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A good introduction to this neglected arm of the Roman forces
on 17 December 2010
You'd almost be forgiven for thinking that the Roman navy ceased to exist after 31BC. Octavian gains command of the Mediterranean after Actium, and the fleet seems to disappear from history, at least as most books are concerned. This is the point at which Raffaele D'Amato begins, covering the next five centuries.
The book addresses all the usual kind areas to be found in an Osprey - the fleets themselves; organisation & crews, ranks, recruitment and service; clothing, armour and weapons; the ships themselves; and seaborne warfare. A few surprises are thrown up to combat our misconceptions and suppositions. For example, it is commonly believed, on the basis of one single literary reference, that all naval personnel wore blue clothing as a camouflage, but archaeological analysis suggests that red was in use too. Graham Sumner's accompanying colour plates are of the usual high standard.
Readers interested in the Roman navy may also wish to take a look at the more thorough Roman Britain and the Roman Navy.