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The Roman Army: A Social and Institutional History Paperback – October 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195328787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195328783
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.2 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,187,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up—This informative, well-researched volume skillfully covers the history of this formidable force from the beginnings of the Roman Empire in the eighth century B.C.E. until its fall in the late fifth century A.D. The broad spectrum of subjects, such as the history, culture, and organization of the army; weapons; morale and discipline; renowned soldiers and battles; and the army, both in peacetime and at war, are arranged thematically. Black-and-white photographs complement the text. An appendix detailing rank structure in the army, a user-friendly glossary, a complete bibliography, and an accurate index round out the package. With its scholarly tone, Southern's work is best suited for Advanced Placement World History students.—Hillary Donitz-Goldstein, formerly of the New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Southern knows her readership well and provides an easily accessible introduction to the world of the Roman Army. David W. Madsen, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Community learning librarian and experienced scholar Pat Southern presents The Roman Army: A Social And Institutional History, an in-depth, comprehensive examination of a fighting force that lasted nearly 1,000 years. Organized thematically, and drawing heavily upon archaeological and historical evidence including letters from Roman soldiers to their relatives at home, The Roman Army explores the value systems, bureaucracy, traditions, culture, daily life, and much more of this highly organized fighting institution, and the meticulous manner in which payment for the soldiers was calculated with deductions for food, clothing, weapons, and other expenses. A glossary and index round out this fascinating, "must-have" reference for military historians and scholars of the Roman empire.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By SkookumPete on January 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent survey, covering a broad range of topics that extend somewhat beyond what the subtitle might suggest, such as weaponry. Southern takes into account recent archaeological finds, which continue to modify our view of Roman military history. It's a shame, though, to see what is essentially a scholarly book marred by that bane of sociology texts: inline references rather than footnotes. Don't writers and editors understand that these clutter the text and detract from readability?
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By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is an interesting and at times fascinating book on the Roman army, although it also has limits, some of which are acknowledged by the author herself.

To begin with these, and irrespective of the author’s considerable knowledge and efforts, it is quite impossible to write the definitive history about the Roman army, not even in four hundred pages. Patricia Southern gives a number of reasons for this throughout her book. The main one relates to the shortcomings of our sources which are largely incomplete. Many written sources no longer exist and many sites where archaeology might make major finds cannot be accessed. Moreover, what has survived and what is now lost owes a good deal to chance. One illustration of this is that Caesar would probably not have acquired quite the same the standing he has if his “war diaries” on the Gallic and Civil wars had not been preserved. Other generals or emperors, such as Corbulo or Trajan, who also wrote such diaries, now lost, would have been much better known to us had these been preserved in some form.

Another limitation of this book, which may also be a quality depending on your perspective, is that it is a bit of a “jack of all trades”. It is a social and institutional history of the Roman army, its organisation and its culture. It is also a bit of an overview, meaning that it contains a bit of everything and does not always devote enough space in discussing the issues in depth. To illustrate, you have the last but one section which is titled “Great soldiers and Battles” and which is a collection of vignettes briefly presenting a selection of outstanding Roman generals, summarising their careers and sketching some of the most important battles fought by the Roman Army.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bonnie_blu on July 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although this is a better-than-average review of the Roman army, once again, an author who is a supposed expert on ancient Rome perpetuates the (long disproven) contention that Caesar burned the Alexandrian Library. This kind of error lessens the overall worth of the book.
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David A. Storm on October 6, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I did not enjoy this book as much as her book on the Roman Empire. I never really felt I learned very much after a lot of reading. I appreciate that there are not many sources, does it have to be repeated 1000 times. Make the book shorter if you don't have much to say.
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