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Warrior 72: Imperial Roman Legionary AD 161-284 Paperback – December 17, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the most exciting book I've read about the Roman army in a long time. It is an essential addition to the library of anyone interested in the Roman army or military history in general.
Since this book is something of a sequel to the previous legionary title by Cowan, it contains similar but even more concise information on the experiences of the soldier in the army, as well as the chain of command.
Overall, Cowan paints the image of the 3rd Century Roman legionary as a soldier perhaps even better than his ancestors of Early Imperial Rome. It was perhaps more the stupidity of their leaders, and the general chaos of the mid 3rd Century that gives these soldiers their undue reputation for lack of quality. These troopers, lighter in arms than their ancestors and still fighting with javelin, long sword, and dagger, faced enemies ranging from seething Gothic hordes to cunning Parthian and Persian horsemen, and often emerged victorious.
The eight full-color plates by Angus McBride are awesome, depicting troopers of various legions and posts in their typical clothing and armor. The main text and the plate commentary both look at the armor and clothing, but not with overmuch detail. The author does not dig into the debate as to whether or not the 3rd Century legionary typically wore armor.Read more ›
The other two main qualities of this book are to focus on a period which had traditionally been rather poorly covered: the third century crisis and, perhaps more accurately for this title, to show how the Roman Legionary and Roman Legions evolved and responded to this crisis. Two points were of particular interest to me. One was to show that the need for a central reserve force emerged already under the reign of Septimius Severus, and was further developed by Gallienus (but with a stronger emphasis on cavalry), and by some of his immediate successors (Aurelian and Probus) well before the Tetrarchy and the reign of Constantine. The second was to show that, contrary to what sometimes used to be asserted, this did not result in a demise of the Legionary but simply in a breaking up of the Legions into smaller components. Some of these would remain stationed in one or several forts on the frontiers whereas other components, which had probably started off as ad hoc detachments (vexillatio) for specific campaigns became the "new" Diocletianic legions of 800 to 1200 strong.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Books about specfic periods in history are very informative and give you the information specfic to AD161-284 in Roman history. Read morePublished on April 9, 2013 by m ziemann
Ross Cowen goes great guns here, finaly there is some real photos of late roman legionaries, not the hollywood rubbish. Read morePublished on June 26, 2011 by Robbows