12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A Terrific Title on Classical Warfare,
This review is from: Greece and Rome at War (Hardcover)
I remember reading Peter Connolly's 'The Roman Army' as a child and being very impressed with it. It was one of the catalysts that sparked my interest in the Classical World, and I eventually got round to buying this book. I've read dozens of titles on Greek and Roman Warfare, but this still stands as one of the best books ever written on the subject.
Peter Connolly covers the development of ancient warfare from the Persian wars of the 5th Century BC to the Collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD.
The book provides a broad historical overview of the entire period with an indepth look at ancient arms, armour and battle tactics.
This title is divided into three sections: Greece and Macedonia, Italy and the Western Mediterranean, and The Roman Empire. Every section covers a certain campaign, for instance we have overviews of the Persian Wars, Alexander's conquests and a very detailed account of the Second Punic War. Every section comes with colour photographs of the modern battlefields, tactical diagrams and strategic maps.
Along side the overviews, Connolly also writes about the equipment, weapons, armour, tactics and logistics of these ancient armies. Most pages also come with Connolly's paintings of archaeological finds. The book's brilliance is to show how Connolly can create his detailed reconstructions of a soldier's appearance through study of pottery art, coins, statues, mosaics; and archaeological items such as swords, helmets and cuirasses etc.
The book is filled with Connolly's reconstructive illustrations. These help give you a good idea about the appearance of soldier such as a Spartan Hoplite, a Roman Centurion or a Thracian Peltast. The very last section of the book is filled with several pages of brilliant paintings of Roman soldier's costumes, from Caesar's day to the end of the Empire.
I was also pleased to see that the other Classical peoples beside the Greeks and Romans are portrayed and illustrated. These include the Etruscans, Samnites, Celts, Persians, Iberians, Numidians and more.
The book finishes with a number of appendices that look at naval warfare, fortifications and sieges, artillery and siege machinery, and Roman military costume.
This is a exceptional book. It's well-written, scholarly but accessible, and well illustrated with 350 colour paintings, 38 maps, colour photographs, diagrams and charts. If you have an interest in Classical Warfare then this book should be right up there on your reading list. An Absolute Must Have!