A thin book but full of relevant facts, and photos of highly interesting finds, many of them from forts in what is now Scotland. Who said the Romans did a runner and hid behind the famous Wall? They intended staying but future Emperors saw other targets elsewhere. Not so much attention seems to have been given to the cavalry and this tells us most of what we need to know without having to read through a veritable tome on this once mighty empire.
Osprey Publishing have produced many ancient military books over the years, some are good while others are less so. Only an exceptional few are truly excellent. Roman Auxillary Cavalryman comes very close to being one of those 'classic' titles.
The book is written by Nic Fields, a relativily new contributer who has none the less, pumped out several books on Egyptian, Greek and Roman warfare in a very short space of time. I have always had a feeling that these might end up being rushed and that they are bound to lack quality, but I am usually impressed by the breadth of information and the sound scholarship he produces.
This title, which is meant as an introduction to the Roman Auxillary Cavalryman, is packed full of information. It covers subjects such as recruitment, training, arms and equipment, organisation, religious beliefs and camplife, rewards and punishments... almost everything. It even has sections that explain how the cavalryman and his horse were supplied with food, and how much oats, barley and maize were needed to keep the horse in the field. I had never expected that the book would be that detailed, considering its size.
Adam Hook provides 8 pages of colour plates. These contain the usual battle scenes with a few pages on cavalry equipment and weapons put in as well. They are very good, and would be of some use to wargamers and reenactors.
I found this a very good book on a little researched topic. It deserves to be read by anyone who wants to learn about Roman cavalry, before they move on to the expensive scholarly books.
Also includes: Chronological timeline, A glossary of latin and military terms, and a bibliography.
This booklet is a solid introduction to the Roman Auxiliary Cavalryman, the one you see appearing in a number of historical novels, such as the ones from Manda Scott on the conquest of Britain for instance, or the ones that take place somewhere up North beyond or close to Hadrian's Wall.
First published in 2006, it follows a pattern that has now become a bit of a standard. It deals with recruitment, organization, equipment and appearance, training and exercises, conditions of service (pay, rewards and diet) and military day-to-day life before examining the role of the auxiliary cavalryman on campaign. It also presents some tentative numbers on Roman cavalry and their growing importance across the two-century period covered.
A nice touch has been to introduce an "After service" section that deals with the discharge of the veteran cavalrymen - the few that survived their 25 years of service - his death and burial. Also included in this section is a presentation of some of the quite numerous cavalry tombstones which have been discovered.
The contents are a good summary and therefore a goof introduction. The emphasis and the pieces on the equipment, the horse's diet and the training of both horse and rider come from Ann Hyland's books on "The Horse in the Roman world" and "Training the Roman Cavalry" based on Arrian's Tactical Treaty. The main points are both well-presented and well summarized
Just like the rest of the book, the plates are also good, even if neither of them is spectacular nor terribly original. You get the almost usual mix of plates on equipment, recruitment, horses, training, parade, battle, aftermath of the battle. Four stars.
This book is succinct; wasting no words whatsoever in its description of life in a Roman auxiliary cavalry regiment. The topic here is quite specific even within the realms of the Roman army, so if you already know something about Rome it will be a distinct advantage to your enjoyment.
The book covers many aspects of life for such a cavalry man from his recruitment right through to his death or retirement. The information on the equestrian side of life is very good. There is a detailed description of a saddle which was quite different to those common today. Snippets, such as how far a horseman may have been expected to ride in one day are great too.
This book deals best with, equipment and clothing and is supported admirably by some excellent photos and art work. The colour plates provided by Adam Hook are fantastic but become even more fascinating when looked at in conjunction with the accompanying commentary. One slight niggle here is that the commentary would be best presented on an opposite page to the picture, rather than at the end of the book causing one to turn back and forward.
There are one or two errors which I spotted but these are minor and in no way take anything away from the book as a whole. Perhaps they will be rectified in later editions.
Overall then, this is a great visual resource for those who want to get a feel for what things actually looked like. I already have my eye on one or two other Osprey books about different aspects of this period.
A very helpfull quick overlook over this relatively unknown topic with a lot of facts. It is usefull also for the academic resercher but for this field a list of sources and used literature is missing. Also the paintings are a good link in experimental archaeologie.