Dr Raffaele D'Amato's text provides a useful overview of the Roman "NCO" ranks who held the Roman army, and thus the empire, together. One caveat is that Dr D'Amato notes that certain discussions of regular duties and tactical leadership are covered in the earlier volume Roman Centurions 753-31 BC and are not repeated here, so you may also need that for completeness even though it covers the pre-imperial period. He also confesses, despite the 500AD of the title, to giving little coverage here to the army post-Diocletian & Constantine reforms and the rank of centenarius.
ORGANIZATION: -The early Principate: legionary centurions; auxilia; Praetorian Guard, urbaniciani, vigiles, frumentarii -The later Empire
CAREERS: -Selection and appointment -Career progression and social class -Quasi-military duties
RISKS AND REWARDS: -Pay, influence and clandestine employment
SOCIAL STATUS: -Wealth; religious observances
ARMS & EQUIPMENT: -The early Principate: helmets; shields; body armour; ringmail, muscled, scale, leather & fabric, segmentata; greaves; weapons -The later Empire: helmets; shields; body armour; weapons
Giuseppe Rava's colour plates are good quality, though the limb proportions look a little odd in some of them. Many of the figures presented here are representations of specific individuals known through funerary inscriptions and the like.
The plates: A: Augustan-Tiberian period 1st century BC - 1st century AD B: Julio-Claudian dynasty AD14-64 C: Flavian dynasty AD69-96 - investiture of a centurion D: Trajan's first Dacian campaign 101-102 - Trajan; primi ordines; centurio ordinarius E: Antonine & Severan periods 2nd-3rd centuries - centurion of VII Praetorian Cohort AD150; centurion from Philadelphia, Egypt AD117-136; centurion of Legio II Parthica, late 2nd/early 3rd century F: The anarchy of the 3rd century - centurio primus ordo Legio I Italica AD251; centurion hunting on horseback, late 3rd century; centurio ordinarius of Legio II Dioclatiana, Thebes, late 3rd ceentury G: The battle for Italy, early fourth century - centurio ordinarius of Constantine's army; cavalry centurion Legio IV Flavia; centurion of VI Praetorian cohort; centurion of Legio XI Claudia H: 4th-5th century - centenarius of a Legio Palatina, Rome AD350; centenarius of a Scholae Palatinae, Constantinople, AD390; centenarius of Western Roman infantry, Concordia Sagittaria, 5th century.
A series of books from Osprey worthy of 5stars. The colour drawings are a much needed element in this subject and show in good detail the best soldiers that Rome produced from 31 BC to 500 AD. Centurion L. Blattius Vetus of the IV Macedonica legion is shown in full armour with transverse helmet,decorated shield and carrying his trademark vine stick made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I think if you can learn what made the Roman Army tick then you can start to understand the rise of its empire and ultimately its decline.