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Customer Review

on January 19, 1999
Do you ever feel frustrated by books which have a lot of illustrations but not sufficient text to explain them? How about books which have plenty of text but lack maps, diagrams, or other illustrations which would really help you understand what the writer is talking about? Well, what I like about the Osprey military books is that they offer a good ballance of text and illustrations which harmonize to convey information to the reader in an efficient and entertaining manner.
This is one of my favorite titles from them. It covers a very fascinating period of transition in Europe -- that of the late Roman Empire. Much of the information in the text is taken from writers who lived around that time, and there are photographs of art works from the period which show us the dress and equipment of the late Roman infantrymen. My only complaint is that these photographs are printed in black & white and are often small, so one can miss much of the spectacular color and detail of these invaluable mosaics and frescos. Printing everything in color would, of course, make the book more expensive, but it still might be worthwhile. Depends on how one looks at it, I suppose. Osprey books do, however, offer a section of full color illustrations in the middle which reconstruct as best as possible the appearance and activities of the troops under study. The color illustrations in this one are superb. They show just how beautiful the uniforms were, and how slick the armor could be in the Roman armies even in the period where everything was declining and falling apart, giving way to a new European order. Though the Dark Ages were coming up, the late Roman period forshadowed aspects of the Medieval period which would bloom like a Phoenix from the ashes of the Dark Ages.
I recommend this title to anyone who is into history or who just enjoys good color illustrations. Those of you who have read my other reviews on Amazon know that I do a lot of research on Arthurian matters, particularly the historical origins of the Arthurian myths. Though this is not a title which focuses on Arthur or even Britain particularly, I still recommend it to anyone who is into Arthurian studies because it covers that general part of the world in roughly the same period.
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Product Details

4.4 out of 5 stars
$18.95+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime