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The Logistics of the Roman Army at War, (264 B.C., A.D. 235) (Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition) Hardcover – November, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-9004112711 ISBN-10: 9004112715 Edition: 1St Edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition (Book 23)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Pub; 1St Edition edition (November 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9004112715
  • ISBN-13: 978-9004112711
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,809,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'...the first accessible account of this fascinating subject in English, R.'s book is guaranteed a place on every Roman military bookshelf.' Duncan B. Campbell, Journal of Roman Studies, 2000. '...a major contribution to the study of an important aspect of the functioning of the Roman army.' Israel Shatzman, Scripta Classica Israelica, 2000. '...this is the most comprehensive and detailed investigation on the subject to appear in English.' Stefan G. Chrissanthos, Ancient History Bulletin, 1999.

About the Author

Jonathan P. Roth, Ph.D. (1991) in History, Columbia University, is an Assistant Professor of History at San Jose State University. He has published a number of articles on Roman military history and is Secretary/Treasurer of the Society of Ancient Military Historians.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
71%
4 star
14%
3 star
14%
2 star
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See all 7 customer reviews
I highly recommend it to those who want to go beyond the "who" and the "what" of Roman military history.
Arnold L. Roberts
Roth's book is an exceptional analysis of the logistical capabilities of the Roman Republic and Empire from the Punic Wars to the Principate.
bonnie_blu
Even in paperback format, this is a rather expensive book although, for me at least, it was worth every penny.
JPS

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Peters on April 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With a book this expensive you would think they could have found a decent editor, but such is not the case. This book is filled with hundreds of grammar and spelling errors (at times several on a single page) that would have been caught by even the most casual editorial review or even a read-through by an English 101 student. The editor of this volume (William V. Harris) should be ashamed to have his name attached to it.
If bad editing does not bother you, then I can recommend this book with five stars. It retreads a lot of ground in the field, but the author deftly combines a number of sources into a unified whole. Although by no means worth the $135 if you are simply a casual reader, the first two chapters alone (1. Supply Needs and Rations, 2. Packs, Trains and Servants) make the book *well* worth it for military historians hungry for hard numbers and thoughtful extrapolation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Arnold L. Roberts on July 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For me this was a VERY expensive book, but it provided me with the answer to the question of not what the roman army did but how they were able to get their troops to the right place, at the right time and in condition to whip their opponents. Parts of this book reminded me of the Red Ball Express feeding Patton's army after his breakout. I highly recommend it to those who want to go beyond the "who" and the "what" of Roman military history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bonnie_blu on April 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Roth's book is an exceptional analysis of the logistical capabilities of the Roman Republic and Empire from the Punic Wars to the Principate. The book covers all aspects of logistics, including food, water, firewood, cavalry horses, pack animals, metal, clothing, medical care, artillery, etc. Roth also clearly shows how innovative the Roman logistical system was and how its absolutely amazing efficiency was more than a little responsible for the army's successes. No state had ever developed the full-fledged logistical system that the Romans did, and no state would until modern times. This book is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in ancient Roman military history.

My only complaint about this very expensive book is that the editing is terrible. There are so many editing errors, that I hope the publisher and/or author got their money back.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 8, 2015
Format: Paperback
This is a rather superb piece of scholarship on the logistics of the Roman Army over a period of 500 years from the beginning of the First Punic War (264 BC) to the death of Emperor Alexander Severus (AD 235), the beginning of the so-called “Crisis of the Third century” and the end of the Principate.

As the back page text of this book does state rather accurately and without any “sales pitch” (a relief, for once!), the author has relied on a wide variety of sources, literary, documentary and archaeological, but also epigraphical (writing on stones). This was perhaps the first remarkable feature of this book: the sheer amount of work – the modern expression would be data mining – involved in producing it is quite astonishing since the author has had to comb through just about all of the sources covering some five centuries of Roman history.

The second major quality of this book is that it is nevertheless written is a very readable style. The author’s ideas are clearly expressed in simple English (no jargon and no “fancy” terms) and each idea is followed and illustrated by multiple examples drawn from across the whole period. This could, however, be a bit of a problem for some for it is clearly preferable for the reader to have significant amount of background knowledge in Roman military to fully appreciate the contents of this book.

A third aspect is that the author systematically reviews each aspect of logistics and devotes a specific chapter to it: supply needs and rations (chapter 1); packs, trains and servants (chapter 2); forage, requisition and pillage (chapter 3); supply lines (chapter 4); sources of supply (chapter 5); the administration of logistics (chapter 6) and the impact of logistics on Roman warfare (chapter 7).
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