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Interesting text let down by numerous inaccuracies
on 23 February 2017
You'd expect a book written by a Roman academic of thirty years' experience* to be accurate. Not so!
I bought Invisible Romans by Robert Knapp several years ago, and enjoyed the first few chapters. In the last couple of days, I've gone back to it and read the chapters on soldiers and prostitutes. As I'm finding out, it's laden with errors. I'm now considering everything I read in this book with great suspicion, which is appalling, considering the author's 'pedigree'.
Just a few mistakes that I've found in two chapters:
A legion = 6,000 men. Errr, no it wasn't, at any time.
Soldiers were tattooed when they entered the legions. The only passing reference to this is from the later Roman Empire, but it's referred to as if it had been done throughout Rome's history.
A denarius was worth ten asses - it was until 140 BC, when the ratio became one to sixteen. Given that most of the book refers to the empire, this is a glaring error.
* = We're all human. I made my share of errors in my first three novels, less so in later ones. I was a veterinarian, not an academic, and researching as I wrote. This guy's job is to teach ancient Rome - a different story.
Ben Kane, author of Eagles at War and Hannibal: Enemy of Rome.