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The Roman Legions Recreated In Color Photographs (Europa Militaria) Paperback – January 4, 1999
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About the Author
Gerry Embleton has been a leading illustrator and researcher of historical costume since the 1970s, and has illustrated and written Osprey titles on a wide range of subjects for more than 20 years. He is an internationally respected authority on 15th and 18th century costumes in particular. He lives in Switzerland, where since 1988 he has also become well known for designing and creating life-size historical figures for museums.
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Top customer reviews
The purpose of the book is straightforward (Page 4): "This small book is the first attempt to make a fairly comprehensive examination of the development of the Roman legionary solely through the employment of actual full scale reconstructions." The first thing we find is a basic chronology of the Roman Republic and the Empire, giving the reader a sense of what happened when.
The first substantive section is entitled "Legionaries," and provides us a sense of what the Roman military was like--and how it evolved early on, in terms of the "foot soldiers" themselves. The early forces featured several classes, with the better born, the first class, armed in the style of the Greek hoplites and the fifth class equipped with slings (very lightly armed and without armor, as far as I can tell). There is a photo of one of the "re-enactors" in the first class garb on page 7. The use of these re-enactors makes this a most interesting volume, as the reader can get a visual sense of exactly what Roman forces looked like and how they were armed.
Thereafter, brief sections examine Imperial Legionaries (under Augustus), swords (the famous gladius) and daggers, helmets, centurions, and so on. One of my favorite sections is "Legionary Cavalry" (pages 78-83). As the book notes (page 78): ". . .service in the cavalry was the prerogative of the Roman upper class. . . ." The pages with photographs of cavalry re-enactors is fascinating.
On page 90, we learn that there are a number of re-enactor groups, trying, through trial and error and re-enactment of troop movements, to better establish how the Roman military functioned and what their gear was like.
So, a quirky book--but absolutely intriguing! If Roman history and its military has any interest for a reader, then this could be a useful resource for you.