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Rome's Saxon Shore: Coastal Defences of Roman Britain AD 250-500 (Fortress) Paperback – December 26, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“As an introduction to early British history, this is an excellent book... it is a serious work that draws upon the most recent scholarship.” ―Bolling Smith, The Coast Defense Journal

“This excellent new military history is a recommended pick for any specialty collection strong in in-depth coverage.” ―Library Bookwatch (July 2007)

About the Author

Dr Nic Fields started his career as a biochemist before joining the Royal Marines. Having left the military, he went back to University and completed a BA and PhD in Ancient History at the University of Newcastle. He was Assistant Director at the British School at Athens, Greece, and then a lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh. Nic is now a freelance author and researcher based in south-west France. The author lives in France.
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Product Details

  • Series: Fortress (Book 56)
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; 1St Edition edition (December 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846030943
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846030949
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.2 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,143,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This Osprey little volume on the coastal defences of Roman Britain is a summary which is mostly inspired from Andrew Pearson's book ("The Roman Shore Forts", Coastal Defence of Southern Britain", 2002) and this is something that is clearly and perfectly acknowledged. While it does not pretend to be original - few Osprey publications are and can afford to be, given their limited format - it certainly has a lot of value as a concise summary of the Saxon Shore forts, supplemented with maps, photos, illustrations and plates. Also added are a brief historical overview and a discussion of the function of these defences, something which, much to my (admittedly naïve!) surprise, seems to have become controversial among historians.

I will not go through the eleven forts mentioned in this volume. Most of them are in relatively good condition, although one (Walton castle) has been entirely swept away by the sea and there are no remains above the ground for two others, partly because these remains have been incorporated in houses and churches in the respective neighbourhoods. What is interesting and worth mentioning in this review, however, are what their all have in common and their differences. The common element is their locations: there are all in areas protected from the open sea and strategically placed so as to control traffic. The main differences relate to their styles. Although they seem to have been mostly built within 50 or 60 years, at most, there are at least two different styles and an intermediate one showing the evolution in Roman priorities and needs.

The first section (Britannia) is the historical outline and it is mostly a good little summary (as far as I can tell, at least!), except for the last two pages.
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This is a very well written, scholarly (although short) book on the Saxon Shore forts of Roman Britain that fills a gap in the literature nicely. It is beautifully printed, has many useful maps, illustrations and photos, and has a nice bibliography. Some of the books in this series are rather lightweight; I am happy to report that this one is much better than average for the Osprey series.
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Osprey keeps pumping out titles for history lovers everywhere. This is a concise, and easy to follow narrative of the defenses of Eastern Britian through the Arthurian period. Great illustrations as per usual, and brief time line make it quick study for Roman history buffs.
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Format: Paperback
A mark in britains landscape, the roman forts of the dominate period are truly impressive. Massive and with several technological defensive advances, clearly those fortresses show an huge diference on former roman fortifications. The political changes that led to the defensive architecture modifications and improvements are also a subject that Nic Fields explains clearly and convincingly.

The purposes of these fortifications are also an important subject of the debate, as anti-piratical raids, fortified ports, political strongholds, garrison for troops on the move and even fortifications against Imperial power...there are many theories that are clearly presented and analysed.

Other interesting features of this small book are a fort by fort description of all the fortifications of the limes Saxonici (and also how are the sites today), a political overview of the more stressful periods lived in Britannia during the 3rd to 6th century, detailed descriptions of the types of walls and their method of construction (includind cut-in lateral views and detailed photographs of some walls), also the differences between the internal buildings of these forts and those of earlier periods (e.g. in the dominate the bathhouses were inside the enceinte) among several other topics.

All this complemented with competent illustrations from Donato Spedaliere, several photographs, Glossary, Bibliography and the interesting, clear and informative writing style of Nic Fields.
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Format: Paperback
Rome's Saxon Shore: Coastal Defences of Roman Britain is a slim book that details the defenses that Rome erected to protect Britain against the many Germatic raiders that plauged the provance for over three centuries. Do not let the small sized fool you though it is a very well written and researched work that helps bring light upon a forgotten part of Roman history.
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