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Arthur and the Anglo-Saxon Wars (Men-at-Arms) Paperback – March 26, 1984
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Top Customer Reviews
David Nicolle does his best, as always, at reading between the lines of chronicles, art, and many works that were written well after the fact to try and peice together informaion on this broad time period. His notes on weapons, armour, and tactics are very solid, not too far out on speculation, yet not so conservative to stifle any real potentiallities. "Arthur" himself makes only a fleeting appearance in these pages, which is appropriate.
Angus McBride (absolutely no relation) does his usual magnificent job of illustrating the warriors of the era. Not only does he show a fine sense of detail, but the paintings are characters, not merely "soldiers on parade" -- each of them is a unique individual and looks at home and quite comfortable (as well as one can be) in the armour worn.
The book has also become somewhat dated, particularly with regards to the sections on post-Roman Britain and the Early Anglo-Saxons, where more recent archeological finds have tended to modify historians perspectives. It also has some flaws and imprecisions, for instance in the chronology which mentions that the last Roman regular troops were withdrawn in 407, which is somewhat unlikely. Another simplification is the dating of the "traditional death of Arthur", supposed to be in AD 537 where, essentially, we simply do not know for certain and some historians even dispute whether this legendary character ever existed. By and large, however, this is a relatively good, even if high level, introduction into the so-called "Dark Ages".
The main merit of this book nowadays lies probably with its plates from Angus McBride which are simply excellent and would be particularly useful for a wargamer wanting to paint his/her figurines, for instance. My favorites were the Late Roman and Romano-British ones, but the others are also very good.
The text is divided in the following parts: introduction, chronology, the Arthurian age, Saxon and Celt, Britain and the Vikings.
The text provides a brief but very good introduction to the subject (Britain from the end of Roman dominion to the battle of Hastings) and is complemented by a fairly good bibliography (for further reading on the subject); perhaps this bibliography could be updated by the publishers or author (online?) as the book was published 20 years ago.
As I am an amateur illustrator I will take a little more space talking about the colour plates.
Honestly I can say that all of them are great!
When I got the book and was looking at the colour plates, every new one astonished me; the details, the composition and the atmosphere are superb in all of the illustration.
Next I will talk about each plate and present some of the best aspects of each one.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There's a little bit on King Arthur but the name itself isn't entirely accurate. It's more about the historic time period of the Anglo-Saxon wars, and less about who King Arthur... Read morePublished 6 months ago by tayloao
This happens to be the first Osprey title I ever purchased, many years ago. (They were still using the cursive title font! Read morePublished on September 26, 2013 by Nathan Ebersole
This book has virtually nothing to do with the 'Arthurian' period, much less literature. It generally focuses on giving a brief overview of British arms, armor, and armies between... Read morePublished on April 1, 2007 by K. Murphy
This Osprey covers a pretty large period of time, but gives a good overview of the period in British history from the withdrawal of the Romans to the establishment of the... Read morePublished on October 21, 2005 by Joshua H. Bird
If you want to find out about the time of Darkness for the sceptor island after the Romans left, then here you go. Read morePublished on July 2, 2005 by D. D Lawson
Dr. Nicolle once again sheds light on an era that is foggy. Anyone interested in the peoples that rose up from the ashes of Rome will find this book stimulating. Read morePublished on August 6, 2002 by ignorance is bliss