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The Crisis of Rome: The Jugurthine and Northern Wars and the Rise of Marius Hardcover – 18 Mar 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military; First Edition - Second Impression edition (18 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844159728
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844159727
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 576,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Dr Gareth Sampson has a PhD in Ancient History from Manchester University where he taught for a number of years. His first book was Defeat of Rome (Pen & Sword, 2008). He lives in Plymouth.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Mar. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a rather good book which goes beyond what its title suggests. It is mostly about the war against Jugurtha, the northern wars and the rise of Marius. However, it is – and needs to be – more than just a narrative covering the last decade and a half or so of the second century BC.

This is because to understand what happened between 115 and 100 BC, there is a need to go back some thirty years at least, up to the destruction of Carthage and Corinth, or even further at times. This need to provided context is all the more necessary because the book is not only about three sets of events. Rather, the author manages to tell the story of how Rome adapted – or, perhaps more accurately, initially failed to adapt - to its imperial role. It also seeks to give the reader a feel of (almost literally) cut-throat ultra-competitive Roman politics, and how it became steadily more violent over the period.

In all these aims, the author has been largely (although perhaps not entirely) successful.

His first success is to show throughout the book, including in his set of appendixes, to what extent some of the assumptions currently made are in fact guesses which are not backed by any historical source. This is because we have gaps for critical parts and events of the period, including the lost volume of Titus Livius and the absence of any comprehensive narrative of the invasions of the Cimbri, Teutones (and others).

He also shows how little we really know about the supposedly sweeping “military reforms” that Marius – the “providential man”- allegedly introduced. Some of them were much less sweeping than historians have initially presented them to them. For instance, he did not, in fact, create a “professional army” because it was not a standing army.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Mice Guy TOP 100 REVIEWER on 11 May 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book studies the period of approximately 110-100BC in Roman history. As the author points out in his introduction, "...Simultaneously, Rome found herself fighting a difficult guerrilla war in the deserts of North Africa, whilst facing tribes of migrating barbarians from northern Europe. A series of reverses in both these theatres of war saw Rome suffer one of the heaviest defeats in her history at the Battle of Arausio and a barbarian invasion of Italy itself. Yet whilst the scenario of barbarian migration, defeat and invasion is all too familiar to the Late Roman Empire, all this occurred some five hundred years before the fall of Rome, at what is often seen as the height of the Republic's power". There is also a problem with sources: "Firstly, we lack a detailed narrative history of the period as a whole, giving undue weight to accounts that do survive, notably Plutarch's biography of Marius and Sallust's monograph on the Jugurthine War, which if not handled properly can provide a distorted picture of the period in question. Of the two wars which Rome faced, the Jugurthine War in North Africa is the lesser of the two in terms of severity, yet we have a fuller account of it and little detail for the wars in the north"... "Furthermore, given the loss of a wider narrative history, and the survival of works such as Appian's 'Civil Wars' and Plutarch's biographies, it is all too easy to focus on the domestic political history of Rome in this period, as though it is somehow separate from the wars that were raging at the time"... "This work seeks a broader perspective and attempts to analyse the period as a whole, taking in all the conflicts involved. This will allow us to analyse the origins, progression and ultimate military solution to this decade of military crises.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Between the Punic Wars and the rise of Caesar the Roman Republic faced a series of often-forgotten crises, facing wars in Gaul, Macedonia and North Africa, each of which saw Roman armies suffer serious defeats. The credit for saving the Republic was won by Marius, the first of the series of soldier-statesmen that ended with Caesar and the death of the Republic.

Sampson has produced a well argued narrative of these wars, admitting when speculation is needed because of the limits of our sources. In these cases he often includes sizable quotes from the conflicting sources, allowing us to decide if we agree with his conclusions. This was a period of serious but over obscure crises, some of which have left virtually no trace in the records other than a single mention of a defeat or a battle.

Marius is the central figure for most of this period, eventually winning both the Jugurthine and Northern Wars. He is also generally credited with having reformed the Roman army, although Sampson does a very good job of dismantling this idea, making good use of the sources to do so.

This is an interesting account of an obscure but critically important period in the history of the Roman Republic, making good use of the admittedly limited sources to produce a clear picture of a series of wars that genuinely threatened the existence of the young empire. Recommended.
The perfect companion to this fine work is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
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