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Book reviews for - Ancient, Classical or Roman

  • Rome Rules the Waves

    James J. Bloom
    Rather dry academic thesis with a large amount of discussion of other academic views. The book is based on the premise that there can be a Naval Staff appreciation of the Roman Navy. In the introduction Bloom points out that there isn't anything which could be termed a Naval staff in Rome. He goes on to write this book about it. What does show is the massive amount of research and thought which has gone into the writing. But, on the other hand, I found the reading difficult. For the general reader I would recommend skipping the discussions and reading, what then becomes, a very good history of Roman naval actions.
    Pen & Sword Military, 2019
  • Great naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World

    Owen Rees
    This is the story of thirteen major naval battles in a period of one hundred years. They are placed in their political/strategic context supported with details of the ships, the men and the tactics. Owen Rees has done a good job in bringing together the rather limited sources staying true to all of the original texts and filling in the gaps with well-reasoned conjecture. Interestingly he has shown, where texts disagree, how propaganda or ‘putting a slant on the record of events’ was well within the arsenal of writers in classical times.
    The descriptions of the battles themselves really succeed in getting the reader into the picture. There were some rules of war but these were different from what we would expect today. Desperate hand to hand fighting, the slaughter of prisoners, some as sacrifices, and the execution of failed commanders all point to a bloodier age. Numerous battle plans add to the readers understanding as do the extensive endnotes and bibliography.
    I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in early naval warfare or classical Greece.

    Pen & Sword Maritime, 2018
  • Handbook to Roman Legionary Fortresses

    Bishop, M C
    Providing exactly what the title suggests, this is primarily a gazetteer of all currently known Roman Legion bases, each with well referenced details such as location, situation, size, orientation etc. as well as the units that were based there together with line drawings and photographs. The handbook also contains appendices of Legionary timelines and a clear list of fortresses listed in the Notitia Dignitatum.

    The introductory section is short, but focussed carefully on the architecturally important details that pertain to Legion bases, and while well written, does assume a reasonable working knowledge of Roman military history. The bibliography is truly huge, and all in all this handbook should be considered an essential reference for a Roman military scholar.
    Pen & Sword, Barnsley., Jan 2013
  • Hadrian's Wall in the Days of the Romans

    Embleton, Ronald & Graham, Frank
    It is obvious that an immense amount of research has gone into creating both the pictures and the text. An excellent book.
    Frank Graham, 1984
  • Rome at War, Caesar and his Legacy

    Gilliver, Goldsworthy & Whitby
    A 3 part work covering Caesar's Gallic wars, his civil war, then a study of late Rome in 3rd to 7th centuries
    Osprey, Essential Histories, 2005
  • Warfare in the Ancient World

    Humble, Richard
    The book gives an overview of the art of war from 3000bc to the fall of the Roman Empire.
    Guild Publishing, 1980