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Early Roman Warrior 753-321 BC Paperback – 20 Jul 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (20 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849084998
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849084994
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 0.6 x 25 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 492,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

I wholeheartedly recommend this title as indispensable to all Ancient wargamers --Miniature Wargames

Book Description

An examination of the earliest Roman warriors and their military development.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have had this Osprey title for a while, having bought it shortly after it was published in 2011. However, I have not up to now, reviewed it simply because I had trouble making up my mind and coming up with a well-balanced assessment. This is what my review’s title is supposed to reflect and it is also what the somewhat contrasting reviews of other reviewers reflect to some extent.

To be fair, this Osprey Warrior title was not an easy one to come up with. As others have mentioned, the scope (over four centuries) could in itself be an issue, especially when this has to be summarised in the usual sixty four pages format.

There is worse, however: all the sources are debatable, when they are not lacking. The written sources, Livy in particular, but also Polybius to some extent, are questionable and have been questioned. This was largely because they wrote centuries after the time and events that they described. It is also because what they contain is in part drawn from older lost sources, which we do not know and whose worth we cannot assess. This is, to quote T.J. Cornell, the issue about “the sources of the sources”.

A second and related set of issues is that archaeology and its findings may help, but only up to a point, and it can also contribute in some cases to further “muddying the waters”. A case in point is the discussions about Early Roman shields, where the Scutum is assumed to be derived from a Gallic prototype, which is very plausible. However, the shape, dimensions and construction of early Scutum shields are assumed to be similar to the unique exemplar preserved and found in Egypt and which dates, at best, from the second century BC.
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By Squirr-El HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 26 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very good basic introduction to the subject – and to be honest, as there isn’t that much information to begin with, and greater depth would involve listing small bits of archaeological evidence and going into detailed academic arguments over the interpretation thereof.

The Contents are:
P04: Introduction
P07: Chronology of major events
P09: Italy before Rome
.Villanovans; Etruscans; Latins; Sabines; Oscans; Greeks
P18: Early Roman Warfare
.Clan warfare; City-state warfare
P27: Levying
.Clan gathering; Citizen muster
P33: Equipment and Appearance
.Spear; Sword; Shield; Citizen phalanx
P44: Belief and Belonging
.Gods of crops and war; Group identity
P49: On Campaign
.Raid and ambuscade; Pitched battle
P62: Glossary; Bibliography
P64: Index

The author describes the evolution of the Roman warrior from a brigand and cattle-raider, to a member of a tribal war-band (still interested in brigandage and cattle raiding) to membership of a citizen-phalanx, examining cultural influences from the neighbouring tribes, and the evolution of weaponry and armour, as well as the evolution of the cultural / civic milieu in which the warrior existed. The next stage of Roman military evolution / development would be the conversion of the warrior to soldier (a major cultural change).

The colour plates are:
A: Clan chieftain – “They were resplendent in shining helmets, pectorals and greaves, which were fashioned from beaten bronze often beautified with embossing”. As well as showing a clan chieftain in full panoply, there are detailed illustrations of his armour, plus a range of swords and helmets.
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Format: Paperback
Sorry to say this book does not live up to expectations. If charitable, I would say that the scope is too broad. There is of course a problem with lacking or debatable source material. This means that the author falls back on the well known classics (Livy, Polibius etc). Where there are lacunae he fills in the blanks with some antropological basic assumptions about societal development which I can't really judge. These blanks are also filled with in with oddly sounding hyperbole " in the field of battle, there is on indisputable unwelcome fact that death, the great equalizer, might come visiting at any moment".
Fair enough, but equally true of any field of conflict.
The photographs of archeological finds are well chosen though, and the illustrations are fine, though not yet outstanding. My personal preference is for less crowded battle scenes, a few more individual poses.
All in all a book which focuses more than I like on broad history, and less on the "Early Roman Warrior 753-321 BC".
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Excellent Info on how the tribes went about there business and weapons and armour
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A wonderful product and all of osprey, magnificent illustrations, though few, easy and entertaining reading.
An excellent work and all to which we are accustomed to the publisher.
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