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Hadrian's Wall AD 122-410 (Fortress, 2) Paperback – February 19, 2003


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Hadrian's Wall AD 122-410 (Fortress, 2) + Rome's Northern Frontier AD 70-235: Beyond Hadrian's Wall (Fortress) + Roman Legionary Fortresses 27 BC-AD 378
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Product Details

  • Series: Fortress (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (February 19, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841764302
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841764306
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,130,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr Nic Fields started his career as a biochemist before joining the Royal Marines. Having left the Navy, he went back to University and completed a BA and PhD in Ancient History at the University of Newcastle. He was Assistant Director at the British School of Archaeology, Athens, and is now a lecturer in Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh.

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Customer Reviews

It was a good effort, but Nic Fields just wasn't able to do it.
Wallace V. French III
The illustrations - plates, pictures and maps - are also well chosen and fit very well with the text.
JPS
For those interested, there is listing of books for further reading and research.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By B. Marshall on October 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am afraid I am going to have to disagree with the previous reviews of this book. Knowing a little about Osprey publishing and the way the set their guidlines for authors, I feel the brevity was in no way Dr. Fields fault. This conclusion was drawn particularly from the fact that Osprey required a certain word limit which was met in this 64 page volume.

That said I also have to disagree with the previous entries concerning the doctrinal importance and context of Hadrian's Wall. Indeed I feel Dr. Fields is correct in his assertion that Hadrian's wall was not a defensive point, but a staging point for operations further afield and a watch station to better react to problems before they got to the wall. As Webster in his 1998 republication of The Roman Imperial Army noted that the purpose of the wall was to "impose total control over all traffic passing in and out of the Province, with provision for the collection of fees, tolls and duties and a thorough inspection of goods and persons. Its military purpose is less clear, but it certainly could never have been used as a fighting platform, only as a patrol track. An efficient signalling system and alert surveillance by forwads units would have made it possible for command HQ to order units to move forward through the fort and milecastle gateways to any area to deal with hostile elements." This passage sums up Hadrian's Wall to 'T'. The actual garrison at any given locality on Hadrian's wall couldn't have held it for any length of time against a determined enemy. In addition to this fact it is worth noting that the emperor to succeed Hadrian, Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161), in short order moved the frontier to the lowlands of Scotland where he did in fact build earthen fortifications.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on March 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
Hadrian's Wall AD 122 - 410 is the second in Osprey's new Fortress series that aims to summarize the "design, technology and history of key fortresses, strategic positions and defensive systems." This new series should serve to fill in many of the gaps of traditional military history, by providing greater detail on the fortresses that have shaped warfare throughout the centuries. Having spent a day exploring Hadrian's Wall several years ago, I felt that few could fail to be impressed by this unique remnant of Roman military engineering. Unfortunately, I wish I could say that same about Osprey's Fortress #2, but I cannot. Dr. Nic Fields, a professor in Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh, knows his material but writes in the typical horrid British academic style that reduces all the essential elements of this topic to a opaque mush. Like many academics who write about ancient military history, Fields is too-often sidetracked by esoteric archaeological issues and cannot focus on the actual military aspects of his subject. Furthermore, Fields has borrowed liberally from D.J. Breeze's earlier works on Hadrian's Wall and readers would be advised to check out that author's work in preference to this volume.
Hadrian's Wall AD 122 - 410 begins with a description of the various types of Roman fortifications, the origins of the wall and a very brief chronology. The heart of the book lies in the chapters discussing the anatomy of the wall, the wall's construction, the function of the wall, it's garrison and life on the wall. The author includes three low-quality 2-D maps, all of which are inferior to those in the Visitor's Guide one can purchase on the modern site of the wall.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Wallace V. French III on May 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
Trying to cover the history, construction, use, and importance of Hadrian's Wall in 64 pages is impossible. It was a good effort, but Nic Fields just wasn't able to do it. I like this Fortress series from Osprey, and I like the brevity of these books, but Hadrian's Wall was a little too brief. One area Fields could have covered at least a little bit was that of the Emperor Hadrian himself and the reasons why he built this wall in the first place. Even though Fields doesn't believe the Roman army was a defensive one; Hadrian tried very had to outline the empire and create "defensive" lines like that of the wall. The previous review pretty much covered everything about this book. However, I will add that the illustrations and photos are wonderful and you will enjoy them. This is the first book I've read where I've wanted to purchase the original artwork. The nice thing is I will be able to buy them because Osprey has made available the email address and website of the company that produced the artwork. This book is very easy to read and the illustrations make this book even shorter than 64 pages. I finished reading this book recently on a flight from Frankfurt to Philadelphia. It was the only book I brought with me and I messed up because on an eight-hour flight I was left with nothing to read after three hours. Osprey books are suppose to be good introductions to topics, but this one doesn't quite cut it and I would suggest a different book on the subject or maybe even a good biography on Hadrian like Hadrian: The Restless Emperor by Anthony Birley. Birley covers Hadrian's Wall and his journey to Britain in great detail.
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