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For the Glory of Rome: A History of Warriors and Warfare [Hardcover]

Ross Cowan
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 May 2007 1853677337 978-1853677335 annotated edition
Ancient Rome was uniquely bellicose. Her legionaries are often cited as the original professional soldiers and famed for their iron discipline, but they were also formidable individual warriors, sometimes berserks, who gloried in single combat, taking heads and despoiling their enemies. They were men who believed they were sired by a god of war, driven by the need to create and sustain heroic reputations, and who disrobed in public to display battle scars. Yet these same warriors read philosophy, wrote history and recited poetry. For the Glory of Rome introduces the heroic, yet utterly ruthless, men who carved out the Roman Empire. The author examines the deeds of men like Siccius Dentatus, the victor of eight single combats and a hero of the common people; Decius Mus, the consul who charged into the midst of the enemy at Sentinum to devote himself to the gods of the Underworld; and the feuding centurions Pullo and Vorenus, rivals for every post and honour but bound together by their loyalty to Caesar. Ross Cowan explores the mindset of the Roman fighting men, examining their motivation, beliefs and superstitions, illuminating why they fought and died for the glory of Rome.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Greenhill Books; annotated edition edition (15 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853677337
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853677335
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 16.7 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 942,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ross Cowan went to the University of Glasgow with the intention of studying medieval history but was waylaid by Classics, and eventually emerged with a Ph.D. for research on the Praetorian Guard and Second Parthian Legion. Now an independent scholar, Dr Cowan has published on all aspects of warfare in the Roman World. For more information: http://independent.academia.edu/RossCowan

Product Description


This book builds an eye opening picture of the true Soldier of Rome from the Republic to the late Empire...very well written and readable...I can recommend this book even if you do not have a direct interest in the Roman army as it is a good read for anyone with an interest in widening their knowledge of Roman history. --Military Modelcraft International, January 2009

About the Author

Ross H. Cowan studied Classics at the University of Glasgow, where he also wrote his doctoral thesis about elite units of the Roman Imperial Army the Praetorian Guard and Second Parthian Legion. He is the author of two books about the Imperial legions and has written many articles on all aspects of the Roman Army. He lives and works near Glasgow.

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Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a bit of an oddity 6 Aug 2009
By Enquirer VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I loved the inherent romanticism of this book. Any author that name checks David Gemmell in a work of history gets my vote! The chapters on superstition and single combat cheerfully undermine the thoughtless conformism of wargames rules and bad 'Roman' fiction. I found the stuff on 'devotio' the most intereting. I managed to get through a classical education and a 35 year interest in the wars of ancient Rome without knowing of this. Essentially, early Roman generals sometimes sacrificed themselves in single handed charges to guarantee divine backing for a victory. One military family even had a tradition of it! A real WOW factor, crisply written and very engaging prose. I wish it was twice as long.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accessable History for all 18 Sep 2007
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Ross tackles his first full length novel bringing the ancient world of Rome from its humble beginnings to a modern audience with historical facts interwoven in a tale that shows that the epic heroes that modern fantasy has come to exude did have living counterparts in the ancient world. The fact that the book is dedicated to David Gemmell is also a nice touch as many a reader of his books will see parallels to the "living" heroes within the pages of this tale. A writer of history who has brought the ancient world in a more accessable way to the modern reader and as such means that he should be applauded for tackling this huge subject in such a way. If you're looking for a book to help with research this tale also fulfills the brief and as such will provide that outline for the hero that you feel is missing. Great work Ross.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read 2 April 2014
By Trajan
This offering from Ross Cowan stands out a bit from the typical Roman military texts. Its focus is on the hearts and minds of the soldiers. Rome's conflict with Pyrrhus of Epirus is the principle setting used to illustrate the Roman military psyche: discipline, blood-lust, honor, sacrifice, devotion to the gods, etc. Various anecdotes from throughout Rome's history of war also define these aspects. It is a enjoyable read, with a satisfying degree of detail, recommended.
The perfect companion to this fine work is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anecdotal Joy for serious students and those casually interested in Romans at war 31 Jan 2008
By Sojourner Wolf - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Informative without being pedantic, light enough for pleasurable reading but by no means fluff, For the Glory Of Rome brings to life the Roman legionnaire in a fresh and exhilirating way. The author describes Roman military men as both soldiers and warriors, by no means always the ant-like disciplined troops as they are so often portrayed. Single combat, the "unofficial" rules and specific episodes, brings the participants to life worthy of the great illustrations, graphic and photographic. Not just the Romans, but their enemies are written with vivid empathy. Tired of wading through Tacitus? This book is the sort of change of pace that can revive flagging interest or spark a new one.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A survey of the role of single combat in battle 6 Aug 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Ross Cowan's FOR THE GLORY OF ROME: A HISTORY OF WARRIORS AND WARFARE provides a survey of the Roman warrior, an analysis of strategy and campaigns, and a survey of the role of single combat in battle. College-level and in-depth collections strong in ancient military history will appreciate the depth of analysis here, which examines individuals and warriors, from their techniques to their motivations in defending the Roman Empire with their lives.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warriors and Soldiers in Rome's Legions 7 April 2008
By Agustin Guerrero - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author gives us a distinct perspective in the military history of the Legions of Rome and that is through the eyes of the soldiers. He confronts the idealized version of the roman legionnaire as perfectly disciplines quasi robotic killing machine and present us men in the flesh with their passions and flaws. The Romans presented were passionate warriors fighting at first for the survival of their city always surmounting great odds until they became the dominant power in the Mediterranean world and ultimately defend the vast empire against mass invasions of Barbarian nations. We are presented in detail with the campiagn of Pyrrhus of Epirus and his surprise at the discipline and valor displayed by the Romans confronting him, the role of single combat in deciding battles, the blood thirst but also the nobler passions such as the self sacrifice of the Roman commanders in order to achieve victory displayed by the Greatest warriors of the ancient world as were the Romans. This is a nice read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing New. 18 April 2013
By Barry Kee Petty - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The subject is one of my favorites, however this effort is not anywhere near notable. Dry, segments of text from the classical works just don't "grip" this reader.
4.0 out of 5 stars Adds to Our Understanding of the Roman Legionary and Rome 25 Nov 2012
By bonnie_blu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Cowan analyzes the Roman legionary as an individual person by focusing on specific legionaries and battles. Luckily there are epigraphic sources that name individual soldiers, and Cowan uses this information fully. Overall he provides a new view of the legionary that adds to our understanding of ancient Rome and the legions. He does go off on irrelevant tangents occasionally, but it does not distract from the overall value of the book.
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