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Philippi 42 BC: The death of the Roman Republic (Campaign) Paperback – 10 Aug 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (10 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846032652
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846032653
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 0.5 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 630,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"[The book] is superbly illustrated using artwork from the ages and ... coins to show the people involved ... there are the superb illustrations and artwork of Steve Noon to add some color to things. I have to say that this is really an excellent book on this pivotal series of events. One that shaped this section of the world for a very long time to come. A book I know you will enjoy reading." -Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com (September 2008)

[The book] is superbly illustrated using artwork from the ages and ... coins to show the people involved ... there are the superb illustrations and artwork of Steve Noon to add some color to things. I have to say that this is really an excellent book on this pivotal series of events. One that shaped this section of the world for a very long time to come. A book I know you will enjoy reading. "Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com (September 2008)""

Book Description

This is a comprehensive guide to one of the most critical battles that sounded the death knell for the Roman Republic and changed the course of history.

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Format: Paperback
Si Sheppard has produced another excellent title on the Roman Civil Wars for Osprey. His first book was on the engagement of Caesar and Pompey's forces at Pharsalus. In this title he presents a fascinating analysis of the battle of Philippi between the forces of Brutus and Cassius, who stood for the Republic, and the armies of Octavian and Marc Antony of the Second Triumvirate.

The book begins following Caesar's assassination. From here we are taken on a tour of events which eventually led to the second civil war. Along the way Sheppard explains the campaigns around Mutina, from the siege to the confusing battle of Forum Gallorum (there are two conflicting accounts of the battle). Luckily Sheppard disintangles this confusing mess, and gives us a clear understanding of the battle based on both versions by Galba and Appian.

From here we also learn about the organisation of the Roman army of the period. Sheppard makes this section relevant to the campaign, explaining the importance of having the legion acting as individual units, and not as one rigid front, for flexibility. This useful for understanding why Brutus lost to Antony on the second day of the battle.

With the background to the campaign explained, Sheppard discusses the battle and its aftermath, including the Antony's later campaigns against the Parthians. If the book has one weakness it is that more than half of it's length is taken up discussing the build up to the battle and its consequences, rather than the engagement itself. As a matter of fact, it doesn't even get to the battle until at least 50 pages into the book. That said, the analysis of the battle is excellent, and the 3D bird's eye-view maps included are useful.
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This campaign book, coming after Pharsala which dealt with Caesar's Civil War and not only the battle he decisively won over Pompey, presents good overview of the years between the assassination of the Dictator to around 38 BC.
Just like the previous volume, this one provides the reader with a lot of background and quite a bit of information on the aftermath, with the battle taking centre stage. This is necessary to understand the political and military events that form the context of the battle itself. Even if it might seem superfluous to some and although it does take up a good third of the book, the months that followed Caesar's murder but also the first clash between Marc Antony and Octavius do need to be presented so as to explain Philippi.

I found that the "cast of characters", the two mentioned above plus Brutus and Cassius, was rather excellent. Marc Antony is depicted as "constantly at his best in a crisis" but prone to disaster when given executive office, not exactly a diplomat and not gifted for playing politics. He has also been described as a "soldier's soldier" and a charismatic, tough but sometimes rash leader whose ultimate station was that of "a loyal subordinate to a dominant personality." Octavius was much the opposite. He was no soldier. His health was poor, but he was intelligent, ambitious, cunning and ruthless and perhaps even better at politics than Marc Antony was at soldiering. On the other side, the respective characters of Cassius Longinus and Junius Brutus have often been opposed and almost caricatured. As the book shows very well, Brutus was no wimp, not necessarily the "romantic idealist" he has been made out to be and proved that he could be quite ruthless, despite his - largely posthumus - reputation of being virtuous and noble.
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A Good Book for non-academic readers who have an interest in Roman History but want it explained in everyday language.
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I didn't know much about the battle before and this book gave all the information.
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Great book for reference purposes
Delivery first class
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