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THE PRAETORIAN GUARD Hardcover – 15 Feb 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Unknown (15 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602586497
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602586499
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.6 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,237,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"The Praetorian Guard is a much-needed and valuable history of the Praetorian Guard from its origins to its disbandment by the emperor Constantine the Great in AD 312. Clear and concise in style, supported by ancient and current secondary sources, Bingham's study is balanced in its treatment of an often partisan subject."--Sara Elise Phang, author of Roman Military Service: Ideologies of Discipline in the Late Republic and Early Principate

"Bingham's fast-paced and carefully constructed narrative, backed up by sound analysis of crucial issues, expertly conveys the reader though this blood-thirsty and exciting tale, which highlights important issues in the wider history of the Roman world. Readers will welcome its crisp and clear style and eye for intriguing details of life in the guard."--Brian Campbell, Professor of Roman History, Queen's University, Belfast, UK

"The Praetorian Guard is a valuable contribution to Roman history generally and specifically to Roman imperial rule, the household of the emperor, and the person of the emperor himself."--R. Alden Smith, Professor of Classics, Baylor University

"Bingham has performed a valuable service in providing an up-to-date and detailed discussion in English of the history, structure and development of the Praetorian Guard. Her treatment of the relationship between the emperor and his elite regiment offers an important insight into the crucial relationship between the imperial office and the military force that was essential to its survival and effectiveness."--Michael M. Sage, Professor Emeritus, University of Cincinnati

Bingham has written what will be the standard book in English on the subject in a style that should endear it to a wider audience.--Conor Whately, University of Winnipeg "Bryn Mawr Classical Review ""

...an original mind at work. This is an exceptionally clear-headed and hard-working volume.--Steve Donoghue "Open Letters Monthly "

In short, Bingham s book is important if not essential reading for students of Roman imperial history; future work on the Praetorian Guard will depend in large part on the impressive efforts on display here.--Lee Fratantuono, Ohio Wesleyan University "The Historian ""

Bingham's book is important if not essential reading for students of Roman imperial history; future work on the Praetorian Guard will depend in large part on the impressive efforts on display here.--Lee Fratantuono "The Historian "

About the Author

Sandra Bingham is Teaching Fellow in Classics, University of Edinburgh. She resides in Edinburgh, Scotland.


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Top Customer Reviews

By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 13 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was lucky enough to get hold of a copy of this. I find the notion of the Praetorian Guard a fascinating one; and as they always seem to be involved, whether on the periphery or right in the middle of all Empire business, it was good to be able to read their story specifically.

This book focuses on the period from the foundation of the guard by Augustus in 27 BCE to its disbandment by Constantine in CE 312. The book covers the history, organisation and duties of the Guard over that period, from the forced incorporated by Augustus for his own protection, to one that permated all aspects of life in the capital until their demise in 312. While the book is about 240 pages, only just over 120 pages of that is text; the rest is notes, bibliography and index. The notes and bibliography are worth reference. Personally I prefer footnotes to endnotes when reading a book like this, as it makes constant reference to copious notes easier than having to flip whole sections of the book to the end notes, but that's just me.

This is, to an extent as well, an attempt by the author to correct misinformation that is out there regarding the Praetorian Guard. Examples of such are given in film and internet sources, and fictional representations of the Guard are noted. Clearly the author feels strongly that the time is right for an available text in English on this most important Imperial institution. I would have to agree.

This is a most interesting book; concise yet full of information in an invaluable format for anyone wishing to learn more about the history, role and importance of the Praetorian Guard in the Empire. Totally recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Bingham's [Edinburgh University] is an highly enjoyable read, and takes great pains to separate the archaeology/historical texts from the fiction of the Praetorian Guard. It primarily focuses on the Guard under the Julio-Claudians, as well as giving a potted history of the cohorts until their dissolution under Constantine. The book contains detailed information on the soldiers, their uniforms, Castra Praetoria and duties; while dispelling myths of such as the Guards wearing togas around the palace.

The book also contains excellent sections on the evasive Speculatores, and the role of the Vigiles.

The actual text only comes to 125 pages, so the £25 RRP might be a bit high for some, but I highly recommend it to any Roman enthusiast.
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By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very readable and relatively short book (124 pages for the main text) but also a piece of carefully researched scholarship, with some 85 pages of notes and another 15 pages of references. As such, it is accessible to a wide audience. It has an interesting story to tell. It could also be a good companion for those who have already invested in Boris Rankov's "The Praetorian Guard", in Osprey's Elite series if only because the latter has some nice plates and relatively good content but not enough space to cover the three and a half centuries of history of the Guard.

The book has three particularly interesting features. One is to show in the introduction to what extent common perceptions of the Praetorians have often verged on caricatures, with the Guards been seen as evil and/or corrupt. A second feature is to show how the Guard evolved from its Republican origins as the Praetorian cohort and bodyguard of successful Roman warlords into the Guard of the only warlord to emerge victorious from the Civil Wars (Octavius Augustus). The third feature presents and discusses how the roles assigned to the Guard increased over time and went well beyond that of bodyguards to include that of secret police, executioners, fire-fighters and fighting troops accompanying the Emperor on campaigns and effectively fighting in the field.

One of the most interesting points made by Sandra Bingham is to show that all of these functions were derived from the Guard's main feature: its closeness to the reigning Emperor and that this closeness and the loyalty and the trust that it implied could lead to assigning them the most delicate missions, including in some cases the removal of other members of the Imperial family.
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Format: Hardcover
I was lucky enough to get hold of a copy of this. I find the notion of the Praetorian Guard a fascinating one; and as they always seem to be involved, whether on the periphery or right in the middle of all Empire business, it was good to be able to read their story specifically.

This book focuses on the period from the foundation of the guard by Augustus in 27 BCE to its disbandment by Constantine in CE 312. The book covers the history, organisation and duties of the Guard over that period, from the forced incorporated by Augustus for his own protection, to one that permated all aspects of life in the capital until their demise in 312. While the book is about 240 pages, only just over 120 pages of that is text; the rest is notes, bibliography and index. The notes and bibliography are worth reference. Personally I prefer footnotes to endnotes when reading a book like this, as it makes constant reference to copious notes easier than having to flip whole sections of the book to the end notes, but that's just me.

This is, to an extent as well, an attempt by the author to correct misinformation that is out there regarding the Praetorian Guard. Examples of such are given in film and internet sources, and fictional representations of the Guard are noted. Clearly the author feels strongly that the time is right for an available text in English on this most important Imperial institution. I would have to agree.

This is a most interesting book; concise yet full of information in an invaluable format for anyone wishing to learn more about the history, role and importance of the Praetorian Guard in the Empire. Totally recommended.
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