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An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Uniforms of the Roman World Hardcover – 4 Dec 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Lorenz Books (4 Dec. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754823873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754823872
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 2.4 x 30.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 233,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Kevin F. Kiley, author, is a retired Marine Corps artillery officer, a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, and a veteran of the First Gulf War. An enthusiastic uniformologist, he has a masters degree in military history from Norwich University. This is his third title in the Lorenz Books uniform series. Jeremy Black MBE, consultant, is an expert in military history and has a impressive and sustained body of published work.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sadly I have to agree with the previous guy, this book is pretty bad. The illustrations are high quality (but then again they should be, many of them are straight-up copies of the works of the old masters like Angus McBride and Peter Connolly!) but the scholarship is pretty shoddy.

You get the sense that the author sometimes just doesn't know what he's talking about. There are a shocking number of errors in the captions which accompany the artwork, most of them are brief and feel uninformed. The author doesn't make much use of specialist terms, or simply uses the wrong terms. For example he labels a bucket-looking helmet as a pot helmet, and uses the same term to describe an elaborate, ornamental helmet not a few pages later. Another statement which floored me was the claim the Diocletianic reforms abolished segmented armour. Where on earth did the author find this statement??

Figures and helmets are mislabeled in pretty glaring ways. One bronze age-esque helmet is described as a later Germanic helmet (this term doesn't really exist), and several uniforms that clearly belong in the late 1st century are labeled as 4th century. I think late Roman scholarship has progressed to a level of general public awareness that makes this kind of mislabeling unacceptable.

The worst part was two figures that appear toward the end of the book. Both are copied from or at least heavily influenced by Graham Sumner's illustration in Osprey's Roman Naval Forces. One soldier was carrying a short javelin-like object, and the caption read: the arrow-like object is probably not a weapon but a symbol of rank. That's it. No further elaboration as to what its purpose was or where it came from. It's almost like the author was taken by surprise at what the illustrator gave him.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am sitting on the fence a bit simply because there is so much that is good that it deserves three stars. On the scholarship, well it's ok. A bit loose in some areas but to be truthful I bought it for the artwork which is excellent. That said some of the descriptions are....hopelessly wrong. The illustration of Vespasian has him carrying a helmet that is mid-to-late 2nd century in type, the Gallic cavalryman of 58bc shown on page 115 is actually a Macedonian companion of Alexanders time! As we get to the later Empire it's a lot more mistakes p.143 has a 2nd century soldier shown as 3rd century, p.147 lorica segmata armour for the 3rd century is pretty unlikely, the helmet worn by a cavalryman on p.149 is odd....the cavalryman shown two pages later is great except he isn't 4th century and certainly not 5th, two pages later and we have another cavalryman that's undateable, possibly 2nd Century but certainly not 476. Oddly enough the Eastern Roman army and subsequent periods is pretty flawless (although it's taken from Angus McBrides best illustrations and a few others) although it recreates some of the more doubtful conclusions.In short if you are interested in the uniforms (I don't subscribe to the idea that "uniform" means something else...army clothing -call it what you will -the idea was to conform to a recognisable style for us and them). then this is a very, very good book. The artwork in the main is accurate, and very colourful. Ok I think they have photoshopped a few real bodies onto existing artwork and that's....just wrong ... but if you have the Osprey Books (and I do) then this is a revisiting of a few of those but it's well worth the money.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Each book has its own fate, as the Romans were keen to observe, but I am inclined to believe that this book is merely re-living the life of others. Reading the book one very quickly gains the impression that the authors were seeking to cash in on the widespread interest in Roman military history with a minimum of effort - I really see no other explanation for such a poor result. The approach is a risky one, since the re-enactment community and other readers interested in the topic nowadays have access to a vast amount of well-written and lavishly illustrated books based on sound research and are thus mostly well-informed about recent developments in archaeology and Roman military history.
The book is obviously designed to appeal to readers for its large amount of illustrations of Roman soldiers. The illustrations themselves are a matter of taste, but they're decently done. Unfortunately, this cannot be said for the research that has, or rather has not not, gone into them. The illustrations are nearly all mere copies of pictures that have appeared in other works. Most have been adopted from the Osprey series (whose plates, let it be said, are not beyond some criticism themselves), but there are also illustrations copied from works like "Roman Cavalry Equipment" (Stephenson), "Byzantine Armies 325-1453 AD" (Belezos/Giannopoulos), and the brilliant two "Greece and Rome at War" (Peter Connolly)and "Warfare in the Ancient World" (John Warry), both still available and exquisitely illustrated if slightly dated.
"An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of the Roman World" is riddled with mistakes and inaccuracies. Other reviewers have already remarked upon the rather quaint mistakes which have made their way into the book, e. g.
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