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The Roman Cavalry Paperback – 11 Sep 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; New Ed edition (11 Sept. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415170397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415170390
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 877,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Karen R. Dixon has a Doctorate from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. She is a professional archaeological illustrator. She is the co-author of The Late Roman Army (Batsford 1996). Pat Southern is Librarian of the Newcastle upon Tyne Literary and Philosophical Society. She is the co-author of The Late Roman Army (Batsford 1996) and the author of Domitian (Routledge 1997).

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The sources of information for the Roman cavalry are the same as those commonly used for any history of the Roman army as a whole. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book on “The Roman Cavalry”, first published in 1992, and there does not seem to have been a second edition. Throughout the book, the authors keep insisting about how little we know about the topic they cover, to the extent that most of the aspects that they discuss are mentioned very tentatively and that the book often feels like a compilation and a review of the various theories and theses developed by previous authors.

Worse, the authors themselves do not seem to have any clear point to make, other than trying to describe how the cavalry was organised, and the rather complex logistics and procurement involved in sourcing horses and their feed. There are also lengthy and tentative discussions about how barracks for horse regiments could have accommodated only some, but not all, of the horses, implying that many must have been in open air corals around the forts where cavalry alae were stationed. Unfortunately, even this is mostly the authors’ “guesswork” as they mention several times that very few forts, and even fewer cavalry forts, had been extensively excavated when they published this book. Some twenty two years later, this supposition, and many other similar ones, could do with an update that would take into account more recent archaeological findings.

Even if the book included the most up to date findings, it would still be rather incomplete. First, it is mainly centred on the Roman cavalry from the 1st to the 3rd century AD. There are some references to the Roman cavalry during the Republic, and a few about the fourth century, but only a few. This came as a major surprise to me and was rather odd.
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Format: Hardcover
A good and easily read book, outlining the Roman Cavalry functions and formation. General, and although not detailed, gives a good foundation for futher research. This was my intention.

I do find the drawings a little of the 'comic book' variety, and possibly romanticised, but they give colour to the text.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Alessandro Panzera on 25 May 2002
Format: Paperback
I want to tell you another time: boring. Southern and Dixon give a lot of info, conjectures and photos but fail (or don't want) to give narrative. In their work they speak to the scholar and not the curious or the amateur of this particular subject and don't care to amuse anybody. I must point out that this work is very exaustive, describing equipment, enlistment, parades and everything regarding roman cavalry.
When they got no evidence for a singular aspect they speculates comparing and quoting reagulations of 18th and 19th centuries armies.
If you (like me) read Davies "Service in the roman army" and Vegetius "Epitoma rei militaris like" you'll find that you are reading many passages for the second time in a different book. This is normal, but if you have good memory the result will be skipping several lines. If you love the subject this is a must. Beware, untill chapter 8 (147 pages) your reading will be a pleasure but not very amusing (the latter obviously, is not the goal of the book); chapters 9-14 (91 pages) are a titanic struggle for anyone but the (living) horse fanatic. I reached the end 'cause I felt the task a sort of mission but, doing this, I moved some steps towards depression. The last comment is: read it because is well written and covers every aspect of roman cavalry (4 stars) but BEWARE THE BORING ASPECT.
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