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Rome and the Sword
by Simon James
The story of Rome and its military seems a familiar one, told often through books and movies and games, yet it is a modern myth obscuring a different reality. As this groundbreaking study demonstrates, Rome’s military was no war machine made up of mindless cogs. There was not even an ancient term for the Roman army; rather, Romans spoke of “the soldiers”—of men, not instit ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 24th 2011 by Thames & Hudson
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This is one of the best books about ancient Roman history that I have read, and I've read hundreds. James explores the development of Rome by focusing on soldiers and their weaponry, especially the gladius (the legionary sword). He expertly details how the transition from a seasonal army made up of citizens to a standing professional army both reflected social conditions and influenced them. Roman soldiers (Romans did not have a word for "military") were the "stick" that stood ready to enforce t ...more
James, an archaeologist, traces the evolution of the Roman Army and its weapons (particularly blades) from the early Republic to Justinian, explaining the evolution of technology, production capability and infrastructure as Rome encountered enemies with different forms and tools. His sources are not just the standard ancient histories and military manuals, but also the swords tossed into bodies of water as offerings, digs in Roman forts, the career c.v.s on solider tombstones and depictions on m ...more
British archaeologist teaching at the university of Leicester.More about Simon James...