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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The men who held the Roman army together, 24 Feb 2012
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E. L. Wisty "World Domination League" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Roman Centurions 31 BC-AD 500 (Men-at-arms) (Paperback)
Dr Raffaele D'Amato's text provides a useful overview of the Roman "NCO" ranks who held the Roman army, and thus the empire, together. One caveat is that Dr D'Amato notes that certain discussions of regular duties and tactical leadership are covered in the earlier volume Roman Centurions 753-31 BC and are not repeated here, so you may also need that for completeness even though it covers the pre-imperial period. He also confesses, despite the 500AD of the title, to giving little coverage here to the army post-Diocletian & Constantine reforms and the rank of centenarius.

Contents:

ORGANIZATION:
-The early Principate: legionary centurions; auxilia; Praetorian Guard, urbaniciani, vigiles, frumentarii
-The later Empire

CAREERS:
-Selection and appointment
-Career progression and social class
-Quasi-military duties

RISKS AND REWARDS:
-Pay, influence and clandestine employment

SOCIAL STATUS:
-Wealth; religious observances

ARMS & EQUIPMENT:
-The early Principate: helmets; shields; body armour; ringmail, muscled, scale, leather & fabric, segmentata; greaves; weapons
-The later Empire: helmets; shields; body armour; weapons

CLOTHING & DISTINCTIONS
-Tunics - cloaks; trousers; caps
-The vine-staff; military decorations

Giuseppe Rava's colour plates are good quality, though the limb proportions look a little odd in some of them. Many of the figures presented here are representations of specific individuals known through funerary inscriptions and the like.

The plates:
A: Augustan-Tiberian period 1st century BC - 1st century AD
B: Julio-Claudian dynasty AD14-64
C: Flavian dynasty AD69-96 - investiture of a centurion
D: Trajan's first Dacian campaign 101-102 - Trajan; primi ordines; centurio ordinarius
E: Antonine & Severan periods 2nd-3rd centuries - centurion of VII Praetorian Cohort AD150; centurion from Philadelphia, Egypt AD117-136; centurion of Legio II Parthica, late 2nd/early 3rd century
F: The anarchy of the 3rd century - centurio primus ordo Legio I Italica AD251; centurion hunting on horseback, late 3rd century; centurio ordinarius of Legio II Dioclatiana, Thebes, late 3rd ceentury
G: The battle for Italy, early fourth century - centurio ordinarius of Constantine's army; cavalry centurion Legio IV Flavia; centurion of VI Praetorian cohort; centurion of Legio XI Claudia
H: 4th-5th century - centenarius of a Legio Palatina, Rome AD350; centenarius of a Scholae Palatinae, Constantinople, AD390; centenarius of Western Roman infantry, Concordia Sagittaria, 5th century.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the general reader or student of Roman military history., 12 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Roman Centurions 31 BC-AD 500 (Men-at-arms) (Paperback)
This volume is a follow up to Roman Centurians, 753-31 BC, The Kingdom and the Age of the Consuls by the same author. Using ancient records and sources and archeological evidence the author and the illustrator (Company Member Guiseppe Rava) reconstruct the ever changing uniform of the Roman centurion from the Age of Augustus to the extinction of the Western Empire. Nowhere do we meet a drab centurion. Variations in leg armor, and helmet and armor styles are well depicted and explained. Even the centurion's vine staff (vitis) changes and the distiguishing transvere crest diappears. We even see a Roman adaptation of Christian symbols on the uniform and a re-created investiture ceremony (Plates H1 and C).

All centurion ranks are classified, their decorations are illustrated and, as in the previous volume, we are acquainted with actual centurions through their grave markers and their personal inscriptions left on various monuments around the empire. Particularly evocative is the inscription (found in modern Bulgria-ancient Moesia and dated to 184 AD) of Lucius Maximus Gaetulicus, chief centurion of Legion I Italica, who served for 57 years (p.3).

For the general reader or as a reference while reading the classics, Roman Centurions is highly recommended. The perfect companion to this fine work is THE ROMA VICTRIX wine beakerCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
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Roman Centurions 31 BC-AD 500 (Men-at-arms)
Roman Centurions 31 BC-AD 500 (Men-at-arms) by Raffaele DAmato (Paperback - 20 Feb 2012)
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