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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super mix of fun and education!
I purchased this with fairly low expectations, and was VERY pleasantly surprised. I've had an interest in the Romans for some years now, and I still managed to learn an awful lot from this little book - AND at times it made me laugh out loud in the process.

I hadn't realised it was going to be a hardback, so that was a nice bonus. The quality of the binding...
Published on 24 Jun. 2009 by Steampunk

versus
1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars poor
I bought this for my partner who is a real Roman follower.Thought he would enjoy a lighter view of the Roman Soldier life but he has been very disappointed with the way it is written.Very child like and not what he thought.Shame.
Published on 31 Jan. 2011 by deb


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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super mix of fun and education!, 24 Jun. 2009
By 
Steampunk "JS" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Legionary: The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual (Unofficial Manuals) (Hardcover)
I purchased this with fairly low expectations, and was VERY pleasantly surprised. I've had an interest in the Romans for some years now, and I still managed to learn an awful lot from this little book - AND at times it made me laugh out loud in the process.

I hadn't realised it was going to be a hardback, so that was a nice bonus. The quality of the binding means it will last a long, long time.

Each chapter starts with a Latin inscription, with a translation at the bottom of the page. Some of these are wonderful. 'Try to appear unimportant - the enemy may be low on ammunition.' 'We were against the cream of the Gallic army. The odds were a thousand to one... but he was a very tough Gaul.'

The text is also peppered with relevant quotations by actual Roman writers (in English!)

Lots of illustrations, including a photo section of modern-day reenactment guys in full battle gear.

Chapter headings include:

Joining the Roman Army.
The 'Good Legion' Guide.
Alternative Military Careers.
Kit and equipment.
People who will want to kill you.

And much more.

Even if you're an expert on the subject of ancient Rome, you'll still find this a fun read. If you're not, you'll find it a fun read AND learn lots in the process.

Very highly recommended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boys will love this! (Some girls, will, too.), 21 July 2009
This review is from: Legionary: The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual (Unofficial Manuals) (Hardcover)
I have just been to two re-enactment weekends and I think the Ermine Street Guard and Leg II Avg groups would highly approve of this wonderful new book.

Full of fun facts, brilliant colour illustrations and little primary-source nuggets, 'Legionary' is another great achievement by Philip 'Maty' Matyszak.

Written as if it was a manual for someone considering a career in the Roman Army, it contains info on everything from enlisting to celebrating a triumph (or choosing the wording on your tomb.) Just dipping into it you can discover fascinating facts. For example, did you know the Praetorian Guard had the scorpion for their symbol and they wore togas while on duty in the imperial palace? Did you know a calvary courier carrying a despatch was recognized by a feather tied to his spear? Did you know slingers sometimes put rude messages on their almond-shaped lead 'bullets'?

I also chuckled at the drily witty captions of some illustrations, e.g.
"One advantage of Judaea being a Roman province is that you will understand most of the insults being hurled at you, of which 'Romani ite domum' is likely to be among the least cruel and hurtful."

The perfect mixture of fun and info, with a brilliant collection of colour illustrations, this is a better resource than a whole year of attending re-enactment events! I would recommend it to anybody interested in the world of ancient Rome.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why can't more books be like this?, 2 May 2009
By 
Grev (Brighton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Legionary: The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual (Unofficial Manuals) (Hardcover)
This is a great little book about what life was like as a Roman legionary circa 100 AD. It's written as if it's an introductory manual for potential recruits and as such is shot through with gallows humour. Don't be fooled though, the author really knows his subject and doesn't skimp over his facts just to get to the next punchline - for instance he doesn't just glibly tell you that Legionaries wielded a short sword, he goes into detail about what to look for in a sword, how to use it and even which styles were in vogue C100 AD.

In short this is a great read and manages the not inconsiderable feat of being both highly informative and great fun at the same time. If only history was taught like this in schools.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A light- hearted witty manual for the would be Roman Legionary, 7 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Legionary: The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual (Unofficial Manuals) (Hardcover)
The perfect gift for all Roman history enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
As a student of Roman military history and a great admirer of Matyszaks works, I would say this offering is perfectly suited to the layman, an easy humorous guide depicting the life of a Roman Legionary of around 100 AD from induction as a recruit through training and eventual battle experience.

As with all the authors previous works the research is consummate, the narrative fast paced, a real page-turner, for me at least, and as a retired soldier I often found myself nodding and/or laughing out loud about some aspects of military life that will probably never change. Highly recommended.

The perfect companion to this excellent work is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE beaker, the author himself is the proud owner of one. This is what he has to say:
! THE DETAIL ON THE PANELS IS EXQUISITE. THE OVERALL EFFECT IS BOTH HANDSOME AND IMPRESSIVE. OVERALL, THIS BEAKER HAS PROVEN TO BE BOTH A HIGHLY PRACTICAL DRINKING VESSEL AND AN ORNAMENT TO WHATEVER SURFACE IT RESTS ON!Calix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, 4 July 2010
This review is from: Legionary: The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual (Unofficial Manuals) (Hardcover)
This is probably aimed at boys aged 10-16, but I am an adult and I loved it. It is a fantastic introduction to the Roman army, and is also quite detailed too. There are illustrations and full colour photos to complement the text. It probably doesn't manage to convince you that it is an actual manual to the ancient Roman army, but you learn so much and have such fun along the way - who cares! Absolutely every young teenage boy who has a passing interest in Roman warfare should read this book; and absolutely any adult who suffers from Roma-mania should read it - it is neither childish nor heavy reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, 28 Mar. 2011
By 
Biff - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Legionary: The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual (Unofficial Manuals) (Hardcover)
An excellent book that is written from a very original perspective - that of a manual for new recruits to the Roman Army.

Full of interesting details its style is very down to earth and littered with humerous little quips. You may feel as if you are there - its that good.

It is quite small but still good value.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent!!!, 1 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Legionary: The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual (Unofficial Manuals) (Hardcover)
I'm the sort of person who only writes reviews when an item is real good of really bad. This book falls straight into the really good catagory. I've purchased several factural Roman books and I find that I will dive into them from time to time, when I'm reading a fictional roman story and I'm curious about gaining some extra background knowledge. Not this book! Once you've started it you will want to finish it. Legionary is a really enjoyable read, with some good humour in the mix, and an easy understanding of what it might have been like to be a legionary.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ROMAN RAJ, 20 Dec. 2010
By 
Ludovico Sforza (Surrey England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Legionary: The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual (Unofficial Manuals) (Hardcover)
Interesting little book this. Purporting to be the unofficial Roman soldiers manual written for anyone contemplating joining the Roman military (covers the fleets and auxiliaries) around 100 A.D.

Very similar to "Ancient Rome on five denarii a day", obviously somewhat tongue in cheek - probably very similar to the type of booklet Kipling would have produced for budding recruits to the Indian army in the days of the Raj.

The author has a great sense of humour e.g. "Legionary's are somewhat scornful of the navy, and are eager to tell of its role in the first Punic war, when it transported almost a quarter of a million men straight to the bottom of the sea without any help from the enemy." Some 200 pages long, covering areas such as `Joining the Roman Army, Life in Camp, How to Storm a City and Battle', just the sort of information I would have enjoyed before I joined the army!

For all the humour though most of the statements and information it contains are based on facts (as we currently understand them) and taken from Roman sources (albeit via various monasteries).
I read it at the same time that I was working my way through the tome that is Dando-Collins "Legions of Rome" and it was a joy, it helped put the whole thing on a more human level. Recommended, though I have to say I think it is a book that might be better served/enjoyed as an MP3.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legionary!, 15 July 2010
By 
Je Salter (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Legionary: The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual (Unofficial Manuals) (Hardcover)
A very good book with lot's of interesting details and an excellent reference source. If you want to know more about the Roman army, this is a book for you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sinister,dexter,sinister, dexter, etc., 29 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Legionary: The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual (Unofficial Manuals) (Hardcover)
I enjoyed theis very much. A very good explination of coditions in the Roman Legions and how they operated. One understands why their organisation and discipline made them allconquering despite the occasional set back by the Parthian mounted archers. Anyone thinking of joining the legions should read this first and then, like myself, join the navy.
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