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Roman Soldier vs Germanic Warrior: 1st Century AD (Combat) Paperback – May 20, 2014

11 customer reviews
Book 6 of 7 in the Combat Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lindsay Powell is news editor of Ancient Warfare magazine and author of Eager for Glory: The Untold Story of Drusus the Elder, Conqueror of Germania (Pen and Sword, June 2011) and Germanicus: The Magnificent Life and Mysterious Death of Rome's Most Popular General (Pen and Sword, January 2013). His articles on armies and warfare of the Roman period have appeared in Exercitus, Military Heritage, Strategy & Tactics and on He is a veteran of the acclaimed Ermine Street Guard re-enactment society. He divides his time between Austin, Texas and Wokingham, UK. The author lives in Austin, TX and Wokingham, UK.

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Product Details

  • Series: Combat (Book 6)
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (May 20, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1472803493
  • ISBN-13: 978-1472803498
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.3 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

LINDSAY POWELL is a writer for Ancient Warfare and his articles have appeared in Military Heritage, Desperta Ferro and Strategy & Tactics magazines, as well as on His books have been published by Pen and Sword and Osprey Publishing. He is a member of the Classical Association and the Historical Writers' Association, and a Friend of The Vindolanda Trust.

He is a historical detective motivated to uncover and tell the stories of the under-reported personalities and events of history in the belief that they deserve to be told if our knowledge and understanding of the past is to be complete. A historian, researcher and writer by training and vocation, Lindsay has a particular passion for the military history of the Roman Empire. He scours ancient documents, inscriptions, coins and museums for stories, and archaeological, engineering, medical and scientific reports to reveal deeper truths.

His new book for Pen and Sword is MARCUS AGRIPPA: RIGHT-HAND MAN OF CAESAR AUGUSTUS. It is the first book in English since 1937 to describe the life and achievements of this crucially important figure in Roman history. "The contribution of Marcus Agrippa to Augustus' success cannot be understated. In many ways he is the unsung hero," says Lindsay, "but it was clear from my research that he intended it to be that way". Why is the great mystery explored in the book.

He began writing EAGER FOR GLORY when researching the Battle of Teutoburg, AD 9, and learned of the critical role Nero Claudius Drusus (Drusus the Elder) played in establishing the Romans' presence in Germania Magna. He was astonished to find there was no book about him. EAGER FOR GLORY: The Untold Story of Drusus the Elder, Conqueror or Germania is the book he had hoped to find. "I think readers will be very surprised," he says, "at how important this relative of Augustus was in the formation of the early Roman Empire. He was a successful military commander, a gifted governor, a daring explorer, and a monumental builder. He was a loving husband and father, and a man admired by friend and foe alike. In this book I hope to have restored him to his rightful place in the eventful story of Ancient Rome".

The life of Drusus the Elder's son is the subject of Lindsay's latest book GERMANICUS. "Germanicus Caesar was Rome's most popular general who expunged the shame of the 'Varian Disaster' at Teutoburg in AD 9," says Lindsay. The book tells the story of how he was suddenly thrust into prominence, put down a mutiny of the Rhine legions, led military campaigns in Illyricum and Germania Magna, and earned a reputation as a formidable court advocate. Lindsay examines the possible causes of his mysterious death in Syria and follows the tragic fate of his wife and children. "GERMANICUS tells a compelling tale which inspired generations of painters and playwrights down the centuries and is told for the first time in this new biography," says Lindsay.

Writing COMBAT: ROMAN SOLDIER versus GERMANIC WARRIOR, 1st CENTURY AD enabled Lindsay to dive deeper into the German Wars he described in EAGER FOR GLORY and GERMANICUS. Working with acclaimed illustrator Peter Dennis, the author/artist team have produced a dramatic and visually exciting account of the battles at Teutoburg (AD 9), Idistaviso (AD 16) and Angrivarian Wall (AD 16), seen from the perspective of soldiers on both sides of the battlefields.

Connections between the present and the past also fascinate him. Combining a researcher's skill at finding unexpected connections in everyday events and a historian's knowledge of source material, in ALL THINGS UNDER THE SUN: How Modern Ideas are Really Ancient, Lindsay takes a clear eyed and often witty look at modern times through the longer perspective of ancient history and reveals that, as the old adage goes, 'all things under the Sun, there's nothing new'. "Human societies have faced many of the same problems before," says Lindsay, "and if we're smart, we'll learn from the Past and pick the solutions that worked - and avoid those that didn't."

Lindsay divides his time between Austin, Texas and Wokingham, England.

Visit him at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ky. Col. on June 4, 2014
Format: Paperback
During the reigns of Augustus and subsequently Tiberius, the greatest empire in the western world sought to expand across the Rhine and deep into the heart of what is now Germany. The Cherusci and their allied tribes under the ruthless but tactically gifted Arminius turned those plans on their head. This edition of Osprey's Combat series describes in concise but richly detailed fashion the story of that struggle.

Powell firstly provides readers the strategic situation leading up to the Varian disaster of 9 AD in the Teutoburg. It appears the Romans were actually well on the road to incorporating much of Germania into their empire with the path to eventual colonization. Next the book describes the combatants (German tribesmen, Roman legionaries) including their weapons, training, and individual motivations for fighting. I liked the fact that Powell discussed Roman tactical doctrine, the importance of auxiliaries, and recruitment. The reader will also get some idea of the warrior ethos of the Germanic tribesman although admittedly we know much less about them than their Roman opponents. Sections also cover the major leaders (Varus, Arminius, Germanicus) and subsections are devoted to more minor but still important characters in the struggle.

Powell discusses a number of military operations and campaigns but focuses primarily on three battles. The first is Teutoburg in 9 AD in which Arminius skillfully utilized treacherous deception and terrain to annihilate three Roman legions. There appear to be some differences in the account of the battle in this volume and in the Osprey Campaign series book specifically on that engagement. Powell also rightly notes that Teutoburg was not Rome's greatest defeat.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Doug Welch on July 9, 2014
Format: Paperback
I was curious about this new series from Osprey: Combat. I have all of the Men at Arms, Elite, Campaign and Warrior books on the Roman Army and the ancient Germanics and so I was interested in how this series would differ from previous Osprey volumes. Of course the MAA volume on the Germanics is flimsy and covers the Dacians rather incongruously when I feel they should get their own title. This volume covers the Germanic tribesmen in the era covered in Tacitus's Annals from the Varus disaster through Germanicus's retaliatory campaigns in the aftermath. The illustrations of this volume are first rate and really elevate this title. The original art by Peter Dennis is in the top tier of work done for Osprey in the post-Angus McBride world we now have. The photos of reenactors are a great asset to this book, especially those recreating Germanic warriors. I guess I would have been even more pleased if this book covered the Germanics of age of Marius (the Teutones) or the Marcus Aurelius (the Marcomanni) on through to the Goths, Franks, Allemanni and Burgundians, but perhaps they will get separate editions as they cover time periods as far afield as the ages of Wallenstein, Marlborough, Wellington and Kitchener would be in the modern era. Nevertheless this is an excellent book, much to be recommended to historians of other eras wanting to get up to speed on these two rival armies; wargamers attempting to create their own rules or scenarios would do well by this book in terms of detailed descriptions of the training, leadership, communication and equipment. Overall a very good one-volume summary of the two fighting forces.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Anibal Madeira on January 20, 2015
Format: Paperback
Lindsay Powell already wrote two magnificent works regarding the war between Rome and Germanic tribes through the biographical works “Eager for glory” and “Germanicus”. So Powell is truly in his turf and Osprey was wise to publish this valuable title with this author.

With his typical style to get on with the subject, the author won’t lead you through wild chases. For a book of 80 pages he provides the reader with an astonishing amount of information regarding both the Germanic warrior and the Roman soldier (with heavy focus on the legionary, although in one of the engagements analyzed – River Weser – the romans only deployed in action Auxiliary cavalry). Almost every aspect are compared, including recruitment, motivation, morale, logistics, training, doctrines, tactics, leadership, communication, use of allies and auxiliaries.

The engagements chosen for analyzes were particularly good examples to show the main strengths and weaknesses of both contestants. In Teutoburg pass we find the flexibility of the Germanic warrior and the weakness of a Roman army on the march through rough terrain. In Idistaviso we see the power of combined arms Roman armies in action. In the Angrivarian wall we find the Germanic capability to defend campaign fortifications against better armed foes; the technological edge of the roman army, and the clear superiority of the roman legionary in level ground against the Germanic warrior.

The campaigns of Germanicus are very well interpreted and although very successful tactically in the battlefield, strategically he repeated the blunder of abandoning the province after each campaign (and lose equipment and personnel with those fluvial and sea adventures).
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