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Roman Warfare (Cassell's History of Warfare) Hardcover – December 31, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
Goldsworthy sets his task as tracing the development of warfare within the context of the evolution of the army and state: the nature of the army, why and with what objectives if fought a war, and the way in which it operated, taking into consideration the military institutions of the main enemies in each era. Matters such as arms,armor and equipment are handled succinctly by use of drawings and diagrams, which are especially good at depicting battle tactics for the major encounters. The positions of troops are shown as if from an aerial view rather than the bare schematic bars and squares usually shown.
Despite being touted as a general, introductory text, there is plenty to keep the knowledgeable reader interested as well. I found new insights in every chapter, which follow a chronological rather than topical arrangement.
Being pitched at the general reader, as is required by Cassell's _History of Warfare_ series, the book is heavily illustrated. This has its good and bad features. Mostly, the illustration are taken from columns, gravemarkers, monuments and ruins of forts. They are usually provided with detailed captions to explain the significance of the features shown therein. My only complaint is that some of the pictures occupy a full-page or two-page spread where a smaller image would have sufficed. I expect this is due to the publisher's required text-to-illustration ratio.
Here is an example of Goldsworthy's exposition, taken from his section on Caesar in Gaul.Read more ›
Adrian Goldsworthy's book on Roman warfare is a decent text covering the evolution of the Roman army from the Early Republic to the Empire but is primarily illustrative. The text tries to study the evolution of the Roman army from the perspective of three disciplines: historical, political,and sociological. It generally covers its projection from the origins as aristorcratic clans and retainers raiding cattle from nearby Veii to the Imperial war machine that would for so long ruthlessly crush any threat or resistance to its conquest. The problem with the text seems to be in what discipline it focuses on to explain a certain evolutionary aspect of the army: the juxtapositions are awkward and/or fail to reinforce the main purpose of the text in clarifying the evolution.Read more ›
Goldsworthy cuts the fat from the subject, stripping away the mundane details that typically bog down the casual reader or armchair historian. He charts the development of the Roman army from its earliest forms through the end of the empire, relying on impeccable research and a very clear style. He clears up a lot of confusing ideas (such as the composition of the republican-era triplex acies formation) and, unusual for an historian dealing with figures like Caesar, Scipio, and Hannibal, he never indulges in hero-worship (something which, sadly, cannot be said of the otherwise excellent historians Theodore Dodge and B.H. Liddell-Hart).
Another thing that makes this book worthwhile is the copious amount of maps and illustrations, all of which support the text in a clear and easy to understand manner.
If you enjoy this book and would like something a bit deeper, I'd also recommend Goldsworthy's The Fall of Carthage, a very good history of the three Punic Wars.
Roman Warfare is highly recommended reading for anyone new to Roman military history or history in general.
With a glossary on terms, appendices with lots of information and great maps detailing some of the important battles and wars, this is a great book for its size. A must for any library on Roman history or military history.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a brief history of Roman warfare, but it contains many interesting facts about the Rome and Rome's enemies, their military tactics, strategy and the reasons why Rome become... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nika Khoperia
This is a fairly decent general overview of a subject which stretched from ca. 800 BCE to 450 CE, and arguably into the 11th century CE. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Michael Snyder
Love the book, but Amazon delivered it wet and soggy, pages stuck together. I tried to contact Amazon, but no help or reply to replace book.Published 7 months ago by Charles Olsson
Late Roman empire was especially intereting, I wish there was more on that in the book.Published 10 months ago by Denis Kravchenko
This is touted as a hardcover, but it's really still a paperback. Lots of info, but I tend to destroy paperbacks when I read them, especially when they are small. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ajelim
Very good information; would have enjoyed the book much more in a larger size with readable typePublished 13 months ago by George Still
Excellent overall view of the Roman concept of how to fight war, and some insight into how it changed over the lengthy time that Rome was in conflict with just about all the known... Read morePublished 18 months ago by john j. winsch