhelming the German forward divisions, who had failed to entrench themselves adequately since their recent occupation of the “Michael” bulge, the 4th Army advanced steadily for four days, taking 21,000 prisoners and inflicting as many or more casualties at the cost of only about 20,000 casualties to itself, and halting only when it reached the desolation of the old battlefields of 1916. Several German divisions simply collapsed in the face of the offensive, their troops either fleeing or surrendering. The Battle of Amiens was thus a striking material and moral success for the Allies. Ludendorff put it differently: “August 8 was the black day of the German Army in the history of the war.…It put the decline of our fighting power beyond all doubt.…The war must be ended.” He informed Emperor William II and Germany’s political chiefs that peace negotiations should be opened before the situation became worse, as it must. The conclusions reached at a German Crown Council held at Spa were that “We can no longer hope to break the war-will of our enemies by military operations,” and “the objects of our strategy must be to paralyse the enemy’s war-will gradually by a strategic defensive.” In other words, the German high command had abandoned hope of victory or even of holding their gains and hoped only to avoid surrender.

Meanwhile, the French had retaken Montdidier and were thrusting toward Lassigny (between Roye and Noyon) and on August 17 they began a new drive from the Compiègne salient south of Noyon. Then, in the fourth week of August, two more British armies went into action on the Arras–Albert sector of the front, the one advancing directly eastward on Bapaume, the other operating farther to the north. From then on Foch delivered a series of hammer blows along the length of the German front, launching a series of rapid attacks at different points, each broken off as soon as its initial impetus waned, and all close enough in time to attract German reserves, which consequently were unavailable to defend against the next Allied attack along a different part of the front. By the early days of September the Germans were back where they had been before March 1918—behind the Hindenburg Line.

The Allies’ recovery was consummated by the first feat executed by Pershing’s U.S. forces as an independent army (hitherto the U.S. divisions in France had fought only in support of the major French or British units): the U.S. 1st Army on September 12 erased the triangular Saint-Mihiel salient that the Germans had been occupying since 1914 (between Verdun and Nancy).

The clear evidence of the Germans’ decline decided Foch to seek victory in the coming autumn of 1918 instead of postponing the attempt until 1919. All the Allied armies in the west were to combine in a simultaneous offensive.


Lachish (modern-day Tell ed-Duweir, Israel), lies about 800 kilometres south-west of the Assyrian heartland, but only 40 kilometres south-west of Jerusalem. It was a critical point, linking Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean and the immense wealth of Egypt. By 701 BCE, Lachish was a heavily fortified city, located on a hill. It was the 2nd city, after Jerusalem (within the Kingdom of Judah), which had just managed to stay independent of the Assyrians. At the end of the 8th century BCE, King Hezekiah of Judah made a fatal mistake he rebelled, supported by the Egyptians, against Sennacherib and declined to pay tribute.

Battle of the Aisne, 57 B.C. - History

The Bible is a collection of books that are canonized in Judaism and Christianity and are considered holy and sacred. Different sects and denominations may have different books in their canons. Below are 39 books from the Old Testament and 27 from the New Testament – all of which list the author and chapters, as well as the approximated dates it was written.

Old Testament

The Pentateuch

Written by Moses between 1440-1400 BC 50 Chapters
The term “genesis,” which refers to the origin of something, is an apt name for this book. It covers the beginning of life, mankind, nations and the redemption for sin. Genesis also tells the stories of the major patriarchs of the human race, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph and prophecies of God’s “Chosen People”.

Written by Moses between 1440-1400 BC 40 Chapters
The book of Exodus tells the story of God’s chosen people delivered from slavery through Moses, a prophet. It tells of their 40-year journey through the desert on the way to the Promised Land. The giving of the Ten Commandments and instructions for building of the Tabernacle are detailed in this book.

Written by Moses between 1440 and 1400 BC 27 Chapters
This third book of the Bible details the laws and rituals given to the Tribe of Levi, the priestly tribe. Some of the common themes throughout Leviticus include God’s holiness, the reason mankind needs atonement for sin, and the reason for a mediator between God and man.

Written by Moses between 1440 and 1400 BC 36 Chapters
Numbers tells of how God’s people were supposed to inherit the Promised Land, but forfeited the right because of continued sin and complaining. As a result, God judged many who were not faithful to Him. This book concludes with the next generation of Israelites under the leadership of Moses.

Written by Moses between 1440 and 1400 BC 34 Chapters
This last book of the Torah includes three speeches given by Moses to the Israelite. These include a summary of the previous generation’s 40-year journey, an encouragement to follow the law, comforting words regarding repentance and the importance of the allegiance to One God.


Written by Joshua between 1400 and 1390 BC 24 Chapters
Joshua bridges the first five books of with the historical books. The first 23 chapters discuss how the land is divided for the tribes in Israel. The last two chapters include speeches from Joshua which challenge the hearers to renew their commitment to God and to keep the law of Moses.

Written by Samuel between 1374 and 1129 BC 21 Chapters
This book helps describe the leaders of Israel from the time after Joshua died until Samuel’s birth, which is often referred to as an age of darkness for Hebrews. There are 13 judges discussed in the book, but the three most prominent ones are Gideon, Deborah and Samson.

Written by Samuel between 1375 and 1050 BC 4 Chapters
Ruth shows a brighter side to Hebrew history than the previous book – Judges. It discusses the loyal devotion and relationship that Ruth had to her mother-in-law and the love that the two had for each other.

I Samuel and
II Samuel
Written by Samuel & Nathan between 1043 and 930 BC 55 Chapters
Samuel was a major figure in Hebrew history and these two books together tell his story. The narrative discusses the time from the birth of Samuel until King David’s reign comes to an end. The first book focuses on Israel’s switch from judges to a monarchy while the second book focuses on a theocratic monarchy ordained by God.

I Kings and
II Kings
Written by Jeremiah between 1000 and 600 BC 47 Chapters
Continuing from the two books of Samuel, I and II Kings recount King David’s final days along with the fall of Israel (721 BC) and Judah (586 BC). All four books combined show how Israel rose, divided, and fell.

I Chronicles
and II Chronicles
Written by Ezra between 450 and 425 BC 65 Chapters
The two books of Chronicles help tie up some loose ends from the previous books. They summarize much of the Hebrew history that was discussed in the previous four books with mentions of earlier times that date back to Genesis.

Written by Ezra between 538 and 450 BC 10 Chapters
Ezra is one of the most respected people in Hebrew history because he helped lead a large number of exiles from Babylon back to their home in Jerusalem. The Book of Ezra tells of this harrowing act and how he cleansed the community upon his return.

Written by Nehemiah between 445 and 425 BC 13 Chapters
This historical book discusses the details of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem following the return of the Jews from Babylonian exile. Along with Ezra, these two books are important because they include firsthand information concerning the months and years immediately after the exile.

Written by Mordecai between 483 and 471 BC 10 Chapters
Esther was a Jewish queen who risked her life to save many Jews from being killed. This book tells of her struggles and how she rose to the position of queen and her loyalty to her people.

Poetical Books

Written by Moses between 2000 and 1800 BC 42 Chapters
This book speaks to the eternal question, “Why do good people suffer?” It includes conversations between God and Satan about Job, a righteous man. When Job loses everything he has in life, how does he react?

Written by David, Moses between 1440 and 550 BC 150 Chapters
The word Psalms translates to “The Book of Praise.” These 150 chapters were written by various authors, including David, Moses, Solomon and some anonymous authors. Throughout the book, the themes of trusting God and appealing to Him in our troubled times is woven into the poetic language.

Written by Solomon, Agur, Lemuel around 950 BC 31 Chapters
Written mostly by King Solomon, Proverbs is a collection of short sayings that have practical applications for everyday life. Some common themes include controlling your speech, how to have good relationships with others and other useful pieces of wisdom.

Written by Solomon around 935 BC 12 Chapters
This book written about King Solomon stresses the fact that everything “under the sun” is vain and the main focus should always be on things “above the sun,” or God. The author discusses the fact that everybody will die and the importance of fearing God and keeping His commandments.

Song of Solomon
Written by Solomon around 950 BC 8 Chapters
One of the more controversial books in the Bible is the Song of Solomon because many readers interpret it as having a sexual theme. However, this collection of marriage songs is more likely designed to depict Christ’s love for His Church.

4 Major Prophets

Written by Isaiah between 700 and 680 BC 66 Chapters
This book records the message of Isaiah, one of the major prophets of the Old Testament. The message includes judgment for sins, comfort for those who have been exiled, and in-depth descriptions of the coming Christ.

Written by Jeremiah between 627 and 580 BC 52 Chapters
When God’s chosen people turned their backs on Him, Jeremiah was the prophet who stood alone. He announces that Judah will be destroyed and he envisioned a time of a new covenant between God and His people.

Written by Jeremiah between 586 and 538 BC 5 Chapters
Lamentations includes five poems about the sadness of Jerusalem’s destruction in 586 BC. The writer of this book confesses sin for his people and prays for God to restore them to their home.

Written by Ezekiel between 597 and 571 BC 48 Chapters
Ezekiel was a prophet exiled to Babylon, which is where he received his calling to speak to the people for God. The first half of the book discusses events occurring before the fall of Jerusalem and God’s judgment for sin. The second half is more encouraging with words of hope for those exiled who want to return to their homeland.

Written by Daniel about 535 BC 12 Chapters
Many look to the Book of Daniel as one of the apocalyptic visions of the end of time. Others see it as little more than a series of visions about the circumstances the people found themselves in during the exile. There are graphic descriptions of events that ultimately refer to victory for God’s people.

12 Minor Prophets

Written by Hosea around 715 BC 14 Chapters
During one of Israel’s darkest hours, God called the prophet Hosea to be his spokesperson. Hosea was a brokenhearted man because of the people’s indifference toward God, but his wife’s infidelity just made things worse. The prophet pleads with his people to repent and turn back towards God for compassion in their lives.

Written by Joel between 835 and 796 BC 3 Chapters
One of the major themes of the Book of Joel is repentance for sins. The prophet Joel describes a horrible drought combined with a plague of locusts followed by blessings from God and the coming judgment. The book is often discussed as symbolic of an apocalyptic future.

Written by Amos around 750 BC 9 Chapters
Amos was one of the most intolerant prophets regarding sin and he was not afraid to confront it with his people. He speaks a lot about God’s judgment on sin, but he concludes his message with the promise that God will restore those who are righteous.

Written by Obadiah about 840 or 586 BC 1 Chapter
Although Obadiah is only one chapter, it is a powerful book that tells of the destruction of Edom for its sins. Much of Obadiah’s message is regarding God’s judgment on the sinful nations.

Written by Jonah about 760 BC 4 Chapters
The Book of Jonah tells a story about a prophet whom God told to go preach to a certain city, but he turned and ran the other way. After being swallowed and coughed up by a giant whale, he reluctantly did what God told him to do.

Written by Micah around 760 BC 7 Chapters
Micah brought a message that was not unlike Amos’ message. He denounces sin without apology and uses bold language to do so. This prophet also predicts the birthplace of Jesus and tells the people of assured deliverance through the coming Messiah.

Written by Nahum between 663 and 612 BC 3 Chapters
These three chapters discuss the destruction of Nineveh, which was the main city in Assyria at the time. His words were designed to bring comfort to those he spoke to by telling them that God would soon destroy their oppressors.

Written by Habakkuk between 612 and 588 BC 3 Chapters
Habakkuk records a dialogue between this prophet and God Himself. After Habakkuk questions the Lord, he comes through the conversation with a stronger and better understanding of his faith.

Written by Zephaniah between 640 and 609 BC 3 Chapters
The Book of Zephaniah continues the themes of most prophets – God’s judgment and His promise of salvation. Like the others, he strongly encourages his people to repent so God can dwell with them.

Written by Haggai about 520 BC 2 Chapters
Following the exile, Haggai prophecies on behalf of God about things to come, including rebuilding the second Temple which was delayed for over 20 years.

Written by Zechariah between 520 and 518 BC 14 Chapters
As with many of the prophetic books, Zechariah’s is seen as being symbolic of the apocalypse as well. The first part of the book discusses the construction of the Temple. The last several chapters, however, discuss the “end times,” including the judgment of God on all nations and the restoration of Israel.

Written by Malachi between 600 and 450 BC 4 Chapters
Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament as well as the last words spoken by God through a prophet for the next 400 years. It tells of God’s blessings for those who repent, how God will purify and judge all nations and the return of Elijah.

New Testament

4 Gospels

Written by Matthew between 60 and 65 AD 28 Chapters
The Gospel of Matthew was written with a Jewish audience in mind. It is the most comprehensive of the four gospels because the author’s purpose was to convince the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah they had been expecting.

Written by Mark between 55 and 65 AD 16 Chapters
Although Mark is the shortest of the four gospels, scholars believe it was the earliest one that was written. Instead of beginning with the birth of Jesus, Mark starts his gospel off with the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. This book’s focus is on the miracles of Jesus to show that He was the divine Christ.

Written by Luke about 60 AD 24 Chapters
The purpose for the Gospel of Luke was to show that Jesus was both a teacher and a healer. As a physician, Luke focused on the details that he found as a result of interviewing eyewitnesses for firsthand accounts of Jesus’ life and works.

Written by John between 85 and 90 AD 21 Chapters
John often refers to himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” throughout his gospel. His focus is on confirming that Jesus was indeed God’s son. In addition to describing events much like the three previous gospels, John also interprets them in a spiritual context.


Written by Luke between 63 and 70 AD 28 Chapters
This is the only historical book in the New Testament, but it describes the development of the early church following the death and ascension of Jesus. It begins with a discussion of the days in Jerusalem following the event and then describes several missionary endeavors by the apostles and more.

Pauline Epistles

Written by Paul about 58 AD 16 Chapters
The Apostle Paul wrote much of the New Testament and Romans is the first and longest book with his authorship. These books are actually letters to various churches. This is a letter to the Roman church and it discusses salvation, God’s grace, sin and spiritual advice for all readers.

I Corinthians
Written by Paul about 54 AD 16 Chapters
Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth is about many things, namely a description of various spiritual gifts, how to love one another in Christ, the importance of Jesus’ resurrection and more. The first section of this book also discusses some doctrinal issues that were plaguing the church at the time.

II Corinthians
Written by Paul about 55 AD 13 Chapters
Some people at Corinth were questioning whether or not Paul was a real apostle of Christ, so he wrote this letter in defense of his apostleship. He also discusses how to care for the poor who live in Jerusalem.

Written by Paul about 49 AD 6 Chapters
Paul’s main focus when writing to the Galatians was the freedom that is found in Christ. He discusses the problem with placing too much importance on the Law as well as other Christian doctrines, including the fruits of the spirit and the fruits of the flesh.

Written by Paul about 60 AD 6 Chapters
The main theme throughout Ephesians is that the church is essentially the body of Christ. Paul discusses how fellow brothers and sisters in Christ should be unified in purpose and how they can fight against spiritual warfare by living a holy and pure life that is inspired by Jesus Christ.

Written by Paul between 61 and 65 AD 4 Chapters
While imprisoned, Paul pens a letter to the church in Philippi to thank them for their generosity and their love. He goes on to discuss how Christ was humble and how His servants should be the same way. He also discusses his goals of being perfect while maintaining humility in his life.

Written by Paul between 55 and 63 AD 4 Chapters
Paul stresses the fact in Colossians that Jesus was around when the world was created and how Christ rules supreme over all creation. There are also some rules of conduct discussed, including ideas about food consumption, heresies, and more.

I Thessalonians
Written by Paul about 50 AD 5 Chapters
In this letter, Paul tells the church at Thessalonica that he is sending Timothy, a delegate, to them. He discusses issues like relationships between fellow Christians, mourning loved ones who have passed on and the importance of preparing themselves for God’s return.

II Thessalonians
Written by Paul about 50 AD 3 Chapters
As with all his letters, Paul opens II Thessalonians with a greeting and encouraging words. One of the major themes in this letter is the second coming of Christ. Paul tells the people of the church to stay firm in their beliefs so they can be ready when the Day of the Lord arrives.

I Timothy
Written by Paul around 64 AD 6 Chapters
Paul’s first letter to Timothy, his younger colleague, discusses instructions and responsibilities for operating a church body. Paul warns Timothy about several issues that he will encounter, including false doctrines, how women can serve in the church and the qualifications someone must have before being a church leader.

II Timothy
Written by Paul around 63 AD 4 Chapters
Because Timothy was young, Paul wanted to encourage him as much as possible. In this letter to the young Timothy, Paul tells him to be bold in spirit and to be unafraid when telling about Jesus.

Written by Paul around 64 AD 3 Chapters
Titus was another young preacher whom Paul mentored. Much like the letters to Timothy, Paul writes this epistle to help encourage Titus to stay strong. He also discusses issues that Titus will likely encounter and the best ways to deal with those problems as they arise.

Written by Paul between 56 and 65 AD 1 Chapter
Philemon was a runaway slave in search of freedom. Paul writes this letter to the slave’s owner to plead with him to forgive him and let him return as a brother in Christ.

Written by Paul around 65 AD 13 Chapters
The Epistle of Hebrews was written to a group of Christians who were thinking about going back to the ways of Judaism. The author (possibly Paul) discusses how Jesus reigns over the Old Testament and performed the ultimate sacrifice for their sins.

Other Epistles

Written by James around 49 AD 5 Chapters
The Epistle of James has a lot of information for Christian believers. The sections range from discussing faith and wisdom to being friends with the world and tips for controlling your words. There are also warnings about being boastful, being partial and loving money.

I Peter
Written by Peter between 64 and 65 AD 5 Chapters
Peter wrote this epistle to warn of potential discrimination and persecution of Christians, either in the present time or many years in the future. He encourages believers to be steadfast and to rejoice in their sufferings because of the rewards that await.

II Peter
Written by Peter about 67 AD 3 Chapters
This epistle is more encouragement to believers for when they face persecution. Peter reminds them that there will be false teachers who will try to preach a different message than what they have learned. He stresses that it is important to remember that God will keep His promises to those who remain faithful.

I John,
II John,
& III John
Written by John between 85 and 90 AD 7 Chapters
These three epistles, written by the same person who wrote the Gospel of John, are addressed to different people. The messages throughout these three letters include fellowshipping with other believers, loving each other, how to walk closer to God and other topics related to the Christian lifestyle.

Written by Jude about 65 AD 1 Chapter
The main focus of this short book is to expose false prophets and teachers who try to lead believers astray. It discusses the importance of faith and knowing what you believe in order to resist false teachings.


Written by John about 90 AD 22 Chapters
This is one of the most discussed and controversial books in the Hebrew Bible. Many scholars believe it is a detailed and graphic look into the future to the end of time as we know it. Others believe it is a description of the Roman Empire.


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