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The Roman Army: The Civil Wars 88-31 BC (Battle Orders) Paperback – 10 Oct 2008


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The Roman Army: The Civil Wars 88-31 BC (Battle Orders) + The Roman Army of the Punic Wars 264-146 BC (Battle Orders) + The Roman Army of the Principate 27 BC-AD 117 (Battle Orders)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey; First Edition, First Printing edition (10 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846032628
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846032622
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 0.6 x 24.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 800,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Nic Fields started his career as a biochemist before joining the Royal Marines. Having left the military, he went back to University and completed a BA and PhD in Ancient History at the University of Newcastle. He was Assistant Director at the British School at Athens, Greece, and then a lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh. Nic is now a freelance author and researcher.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By F. Aetius on 16 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the second book in the 'Battle Orders' series by Osprey on the ancient Roman Army. While the first looked at the Punic wars, this one concentrates on the years 88-31 BC: The period between Marius and Sulla, and Antony and Octavian.

The main emphasis of the book though is on the campaigns of Julius Caesar, and the Civil War that broke out following his assassination. The author, Nic Fields, also makes brief mentions of Caesar's Gallic War, especially on the section covering fortifications.

The book sets out to explain the military organisation, arms and equipment, command and control, engineering, strategy, and battle tactics of the period. Full colour maps help illustrate the manouvering of the armies in battles such as Pharsalus, Thapsus and Philippi; while organisation charts explain the deployment of the legion, such as in the cohors and centuria. The book also explains the organisation of the Legions under Caesar, Pompey etc during periods in the Civil War, for instance during the winter of 50 BC, or the summer of 48 BC.

As well as giving you a background to the Civil War, the book also provides short one page biographies of the leading generals of the time such as Quintus Sertorius, Marcus Licinius Crassus, Pompey, Caesar, Antony and so on.

If the book has one flaw, it's in the strategic maps. These seem to be a problem with nearly all Osprey titles (except the Campaign Series). The maps do not give you a good idea of the battlefield terrain, with very little information on the terrain type.

With small flaws like these aside, this is a good (if at times, rather dry) introduction to the Roman Army of the Civil Wars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By amazon customer on 19 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
The perfect gift for all history buffs is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Another great offering from Osprey with an excellent informative and lively narrative. Considering the length of the booklet the author has packed in an enormous amount of information.

The very informative text is backed up with illustrations and photographs, highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great for a general overview 6 Aug. 2009
By Anibal Madeira - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author is a prolific Osprey writer, and he really knows about the subject. This work summarizes an extremely interesting period of Roman History: The civil wars that led to the downfall of the Republic.

The three main events are the Sulla and Marius conflict; Caesar against Republicans; and Caesarians against Liberators. The concise description of the events are quite clear, although obviously very succinct. The Marius Vs Sulla could be a little more detailed in my opinion.

But this book has much more then that; it includes small but well written biographies of all the main characters (and some secondary in the " big picture" like Lucculus or Sertorius, although I believe they are main characters in many contexts), descriptions of some emblematic battles like Pharsalus, Thapsus and Actium (with small maps), details on the organization and the changes from manipular to cohortal organization or the end of the distinctions between legio and ala of socii. Information about the equipment, including the evolution of the pilum and the "standardization" of the equipment, training and roman fighting styles are provided in a clear and well organized way.

This series, Battle Orders, although very well illustrated with clear photographs (in this book with excellent pictures that display statuary of legionaries and officers of the period), haven't the usual color plates of other ospreys series, but it is the format of this valuable series.

The author makes one small mistake confusing circumvallation with contravallation. If I recall correctly Circumvallation faces the sieged city/oppida, etc...contravallation protects the sieging army against eventual relief forces. The author professes the contrary.

If you have to buy just one book about this specific period, and don't want to read through a massive volume, this is a perfect buy. Recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Roman Military Machine of the 1st Century BC 27 May 2009
By K. Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent sourcebook on the command, organization, fighting styles, and engineering of the Late Republic Roman military, focusing on the armies of such celebrated warlords as Caesar, Pompey, Sulla, Antony, Sertorius, Crassus, Lucullus, and Marius. The only thing that is missing is the color plates typical of most other Osprey series, but textually this book is a fine singular source on this crucial period in Roman history, with maps, diagrams, and short biographies throughout.
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