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Sea Eagles of Empire: The Classis Britannica and the Battles for Britain Kindle Edition
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All in all, this is a thorough piece of research. Oddly, I found the chapter on the demise of the CB and the subsequent crisis in the 3rd Century the most lucid and interesting element of the book, the author arguing that the absence of this maritime force was instrumental in understanding the political instability of the Gallic Empire and the rise of Carausius. Elsewhere, the author investigates the rule the Classis Britannica had in the administration of Roman Britain as well as it's role in industry , the latter being perhaps the most robust and well-researched element of this book. The role of this navy in the initial invasion by Claudius is made explicit and subsequent campaigns under the likes of Agricola further underline the fleet's significance and in my opinion, this book presents the best argument for the importance of it's role in these campaigns. This is further expanded when the operations on Scotland under Septimus Severus are considered.
I felt that this book demonstrated the author's authority on this topic and the text is aided by some nice photos even if I would have appreciated some illustrations to explain the various types of ship. However, there is a downside insofar that Simon Elliott is dealing with crumbs of information here. If you like, this is a niche topic within what is something of a niche topic itself because there is so little we really know about Roman Britain and particularly after Severus. In this sense, the book is by necessity a slim volume and there are times when the author goes off topic in order to explain the political issues so that the role of this navy can be considered in context. Sometimes, there is a tendency to pad this story out and, if anything, this is yet another example of a contemporary writer at the top of his game but let down by the paucity of contemporary information. This is just so much which cannot be learned about this period simply because there are no sources to explain what was truly going on. Simon Elliott's book is therefore as good as you can get on the topic.