Top positive review
42 people found this helpful
Excellent, well illustrated introduction.
on 21 December 2000
Traditionally, the founding of the Roman state is set as 753BC. Nine hundred years later Roman soldiers were patrolling Hadrian's Wall and maintaining a frontier line which extended across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Rome's achievement is often seen as a cultural one - as the triumph of a superior civilisation over inferior barbarians. The Romans, indeed, saw themselves as the favourites of the gods, with the absolute right to invade, conquer, and enslave other peoples. Their cultural and economic success, however, was built on the dynamic skills - military and administrative - of a professional army.
The most striking feature of Rome's Army, in fact, is its very professionalism. At a time when vitually every other society relied on ad hoc groups of warriors and armed retainers, Rome developed a full-time, career institution which demonstrated almost clockwork reliability in its creation and defence of empire.
Goldsworthy's account of the army, its evolution and growth is accomplished in a beautifully illustrated and very enjoyable volume. Inevitably, he cannot provide the in-depth detail a keen student would require, but 'Roman Warfare' is an excellent introduction which successfully blends visuals and narrative, and which should encourage the casual reader to delve further into the subject.