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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2000
David Nicolle's attept to describe the fall of Celtic Britain, and the subsequent history right up the the Norman invasion dips its toe into all aspects of military history, without getting itself too wet. A good yet brief overview of the Britons, Saxons, Irish, Picts, Noresmen, Scots and Welsh is provided, although some of the views expressed are now a little dated at the turn of the twenty first century. Overall this is a good introductory book - and I believe that this is all that the book is meant to be. The colour plates are as good as ever, and provide plenty of scope for figure painters, wargamers, modellers, re-enactors and those just interested in what the warriors of this time looked like. If you enjoyed this book, it is worth looking at the following too:
Lords of Battle (Stephen Evans) Barbarian Warriors (Dan & Susanna Shadrake)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 August 2012
This is one of the older ones of the Men-at-Arms series and was first published in 1984. Rather than being entirely focused on Arthur and the Anglo-Saxons, as I had expected when I bought it years ago, it is in fact a relatively short (40 pages only) overview of the whole period going from the end of Roman Britain to Normans. Because of this, it is rather high level and succinct. Some might even find it somewhat superficial, although it does show the main evolutions and helps to put things in perspective.

The book has also become somewhat dated, particularly with regards to the sections on post-Roman Britain and the Early Anglo-Saxons, where more recent archeological finds have tended to modify historians perspectives. It also has some flaws and imprecisions, for instance in the chronology which mentions that the last Roman regular troops were withdrawn in 407, which is somewhat unlikely. Another simplification is the dating of the "traditional death of Arthur", supposed to be in AD 537 where, essentially, we simply do not know for certain and some historians even dispute whether this legendary character ever existed. By and large, however, this is a relatively good, even if high level, introduction into the so-called "Dark Ages".

The main merit of this book nowadays lies probably with its plates from Angus McBride which. These are simply excellent and would be particularly useful for a wargamer wanting ti paint his/her figurines, for instance. My favorites were the Late Roman and Romano-British ones, but the others are also very good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 November 2014
The perfect gift for all Roman history enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Another decent offering from Osprey and a great narrative by David Nicolle . Considering the length of the booklet Nicolle packs in an enormous amount of information.

The very informative text is backed up with superb artwork by Angus McBride , maps illustrations.and photographs, recommended.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Don't be fooled by the title, this book doesn't just cover the historical Arthurian period. It takes you through from the end of Roman Britain right up to the end of Anglo-Saxon England, taking in the rise of the Saxon kingdoms and the coming of the Norsemen along the way.
Trying to cram so much history into so few pages is never easy, especially with the inclusion of Irish and Pictish affairs, so the book never manages to touch upon the subject in any great depth. Having said that, Osprey's distinguished list of books on military history are only intended as broad introductions, and this book fulfils that role pretty well.
The only downside is that so much of the interpretation within is now out of date; it could really do with a new edition to take in the past few years' findings.
As ever, the colour plate section in the centre of the book is really helpful, fleshing out our imagination of how the fighting man of the post-Roman era might have equipped himself.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2004
This book is, so far, my favourite made by the “team” David Nicolle and Angus McBride; complementing a great and concise text by David Nicolle is some of the best artwork made by Angus McBride.
The text is divided in the following parts: introduction, chronology, the Arthurian age, Saxon and Celt, Britain and the Vikings.
The text provides a brief but very good introduction to the subject (Britain from the end of Roman dominion to the battle of Hastings) and is complemented by a fairly good bibliography (for further reading on the subject); perhaps this bibliography could be updated by the publishers or author (online?) as the book was published 20 years ago.
As I am an amateur illustrator I will take a little more space talking about the colour plates.
Honestly I can say that all of them are great!
When I got the book and was looking at the colour plates, every new one astonished me; the details, the composition and the atmosphere are superb in all of the illustration.
Next I will talk about each plate and present some of the best aspects of each one.
Plate A depicts a group of late roman soldiers; the faces of all of them and the helmet of figure 1;
Plate B presents some Anglo-Saxon warriors; the helmets and the entire figure 1;
Plate C (used in the cover art) is about a Romano-British warriors; the atmosphere and composition;
Plate D illustrates Pictish and north-British warriors; the atmosphere (at night) and the face of figure 3;
Plate E is about Ireland; again the faces, figure 2 and the army in the background;
Plate F (my favourite) represents a 9th century English king and a warrior and a monk; the composition, the atmosphere and details as the king’s cloths;
Plate G illustrates some Scandinavians warriors; the composition and the armour of figure 1 and the tunic of figure 3;
Plate H (one of the best) the composition and the atmosphere (in battle).
Either you are interested in the subject or really like good artwork this is really a must buy book!
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on 22 March 2013
Osprey books are always good, but this one is particularly well illustrated. Angus Macbride was one of the very best historical illustrators combining accurate depictions of arms and armour, even of horse breeds, with well posed dynamic groups of figures.
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on 20 August 2014
kids loved it
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2013
This book provides exactly what it says on the cover. Basic but very useful work. Some nice plates and good outline of the history of the period.
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