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An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Uniforms of the Roman World Hardcover – 4 Dec 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Lorenz Books (4 Dec. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754823873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754823872
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 2.4 x 30.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 205,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Kevin F. Kiley, author, is a retired Marine Corps artillery officer, a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, and a veteran of the First Gulf War. An enthusiastic uniformologist, he has a masters degree in military history from Norwich University. This is his third title in the Lorenz Books uniform series. Jeremy Black MBE, consultant, is an expert in military history and has a impressive and sustained body of published work.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Francesco on 7 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Those with a serious interest in ancient military history should avoid this like the plague. The fault in this book is revealed by its very title, which contains the words 'uniforms' and 'Roman world' in the same sentence. Anyone who believes the Romans, or any of their contemporaries over the course of the centuries had any conception of a military 'uniform' is either very naive or has zero understanding of ancient history. If you want a good book on Roman military dress you should consult the works of Graham Sumner and Dr Raffaele D'Amato, in particular. This book does little more than perpetuate the myth that ancient armies had 'uniforms' in the same sense that we understand the word. Indeed it appears that absolutely no original research went into producing this book, it's just a compendium put together from the works of other more specialist writers and as other reviewers have pointed out, the illustrations appear to be shameless re-renderings of pictures to be found in other authors works.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By foojer on 3 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sadly I have to agree with the previous guy, this book is pretty bad. The illustrations are high quality (but then again they should be, many of them are straight-up copies of the works of the old masters like Angus McBride and Peter Connolly!) but the scholarship is pretty shoddy.

You get the sense that the author sometimes just doesn't know what he's talking about. There are a shocking number of errors in the captions which accompany the artwork, most of them are brief and feel uninformed. The author doesn't make much use of specialist terms, or simply uses the wrong terms. For example he labels a bucket-looking helmet as a pot helmet, and uses the same term to describe an elaborate, ornamental helmet not a few pages later. Another statement which floored me was the claim the Diocletianic reforms abolished segmented armour. Where on earth did the author find this statement??

Figures and helmets are mislabeled in pretty glaring ways. One bronze age-esque helmet is described as a later Germanic helmet (this term doesn't really exist), and several uniforms that clearly belong in the late 1st century are labeled as 4th century. I think late Roman scholarship has progressed to a level of general public awareness that makes this kind of mislabeling unacceptable.

The worst part was two figures that appear toward the end of the book. Both are copied from or at least heavily influenced by Graham Sumner's illustration in Osprey's Roman Naval Forces. One soldier was carrying a short javelin-like object, and the caption read: the arrow-like object is probably not a weapon but a symbol of rank. That's it. No further elaboration as to what its purpose was or where it came from. It's almost like the author was taken by surprise at what the illustrator gave him.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By hieronymus on 3 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Each book has its own fate, as the Romans were keen to observe, but I am inclined to believe that this book is merely re-living the life of others. Reading the book one very quickly gains the impression that the authors were seeking to cash in on the widespread interest in Roman military history with a minimum of effort - I really see no other explanation for such a poor result. The approach is a risky one, since the re-enactment community and other readers interested in the topic nowadays have access to a vast amount of well-written and lavishly illustrated books based on sound research and are thus mostly well-informed about recent developments in archaeology and Roman military history.
The book is obviously designed to appeal to readers for its large amount of illustrations of Roman soldiers. The illustrations themselves are a matter of taste, but they're decently done. Unfortunately, this cannot be said for the research that has, or rather has not not, gone into them. The illustrations are nearly all mere copies of pictures that have appeared in other works. Most have been adopted from the Osprey series (whose plates, let it be said, are not beyond some criticism themselves), but there are also illustrations copied from works like "Roman Cavalry Equipment" (Stephenson), "Byzantine Armies 325-1453 AD" (Belezos/Giannopoulos), and the brilliant two "Greece and Rome at War" (Peter Connolly)and "Warfare in the Ancient World" (John Warry), both still available and exquisitely illustrated if slightly dated.
"An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of the Roman World" is riddled with mistakes and inaccuracies. Other reviewers have already remarked upon the rather quaint mistakes which have made their way into the book, e. g.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Livingstone on 14 April 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent source to be used as a painting guide and for the historical narrative. I have 3 of the series of books now!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By HEBEGB on 16 Dec. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very thorough, looks like it's for kids at first but great reference book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By vic on 5 April 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Andrew on 16 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for some inspiration when painting some model Roman soldiers. There is a good introduction to this history of the Roman empire. The drawings are fantastic, they provide a lot of inspiration for painting models. What I like is that there are often two large drawings on most pages. The details on the figures is excellent. For me this book has served its purpose. My 12 year old son has also taken an interest in it and there is plenty of information in the text to keep him occupied!

There have been some critism of the acuracy of some of the drawings in the Amazon reviews. I can't comment on this, but it is obviously not a book aimed at schollers of Roman history. It's a Dorland Kingsley style book, that is a pleasure to look at the pictures and enough information to be of interest. Its not a dry academic account of Roman uniforms. It has also been compared to the Osprey books - for me it is far better value because the Osprey books are very expensive if you only use them for the limited number of colour plates they have.

If you have a child interested in Romans it would make an excellent present for them.
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