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Rome and Her Enemies: An Empire Created and Destroyed by War (General Military) [Hardcover]

Jane Penrose
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Sep 2005 General Military
Spanning over a thousand years and an immense geographical area, the Roman Empire was the greatest in world history. At its most powerful, the Empire cast a shadow across the known world, and its legacy continues to influence politics, art and culture around the world today. Rome's power was won on the battlefield, and the greatness of the Empire is reflected in the warlike reputations of the enemies it subdued. Hannibal, the Carthaginians, Mithridates, the Gauls, the Sassanid Persians and the infamous Goths are amongst the forces that battled the might of Rome. "Rome and Her Enemies" juxtaposes the society and military structure of each of these peoples with those of the contemporary Roman army. Divided into four chronological sections focusing on major wars and battles, the book is lavishly illustrated throughout, and colour photographs, artwork and maps support the text to provide a comprehensive introduction to the rise and fall of an empire created and destroyed by war.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; 1st edition (30 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841769320
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841769325
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 26.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 364,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"This is a compendium of previous Osprey titles from the Campaign, Men-at-Arms, Warrior, Elite, Fortress, Essential Histories and New Vanguard series. It covers the whole field of Roman warfare from 753 BC to 500 AD and is copiously illustrated... Highly recommended!" -John Prigent, "Internet Modeler" (March 2008)

About the Author

An Oxford history graduate, Jane Penrose has published historical books for 10 years. She recently edited the highly acclaimed D-Day Companion for Osprey Publishing. Jane lives and works in Norfolk, England

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The story of how Rome was born is steeped in violente. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Romans against the Barbarians 25 Jun 2008
There are a dozen books on the ancient Roman military aimed at the layman. This is one of the finest. Erudite and lucid text; stunning illustrations, photographs and colour plates, and intelligently edited.

This book gives you the entire overview of Roman military history, from the founding of the city, to the fall of the Western Empire. Each section has a chapter centering on the Romans, as well as a few others that look solely on their enemies. For instance, in part one (the Early Republic), we have chapters on the Etruscans, Carthaginians and Hellenistic Empires. In part two (the Late Republic), their are chapters on Numantines, Gauls and Germans etc. These help show you the developments of Roman equipment, tactics and strategy, as well as the developments of their enemies.

Each section is filled with photographs, maps and paintings, but most stunning of all are illustrations from various artists, ranging from Angus McBride to Richard Hook and a dozen others. These illustrations help demonstrate the changes in costume and weaponry of the Romans, from the Bronze Age Warbands of Romulus's day to the medievalesque appearance of the late Roman legionary.
It also contains reconstructive paintings of Rome's enemies. If you've ever wondered what a Thracian Chieftain looked like, or a Parthian horse-archer or even an Iberian cavalryman, then this book will show you.
Each reconstruction is based on historical and archaeological evidence.

If you've just begun studying Rome's military, then this book would make a good choice. It's well written, packed with good pictures, short biographical sections, good maps (the tactical maps are not up to scratch though), chronological timelines and a dozen other things.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ROME all covered 17 Dec 2009
This is a great book - it covers the history of ROME well and is pitched @ a good level that is engaging to read.

Overall would happily recommend this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rome and Her Enemies 24 Sep 2007
By Rob Gpvm - Published on
This book appears to be written by 2 groups of authors (Note: Jane Penrose is listed as editor not author). 1 group are the standard Osprey history writers. The other group appears to standard journalist(s).
The sections written by the Osprey writers are objective and informative. For example there are sections detailing the training and fighting methods of the Roman Army, Gallic Army, Celtiberian tribes and several other armies. Most of the sidebars in the book are objective and give interesting informatiuon such as explaining the Roman road sytem in Britian. Also the maps and the drawings in this book are clear, colorful and informative.
The sections of the book written by the journalist(s) are based on political correctness. For example, the writer criticizes the portrayal of Attila the Hun as a menace to society stating "his "greatest crime was to be different, in physical appearance, cultural background and attitude towards urban civilisation." However, in reference to China's belief the Huns were a menace to their civilization the journalist(s) claims that those were different Huns.
The journalist written sections also claim during Partia's existence "Rome - apart from a few fleeting successes - had been held as bay for 3 centuries." However, in the chapter concerning Persia's overrunning of Parthia and challenging Rome, the journalist(s) state "The change was significant since the Romans had generally dominated the Parthians and indeed repeated Roman successes had contributed to undermining royal prestige.." This may be 2 politically correct journalist not coordinating their political correctness.
The journalist(s) also blame Rome for causing the Punic Wars stating "the Romans saw an opportunity to advantage themselves" and that Roman expansion was "unconstrained". While there is some truth to these statements Roman expansion was not the sole cause of the wars. Carthage's goal of controlling all of the western Mediterranean (including Sicily) and limiting Roman influence to the Italian peninsula was the other major cause of the Punic Wars.
There are other examples of political correctness throughout this book.
Rome and Her Enemies could have been a very good book but political correctness ruined it.
Hopefully, in the future, Osprey will stick with its standard history writers rather than using journalists otherwise, in my opinion, it could mean the decline and fall of Osprey.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too sloppy 23 Nov 2008
By Cutter - Published on
First off, you can get some valuable introductory information from this book. It's not bad as a general reference, but the amount of mistakes in the little facts of this book make me extremely wary of recommending it to anyone not already well versed in Roman history.

Just one example: The author does not know the differance between a military Tribune and the office of Tribune of the Plebs. It is stated in the book that the Military Tribune over time became the other office of Tribune. This is blatantly incorrect. The office of Tribune was created expressly to guard the interests of the Plebians in the government, and had no connection at all to it's military counterpart. There are too many such misunderstandings of what should be common knowledge of anyone who writes a history of Rome. It's either poorly researched or poorly edited.

Much of the information is questionable and in cases colored by modern aapoligetic concerns as an earlier reviewer has pointed out. It's ok as a quick read, but you can do much better somewhere else.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Combination of many titles 17 Mar 2011
By lordhoot - Published on
It appears to be that this book is a combination of host of Osprey military history books from their Men at Arms series, Campaign series and host of other series. The book is published by Osprey and all the illustrations came from various different books previously published as well as the written accounts are in this book. I am not sure what role the editor played outside of mixing written sources from various books and putting it into one book format. I don't think she wrote anything in this book that other reviewers may have believed.

The book only weakness lies in the fact that many of the Osprey books it came from may be outdated by new information that came out. Some of the titles seem to go back 20 years. If you owned many of the Osprey's books dealing with Rome and her enemies in various series out there, this book may not be worth your effort since most of the stuff written here are on your shelves already. I am not sure if Tom Holland's introduction is worth $19.95 asking price (paperback). There are other books like this dealing with the Greeks and Medieval period. Both of those books are combined from older shorter Osprey books and put into a single source book like this book.

So if you are just getting into the Osprey military books, then edition like this will save you time and money. Its a good introduction to Roman military history but since the source authors are so many, you will encountered many various different presentations as you read the book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A general description of Rome and her enemies that's not strong 16 Aug 2010
By N. Trachta - Published on
For awhile I've been reading a few books on the Roman's, while doing this I've been painting some 28mm Romans (early Imperials for those that are interested). To expand my knowledge on the Romans and their enemies I thought this one might give me a good summary of the eras and the people. The eras are broken into the major Roman eras (Early Republic, Late Republic, Early Empire, and Late Empire) with the corresponding enemies (including Civil War times). Each section provides a general description of the environment another brief discussion of the combatants and their equipment. Drawings are included of the different combatants.

This is a poor man's Osprey summary of the combatants. That's to be expected since Osprey's the publisher. If you don't like Osprey's work then you're not going to like this one since it's a summary. For me this translates into a weak 3 star book. While there's interesting information on the different combatants, there's insufficient information (or drawings) to support a wargamer or hobbiest. If you get this one, my suggestion is that you use it to gain some general information on the different eras to help you determine what you're interested in to expand yourself with other books. However if you expect this to give you more than a very general description, I think you're in for a disappointment.
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book and roman miltary overview 25 Jun 2013
By psycho headhunter - Published on
this is an excellent book of romes military history against stronger enemies that eventually took over the roman military that attempted to conquer them great overview
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