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A Companion to the Roman Army (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) [Hardcover]

Paul Erdkamp
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 135.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 Mar 2007 140512153X 978-1405121538 1
This companion provides an extensive account of the Roman army, exploring its role in Roman politics and society as well as the reasons for its effectiveness as a fighting force. An extensive account of the Roman army, from its beginnings to its transformation in the later Roman Empire Examines the army as a military machine – its recruitment, training, organization, tactics and weaponry Explores the relationship of the army to Roman politics, economics and society more broadly Considers the geography and climate of the lands in which the Romans fought Each chapter is written by a leading expert in a particular subfield and takes account of the latest scholarly and archaeological research in that area

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (15 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140512153X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405121538
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 17.8 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,185,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"It is an excellent academic reference book and should prove a valuable resource for anyone interested in the development of the Roman Army as well as its interactions over a thousand years with the Empire it both served and influenced". (UNRV History, 1 April 2011) “This book, another in the burgeoning special series from Blackwell Publishing, is an unqualified success. Rather than a simple assemblage of vaguely related, overspecialized academic papers, it is truly what its title promises––a companion.” ( Michigan War Studies, May 2010) "This book is a valuable work for the reference shelf and a bible for military buffs." ( Greece & Rome , 2008) “This volume is another in the growing range of period– or topic–focused Companions to the Ancient World published by Blackwell. The Roman army, as a central institution and influence in so many aspects of Roman imperial history, is an obvious subject for such a volume. Like other volumes in the series, this one boasts an impressive range of international authors, and the scholarship is of a very high order.” ( New England Classical Journal , February 2009) “It is no easy task to commission and co–ordinate 29 separate contributions, and the editor′s energy in doing so should be recognized. The volume will happily sit on an academic bookshelf … as a handy compendium of the views of the individual authors.” ( Bryn Mawr Classical Review , October 2008) “The most extensive and likely best researched overview on the Roman army that is currently available.” (Ancient Warfare) "Highly readable, informative, and up–to–date survey…The book constitutes an outstanding resource for many topics concerning the Roman army…there is much to interest laymen…and scholars alike.” (Choice) "It is particularly valuable in providing up–to–date accounts of the army′s manifold aspect and the bibliographies to support them." ( Scholia Reviews)

Review

"This book is a valuable work for the reference shelf and a bible for military buffs." ( Greece & Rome , 2008) “This volume is another in the growing range of period– or topic–focused Companions to the Ancient World published by Blackwell. The Roman army, as a central institution and influence in so many aspects of Roman imperial history, is an obvious subject for such a volume. Like other volumes in the series, this one boasts an impressive range of international authors, and the scholarship is of a very high order.” ( New England Classical Journal , February 2009) “It is no easy task to commission and co–ordinate 29 separate contributions, and the editor′s energy in doing so should be recognized. The volume will happily sit on an academic bookshelf … as a handy compendium of the views of the individual authors.” ( Bryn Mawr Classical Review , October 2008) “The most extensive and likely best researched overview on the Roman army that is currently available.” (Ancient Warfare) "Highly readable, informative, and up–to–date survey…The book constitutes an outstanding resource for many topics concerning the Roman army…there is much to interest laymen…and scholars alike.” (Choice) "It is particularly valuable in providing up–to–date accounts of the army′s manifold aspect and the bibliographies to support them." ( Scholia Reviews) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A complete little story of the Roman Army 5 Feb 2011
By Minnie
Format:Paperback
This collective work of articles outlines a clear picture of the history of the Roman army, in different periods and geographical areas in which it operated. This is a useful overview for anyone involved in the topic and an excellent start for those who are completely unaware
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Potentially the New Standard Reference Work on the Roman Army 23 Nov 2010
By P. L. Powell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Once in a while a book is published that becomes a standard reference work for students for its day. Edited by Paul Erdkamp, research fellow in ancient history at Leiden University is 'A Companion to the Roman Army' (Blackwell Press, Oxford, 2007) which promises to be such a book for the noughties. This is a collection of twenty-nine papers by distinguished international scholars, amongst whom contributors include Anthony Birley, Hugh Elton, Oliver Stoll and Michael Whitby. The papers are arranged in four sections: Early Rome, Mid- and Late Republic, The Empire (Actium to Adrianople) and The Late Roman Empire (to Justinian). As the sleeve copy states:

"The expert contributors to this volume delve into this culture, offering an extensive account of the Roman army, from its beginnings to its transformation in the later Roman Empire. Taking account of the latest scholarly and archaeological research, they examine the recruitment, training, organization, tactics, and weaponry that contributed to Rome's effectiveness as a fighting machine."

Precisely because the book is made of papers narrowly focused on particular subjects by specialists in those areas, this is a veritable treasury of material. Beyond the organisational and arms and armour aspects typically discussed in books on the Roman army, the contributors "explore the ecological, economic, social and political factors that help to explain the characteristic features of the army and its development over time". Indeed, the development of arms and armour receives only relatively cursory examination within the individual papers ('body armour' is discussed on as many pages as, for example, 'Arabia' according to the index).

For readers with a particular interest in the army of the early Empire, Part III will have the greatest appeal and is the largest section of the book. The fifteen papers in its 295 pages are arranged according to themes: Structure of the Imperial Army; Military Organization; Army, Emperor and Empire; and Soldiers and Veterans in Society. Subjects covered include the Augustan reforms, the 'Classes', the 'Limites' in both East and West, military documents and language, finances, logistics in peace- and wartime, propaganda, camps and forts, marriage and families, recruits and veterans and religious beliefs.

Most authors follow the discipline of a common three-part format of an introduction or prologue, a discussion and a conclusion or epilogue. Each author provides meticulous footnotes, a bibliography and recommendations for further reading. That said, some authors do weave source references into the narrative, rather than putting them in the notes, which can slow a lay reader and may irritate even a specialist such as myself researching material for my own books.

At 574 pages, this is a hefty tome. It is not without its shortcomings. That there are only 24 plates and 4 maps is surprising in a work of this importance and scope. For instance, there is only one strategic map of the Roman Empire (from Augustus to the Tetrarchy): the absence of strategic maps showing locations of units for each of the four periods covered by the book is an oversight. It is a missed opportunity to demonstrate how the deployment of the army changed over time - which is surely one of the objectives of the book? This is probably one of the consequences of creating a book from the material of many separate authors. At least the book does have a common index arranged alphabetically by subject.

The book is expensive. If you are on a tight budget it might pay to consider a used copy.

'A Companion to the Roman Army' generally lives up to its billing. Accepting its few shortcomings and its very high price, this is a book that provides an extraordinary wealth of specialist information in one volume. It could well become the standard text on the Roman Army for this generation.
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