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The Complete Roman Army

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  296 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The Roman army was one of the most successful fighting forces in history. Its organization and tactics were highly advanced and were unequaled until the modern era. Spectacular monuments to its perseverance and engineering skill are still visible today, most notably Hadrian’s Wall and the siegeworks around the fortress of Masada.

This book is the first to examine in detail
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 27th 2003 by Thames & Hudson Ltd. (first published 2003)
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This was a really informative and concise overview of how the Roman Army functioned. This book broke it's analysis down into a of a number of convenient and accessible sections which ranged from 'The life of a Roman soldier' to 'The Roman Army at war'. I found both the greater picture about how an army at war functioned and the smaller picture examining the day-to-day lives of the soldiers who made up the army interesting. I also enjoyed the narrative approach Goldsworthy took to describing the ...more
Michael K.
The author is an expert in Roman military matters with several previous works to his credit, and even though he’s an academic, his style is exceptionally readable without being oversimplified or talking down to the reader. He begins with the origins of the citizen army under the early Republic, made up of soldiers who volunteered as a matter of patriotism. This worked fine for several centuries, when Rome’s sphere of influence was still relatively small and campaigns were limited in time. As con ...more
A good solid general history of the Roman Army. Short history of Rome, how the Army developed through the years, day-to-day life of the soldiers, command structure and charts of a few of the most important battles. Since 2003 when it was published, I'm sure archaeologists and scholars have 'dug up' [pun intended] more and possibly more accurate information. There was not enough on the Late Imperial army to suit me [only 8 pp.]; I had a couple of questions the book did not answer so I might want ...more
This book is exceptionally good for a number of reasons.
First, it does not confine itself to text descriptions, as it provides an ample set of illustrations that demonstrate aspects like battle formations, weapons, and armour.
Second, it spans through all the time of the Roman dominance in Europe. That is, it starts from the early Roman Republic, it continues with the Roman Empire, and it concludes with the late Roman Empire.
Third, it gives a multi-dimensional perspective of the Roman army. It de
This is an excellent book for those who want to know how the Roman Army developed and was used as an expansionist force throughout the Mediterranean and beyond. As the concept of the Army changed, so did the concept of cultural identity for the Romans. Adrian Goldsworthy puts together a day to day view of what it was like to live as a professional soldier in the Roman Legions. This view of cultural history brings a more personal view to how they lived, their motivations, and how they interacted ...more
Timothy M
I have an odd story with this book, which I bought awhile back after noticing that it was cited in one of my favorite military history books (and, for the life of me, I cannot remember which book that was--I just wrote the citation down in a planner/organizer without any other info...not very smart).

After being unable to find it at any bookstore, or check it out at the library, it became the "odd Roman army book" that I couldn't find anywhere, and I couldn't even remember that stupid citation t
May 20, 2008 Nathan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Serious Roman Completists
This book is by the same historian who wrote the book Roman Warfare, but isn't quite up to the same standards as the previous book.

It's not very interesting to read (although the pictures are pretty), and is a very generalist history of the Roman Army, with virtually no references to other works that would allow further pursuit of the subject matter.

I wasn't impressed with the book's organization and am honestly not sure that I made a very good purchase.

It's going to stay in my collection, but
This is an outstanding book with fantastic pictures and line drawings. Goldsworthy describes the Republican army and how it transitioned into the professional force used by the emperors. He describes how the army was recruited, how it trained, how it lived and how it fought. Almost all questions are answered. This is a really good resource with a comprehensive bibliography and sets the standard for works on the imperial Roman army.
Great book. It was essentially a summary of eveidence and findings about how the Roman army was organized, lead, fought and marched over the centuries. A lot of it is conjecture based upon limited eveidence but it was well written summary and what we know and what we think was true. Very comprehensive and interesting.
This is a very thorough overview of the Roman Army, organisation, weapons armour etc. This volume not only covers well known ground with respect to the Republic and Early Imperial periods, but is also does a good job of providing insights into weapons and tactic of the late imperial period.
B.R. Stateham
Never read it. was the wrong book. How the Hades do you eject wrong choices in this place?
Mike Anderson
Dec 17, 2011 Mike Anderson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in ancient warfare
Shelves: history-rome
Very comprehensive. A lot of good information.
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Adrian Goldsworthy was born in 1969 in Cardiff. He was educated in Penarth and then read Ancient and Modern History at St. John's College, Oxford, where he subsequently completed his doctorate in ancient history. His D.Phil. Thesis was the basis for his first book, The Roman Army At War 100 BC - AD 200, which looked at how the Roman army actually operated on campaign and in battle.

For several yea
More about Adrian Goldsworthy...

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