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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2011
Although this book has been published for some years, on reading through the reviews here I was struck by the praise heaped on this 'author'. I have commented elsewhere on the review by Aaron Thompson (who has hit the nail right on the head) and I do not want to repeat myself overmuch. I will be brief, in attempt to counter the somewhat one-sided view of Dando-Collins' output (I find it difficult to dignify what he writes by referring to it as 'work').

Briefly, this person's books are mostly made up. I do not believe that he has researched any of this. There are major errors, omissions and mistakes throughout. In a nutshell, he doesn't know what he's talking about. Example: he claims that legions were enlisted in 'mass intakes' (not true - only refers to Republican legions in the early years of Rome) and that battle losses were not replaced, so at the end of their '16-year' service, they would be seriously understrength. These were the crack troops of the Empire! Most of these legions were originally the product of the civil wars that eventually (via Caesar, Pompey & Marcus Antonius) brought Augustus to power. If the legions were re-raised at such intervals it would amount to replacing a sizable fraction of the army's men all at once. There is NOT ONE SHRED OF EVIDENCE FOR THIS PRACTICE. NOT. ONE.

A number of reviews here have stressed that the book 'reads very well', or is 'an exiting read'. I think if you buy this volume (and the subsequent efforts penned by SDC) you will not get anything like the correct impression of the history of the legions of Rome. It doesn't matter how well it reads if the information you are getting is WRONG. If you really want to find out more about this subject, try these works: (1) "The Making of the Roman Army from Republic to Empire" by Lawrence Keppie, (2) "The Roman Imperial Army" by Graham Webster, (3) "A Companion to the Roman Army" (ed. Erdkamp), (4) "The Complete Roman Army" by Adrian Goldsworthy, (5) "The Imperial Roman Army" by Jan le Bohec (English translation available), (6) "Roman Fortresses & Their Legions" (Ed. Richard Brewer) and (7) "Legions & Veterans", also by Lawrence Keppie. If you also want to see what the true origins, history, movements, campaigns and service of the legions was, try finding the BAR title "The Positioning of the Roman Imperial Legions" (BAR International Series, No.1458) by Jerome H. Farnum. I seriously doubt that Stephen Dando-Collins owns a copy of this or any of the others come to that!
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on 22 November 2013
I was given this book as a present by someone who wanted to say thank you for help that I had given, knowing that I am very interested in Roman history. How on earth I will answer when I am asked if I enjoyed it I do not know. Others giving poor ratings have spelled out many of the errors, not all, but many. I agree with them and the doubts expressed as to Dando Collins' having ever done any research at all. As I read I became more and more exasperated, what on earth were the publishers doing to publish such claptrap? Including the appendices there are three hundred pages; I got as far as page 140 and gave up.
If you have read much about the 1st Century BCE you will have come across one senator called Lentulus Spinter. At the top of page i40 we find Pompey "having sent Generals Lentulus and Spinter to Rhodes....." and I gave up! But it made me wonder about the author.
Dando Collins I decided, either knows nothing at all about what he is writing or he set out to prove that armed with schoolboy history anyone can write a historical treatise.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2005
I got into this period in history by reading Conn Iggulden's Emperor Series which are absolutely great. I flicked through Amazon to find books that would offer me a little more factual information. I chose this book as my first attempt to get a better insight.
Having waded through this book of a zillion troop movements I note with interest and some disappointment that one of the other reviews labels this book as 'confused and misinformed'. I stuck with the narrative explaining the movement of 30 odd roman legions around Europe spanning a couple of hundred years and the battles in which they fought. I worked my way through the Gallic Wars, The Civil War, The Battles that raged after Caesars death while Octavian fought for ultimate control. I stuck with it as the Roman Legions besieged Jerusalem and in truth, I couldn't put the book down.
Yes, it is a little heavy going but I found it very interesting as a first factual read (or not if one of the other reviews is to be believed).
Most importantly, given the scathing review, my interest is fuelled tenfold. I now wish to read much more on the subject to draw my own conclusions.
There is no doubt, this book helps to bring to the readers attention some of the more pivotal battles in which the Tenth were involved. 'Nero's Killing Machine'(the 14th Legion)'from the same author, which I am reading now is doing the same. Using this book as a reference, I am currently creating a list of books relating to battles and commanders which will take me little further.
If the other reviews are to be believed then maybe this is not not the greatest factual read for an expert but it has worked for me. Only gave it four stars for the fact that the constant log of the movements of other legions made me dizzy but that may not be a fair thing to have done. If that is what was happening then it had to be written about. This information was vital as an overview and incidental information about these legions has helped my perception of the wider picture.
I look forward over the next few years to either agreeing or disagreeing with the 'confused and misinformed' review.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2012
I have to agree with other reviewers who rate this book poorly. Without repeating the criticism the descriptions of how the legions worked seem so far removed from most other works by very eminent authors and experts I wonder where the author found most of his facts. Yes the book is "a good read" but but treat much of the detail with scepticism. To get a balanced view read any of the works by Keppie, Golsworthy or some of the Osprey titles available on this subject. In my opinion there are much better books on the subject .
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35 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2004
This book is let down by one rather serious flaw. The author seems unaware that there was more than one Tenth Legion in the Roman army. Supposedly a history of Julius Caesar's legio X Equestris (later Gemina), the author erroneously attributes to it the history and feats of another legion - X Fretensis. The result is confused and misinformed. Dando-Collins is to be avoided at all costs; either he is just a sloppy researcher or, worse, he has altered the facts to suit himself. If you want the truth read Keppie's Making of the Roman Army or Cowan's Roman Legionary books.
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29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2002
Firstly I must make an admission that I am no expect on this area of history. However I do appreciate a good historical account and that is what you will find with Dando-Collins book on the Roman 10th Legion. I have always enjoyed history books covering this period of time and I was prompted to buy this book after reading Major Clunn’s excellent book ‘In Quest of the Lost Legions’, which I would highly recommend to anyone interested in Roman history.
In Stephen Dando-Collins book ‘Caesar’s Legion’ the reader is offered a rarely seen look at the battles and campaigns of Rome’s Legions during the time of Julius Caesar. The centerpiece of the book is the 10th Legion, raised by Julius Caesar and used by him throughout as his elite shock-troops. Not only does the book provide you with an interesting and detailed insight into the 10th Legion but also the author provides you with a detailed narrative of the battles and campaigns fought by Roman Legions throughout the known world.
We read about the officers and men of the 10th Legion including its recruitment, training, makeup and organization along with detailed descriptions of their fighting. The book details all the known campaigns and battles, from the English Isles, Gaul and Italy to the Middle East. The story covers the campaigns against rebelling tribesman in Gaul and Germany to the many set piece battles against other Roman Legions during the Civil War. The narrative continues with the life of the 10th Legion after the death of its founder, Julius Caesar. We follow the Legionaries to the Jewish fortress of Masada and read about the campaign against the Jewish Zealots with its grim ending.
The book is easy to read with a smooth and descriptive narrative. The story is well researched and has a number of maps to assist the reader in following the campaigns of the 10th Legion. No illustrations are provided which is a slight disappointment but more than made up for with the rich narrative. This is a great story and I am sure that anyone who enjoys good historical accounts with love this story of “Caesar’s Legion”.
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on 18 June 2015
I will not bother repeating all the faults mentioned in other reviews, just endorse them. The book is rubbish, I gave up part way through, fortunately for me I had not wasted money as the copy I read was from my local library. I find it interesting that people who rate it highly seem to favour the works of Conn Iggulden. Another author I gave up on part way through.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2013
"A unique and splendidly researched story", as one review above suggests?
Hardly.

It starts with the implausible genesis of the tenth legion Dando-Collins presents on pages 6 + 7. According to him, Caesar is "small, narrow-faced". Suetonius explicitly describes him as tall and too round of face in his youth. D-C then claims "most of his contemporaries had achieved a praetorship as much as eight years earlier". Caesar got it at the earliest CONSTITUTIONAL age. The quoted Pompey had NEVER been a praetor.
In Hispania ulterior Caesar recruited the soldiers during his propraetorship for his planned attack on the Lusitanians and Callaicians. "And LEGIO X was born." (D-C)

There are many factors casting doubts on this scenario (Wikipedia, are you listening?):

ONE: Even after Marius' army reforms proper legions were constituted of Roman citizens. It is improbable that Caesar found enough such men in Further Spain in 61 BC to recruit for a Legion, since the Senate kept the franchise from the provincials as much as possible.
TWO: Plutarch talks (in "Caesar", 12, 1) explicitly of 10 COHORTS. Numerically, this is equivalent to a legion, but these soldiers were never assigned a number. If they had been a proper legion there would have been no reason not to say so, especially considering their later fame.
THREE: Of course, Caesar could have given them the franchise unauthorised by the Senate and thereby made them a legion. That, however, would have been grounds for prosecution back in Rome. Caesar only dared to do this from a position of strength, during the Gallic War.
FOUR: Conservative senators suspected Caesar of inciting revolution against the senate in Gallia cisalpina as early as 68. They would never have permitted him to bring a fanatically loyal unit as close as Gallia Transalpina, not even for a triumph. (How easily he could have marched unto Rome with one legion he demonstrates in 49 with the Legion XIII.)
FIVE: Why should they pay for the upkeep of this unit for the rest of 60 and the entire year 59?
SIX: The Senate had assigned Gallia Transalpina to their Consul of 60, Q. Caecilius Metellus Celer. They would never have posted him there, if there had been only one legion of doubtful loyalty to the senatorial cause, especially since the area was destabilised by the movements of the Helvetians and Suebes.
SEVEN: After his premature death the Senate offered the province to Caesar. It is hardly plausible they would send their suspect colleague to "his" legion.

Likewise, his research on Pharsalus is sloppy on several points. D-C says on page 114:
"The two sides had arrived on the plain SEVERAL weeks earlier." The defeat at Dyrrhachium was on July 7. Marching to Pharsalus will have taken some time. At best Pompeius will have arrived two weeks before August 9. D-C then talks about "the untried legions in the centre". Those were of the legion XI and XII, i.e. battle-hardened veterans of Gaul. On page 123 Labienus commands a "German and Gallic cavalry". Where did he get those men from? It was only himself who defected. Would these be the "dancers" who could not stand the sight of spears in their faces, or is it more plausible it was Roman aristocratic youths or allied princelings?

Worst of all is D-C's chronology o the battle itself. His version:

Attack of the Pompeian cavalry
Repulsion by Caesar's secret fourth line, which then attacks the exposed Pompeian left
Attack of the 1st and 2nd lines of infantry, which is met by a motionless Pompeian front
Then Caesar orders the attack of his 3rd line

Anyone who has actually READ Caesar's own commentaries knows it was as follows:

Attack of the 1st and 2nd lines of infantry, which is met by a motionless Pompeian front
Counterattack of the Pompeian cavalry
Repulsion by Caesar's secret fourth line, which then attacks the exposed Pompeian left
Almost simultaneously Caesar orders the attack of his 3rd line. The impact of these two manoeuvres is too much for the Pompeians. Their front collapses.

Contradictions like these should warn the serious historian away from this volume.
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on 16 June 2015
Thoroughly enjoyable read.
A great in site to the mighty 10th Legion and its remarkable victories.
Easily a five stars.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2014
Some facts:
The great reformer of the Republican Roman Army, Marius, was Caesar's uncle. Marius would have been about the best military tutor ever in the history of the world, and was Caesar's military mentor and inspiration. This connection is not mentioned.
One of Marius' biggest reforms was to change the base unit of the legions from maniple to cohort. This book has maniples and cohorts in the same legion., along with 'colonels', a mix-up between legates and consuls (consul is the highest political rank in Republican Rome) and numerous other infelicities.
This book has the Helvetii, a Gallic tribe when Gallic military organisation was famed for its lack of structure, fighting as a Greek phalanx! Highly disciplined bodies of men wielding eight-foot spears in rigid synchronicity!
If you like this style of 'history', you should stick to Monty Python or Carry On films which at least have the honesty to advertise their comic intent.
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