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Roman Legionary Fortresses 27 BC-AD 378 [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Duncan B. Campbell , Brian Delf
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 April 2006 Fortress (Book 43)
The concept of a legionary fortress as a permanent structure dates from the reign of Augustus (27 BC-AD 14). It is only from that time that we find a standing army distributed around the empire, and their permanent fortresses developed from the temporary field fortifications of the legions on campaign. This book describes the development, design and construction of these fortresses throughout the length and breadth of the Empire. It also deals extensively with the experience of life within a typical fortress and covers the operational history of these fortifications, including the famous siege of Vetera in AD 69.

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Roman Legionary Fortresses 27 BC-AD 378 + Rome's Northern Frontier AD, 70-235: Beyond Hadrian's Wall (Fortress) + Roman Auxiliary Forts (Fortress)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (28 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841768952
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841768953
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 445,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Dr Duncan B Campbell is a specialist in ancient Greek and Roman warfare. He published his first paper in 1984, as an undergraduate at Glasgow University, and produced a complete re-assessment of Roman siegecraft for his Ph.D. Over the years, his work has appeared in several international journals. He lives near the Antonine Wall in Scotland with his wife and son.

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The Roman army had a long tradition of constructing fortified encampments while on campaign. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legionary Fortresses 27 BC-AD 378 26 Nov 2013
By Trajan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Calix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
This is a perfect Introduction to the Roman fort system and how it evolved through the centuries. A good narrative by Duncan Campbell, and excellent artwork by Brian Delf. Highly recommended.
For further reading see Osprey titles: Roman Auxiliary Forts, Rome's Northern Frontier AD, 70-235.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good and well-structured introduction 2 Jun 2013
By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have already mentioned on both the US and the UK site, this is a very good introduction to Roman legionary fortresses. It is also well-structured and covers a lot of ground (three centuries and a half) without seeming superficial. I may have wished to have a bit more on the fourth century fortresses although, to some extent, this is quibbling and a bit unfair because of the plates is a (rather superb) reconstruction of a fourth century fort on the eastern frontier. Brian Delf also does a good job in illustrating a legionary fortress under attack and the main types of buildings to be found within such a camp (headquarters, barracks and bath complex, in particular, with each example taken from a different fortress).

Having mentioned this, I believe this booklet combines four elements which make it outstanding when compared with a number of other volumes in the same collection. One is that there are few, if any, works with such a wide scope that bring together all legionary fortresses. Most of the scholarly literature on the subject tends to focus on individual fortresses, on certain regions or looks at fortresses only as part for a wider discussion of the Roman legions.

A second and very interesting element is the care taken in showing how and when legions got cross-posted from one place to another, sometimes destroyed and sometimes replaced or supplemented by newly raised legions when a major campaign was planned. The author's ability identify where each legion was stationed or moved to another location is underpinned by a huge amount of research since knowledge of which legion occupied which site partly depends upon the archaeological finds at each site.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Roman Fort 14 July 2008
Format:Paperback
If you are thinking of buying a great introduction to the Roman fort then this book is your best bet. Duncan Campbell looks the evolution of the Roman fort, from the earliest marching camps of the Legions, to the small but formidable forts of the late empire.

The author also looks at the typical buildings, walls and other features of the Roman fort. These include sections on the defences, the headquarters, granaries, hospitals, workshops and baths. He makes good use of archaeological reconstructions in these sections, showing us how the fort operated.

But what about living in the fort? He also gives us a snapshot view of life in the Roman fort, with looks at the Commander's house, the tribunes' houses and the barrack blocks.

I was glad to see that the Late Roman fort was given a look, as these are usually ignored in other books. Although it was not as detailed as I would have liked, I still enjoyed this short section.

Brian Delf provides some good colour plates, showing us reconstructive paintings of walls, barrack rooms and cutaways of the fort's baths. Photographs and maps are also included.

This book is by no means an in-depth look at the subject, but it is a brilliant introduction. Highly recommended!
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roman Fortresses, a worthy addition to your Roman military library 14 May 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Roman Legionary Fortresses 27 BC-AD 378, by Duncan B Campbell, Illustrated by Brian Delf is recently published by the folks at 'Osprey' as a part of their "Fortress" series. ISBN 1-84176-895-2. There are 27 B&W photos, 16 color photos, 14 line drawings and 6 color plates and 2 color maps, not including the covers.

This is a good starter for people wanting to know about the Roman fortresses of the legions. Not only are there many different locations, with some nice photos, but there is a wealth of information about different positions, time periods, and legion deployments contained in this work. I enjoy the idea that it is not Anglo-centric, and covers Roman Fortresses from Scotland to Egypt, with a good deal of mention being given to the forces and forts in the Danube region.

I didn't see anything outstandingly controversial, or even 'jump in your face' new, but the work brings together a lot of different material from various sources in a concise and well written primer on Roman Fortresses. Unlike many of the modern speculative works so popular in recent publications, we have facts and a brief bibliography, and actual references are given in the body of the work.

Even though this is published by 'Osprey' it weighs in as a must add to my collection, and is informative and enjoyable to the serious student of the topic, as well as the dilettante.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Source 6 Dec 2007
By K. Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This title in the Osprey fortress series examines the fortified camps of the Roman legionaries, many of which gradually evolved into complete townships. It covers the Roman era from the foundation of the Empire to the Battle of Adrianople (378), but it suffers the typical tendency of overlooking the 3rd and 4th Centuries, focusing largely on the era between Augustus and Domitian.

Like all titles in this series, this book is very powerful visually. In addition to 7 fine color plates by Brian Delf, it also contains several maps and numerous photographs, some of which, unusually for Osprey, are actually in color.

The book is opened with a useful chronology of the Roman Legions from the Augustan era to the beginning of the 3rd Century. The next section is 'The deisgn and development of legionary fortresses', which examines what the forts under individual emperors 27 BC-AD 217 were like in layout. After this is 'The elements of a legionary fortress', which, discussing the various buildings within the fortress, may well be the most useful and interesting section of the book. The last major section, 'living in a legionary fortress' is similar. The book is closed with a brief, 5-page summary of the forts of the last two centuries of this era.

Overall it is a solid resource on the forts of Rome's elite soldiers, and a useful addition to one's Roman military library.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More barracks than fortresses... 3 Jan 2010
By Anibal Madeira - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Great work from Duncan Campbell that provides an huge amount of data in only 64 pages. It focuses mainly on fortifications from the 1st and 2nd centuries, but also gives some information about the location and layout of 4th century fortresses like the one in Bethorus.

The author locates the strategic deployment of Roman Legions and their fortresses from the time of Augustus till the Severan period with some detail. The similarities between the marching camps and the permanent fortresses layout, the question of the double strenght first cohort (arqueology can't answer that question yet) and the several buildings that constitute those fortresses, including the principia (HQ), fabricae (factories/workshops), valetudinarium (Hospital), horrea (granaries), thermae (baths)and the living quarters of officers and legionaries are also described.

Roman fortresses weren't castles; the objective of their existence was quartering one or two legions on a permanent or semi-permanent base. They were huge barracks, almost cities (some cities actually evolved from roman fortresses!). So the physical defenses of those fortresses weren't very impressive, but they didn't need to be; for the romans of the first and second centuries the strongest defense was their legionaries. Most adversaries would be faced outside the fortress not behind walls.

Good maps and photographs, excellent paintings by Brian Delf. Recommended.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A funny thing happened to me at the Praetorium. 12 Jan 2007
By Leo Guabello Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this wonderful book! A fine addition to the others they publish. Well written and accurate in art, a must for the serious reader and for young adults. The entire collection of Osprey Publishing is worth having for the entire family. Such colorful illustrations, with the original and restored pieces, are additions to our scope of the past.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good and well-structured introduction 2 Jun 2013
By JPS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As other reviewers have already mentioned on both the US and the UK site, this is a very good introduction to Roman legionary fortresses. It is also well-structured and covers a lot of ground (three centuries and a half) without seeming superficial. I may have wished to have a bit more on the fourth century fortresses although, to some extent, this is quibbling and a bit unfair because of the plates is a (rather superb) reconstruction of a fourth century fort on the eastern frontier. Brian Delf also does a good job in illustrating a legionary fortress under attack and the main types of buildings to be found within such a camp (headquarters, barracks and bath complex, in particular, with each example taken from a different fortress).

Having mentioned this, I believe this booklet combines four elements which make it outstanding when compared with a number of other volumes in the same collection. One is that there are few, if any, works with such a wide scope that bring together all legionary fortresses. Most of the scholarly literature on the subject tends to focus on individual fortresses, on certain regions or looks at fortresses only as part for a wider discussion of the Roman legions.

A second and very interesting element is the care taken in showing how and when legions got cross-posted from one place to another, sometimes destroyed and sometimes replaced or supplemented by newly raised legions when a major campaign was planned. The author's ability identify where each legion was stationed or moved to another location is underpinned by a huge amount of research since knowledge of which legion occupied which site partly depends upon the archaeological finds at each site.

The third element, and another of the main point that the author makes rather well, is to show the link and evolution from the original marching camps, to the static fortress offensive and defensive bases, mostly built along rivers for supply purposes, to the stone fortresses. Related to this, there also seems to have been a trend towards more and more elaborate defences, with at least some fortresses becoming the nucleus of towns and cities that still exist today (whether Cologne or Strasburg on the Rhine or Vienna or Belgrade on the Danube, although there are a number of other cases as well).

The two sections I preferred and found the most instructive, however, were the "Elements of a legionary fortress and the section on living conditions within such a fortress. Both show that these fortresses developed into real military towns, including workshops and granaries and more generally everything that was necessary to make them as self-supporting as possible. Also fascinating was the degree in sophistication involved in the construction of these permanent bases and fortresses, with baths, but also a complex system of drainage and of water gathering, including by aqueducts in some cases.

Finally, and despite having outlined these common traits, the author is careful to insist on what we still do not know (quite a lot in fact) and to point at what are at best assumptions. He also makes the point that no two fortresses were identical as each and every one was adapted to its environment. If anything, this rather excellent introduction demonstrates, if need be, the Roman talent for engineering. Five stars.
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