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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.
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This is a very good basic introduction to the subject, as you would expect from this author. The text is supported by a good selection of maps and illustrations. The chapters are
P017: Introduction
P025: Early Rome and the Conquest of Italy
P041: The Wars with Carthage and the Hellenistic Kingdoms
P077: World Conquest 202 BC – AD 14
P113: Controlling the World AD 14-193
P161: Crisis and Reform
P195: Collapse in the West, Recovery in the East
P210: Tables, Bibliography, Index etc.

For a more recent book on the same subject, I would Michael Pitassi’s The Navies of Rome. This looks at the same content, but in more detail – as it is not as lavishly illustrated – and considers Rome’s campaigns from the view of Roman seapower, including riverine warfare. It covers the land campaigns in much more depth than this volume, as it has more space to work with.
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on 26 September 2000
if you share my interest in the roman empire and the legions but don`t know where to begin, this is a good starting point.
You will learn how, and why,a small city became an empire and created the most astonishing fighting machine the world had ever, or would ever, see. Notwithstanding other great empires throughout human history, most, if not all, were based upon a ruler, be it a man or a family, that collapsed after their demise. This book will show you why that was not the case with the romans, since they not only created an agressive army but armed it with much more than weapons.
The legion on the march brought with it the rule of law, civil administration, religious tolerance and a wish to absorb the new conquered people into their midst, conceding citizenship and trading benefits once victory was reached.
Their amazing fortitude in batlle, not giving up despite huge losses, magnanimity once it was all over or ruthless massacres to prevent further revolts if necessary, can only be seen as instruments of a much higher design when on top of it all from the conquered later on came the new legionaires, senators, consuls, and even emperors.
How it ends is also shown. And a version of why, presented.
"Roman Warfare" shows it all. And made me want to go deeper.
What else can you wish for your money on a book ?
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on 6 January 2016
A concise history of the rise of Rome and its army. Well written and well researched. The illustrations and maps were particularly useful. For more detailed analyses of the subject Goldsworthy provides a good bibliography. It is a volume I can recommend to the general reader. It certainly destroys a lot of myths I had about the Romans.
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on 5 March 2016
I purchased this book for a particular reason, it provided the information I was interested in, it was easy to read, I felt it was well written, it could easily have been twice as long, which may or may not be good thing. My only concern is I wished I had invested in a hard back copy.
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on 7 August 2014
A great read. looks and feels more like a text book then a traditional book. Filled with clear battlefield maps, photos and graphics. Interesting read and very informative. Great service in regards to delivery and condition on arrival.
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on 23 September 2015
Decent. Book is quite short and not as much detail as I would like. Decent little summary if you are new to the field and want a quick overview.
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on 17 April 2011
great introduction to Roman warfare through the ages. Very readable and informative. The information is presented in a very easy to digest way and there are numerous illustrations, including maps of various battles.
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on 8 August 2010
Adrian Goldsworthy describes the tactics and weapons of the legions that conquered the whole of the known world in such a relatively short space of time. being obsessed with the roman empire this book was an excellent addition to my collection and gave a lot more knowledge of the roman way of waging war.
a must read for any person interested in roman history.
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on 5 March 2014
Bought as a gift and it was very appreciated. Another good book from a well-known author. Would recomend this book.
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