Army of the Roman Emperors: Archaeology and History [Hardback]

Thomas Fischer (Author); M. C. Bishop (Author)

ISBN: 9781789251845 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English 456p, H280 x W216 (mm) 574 colour & black and white images

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Army of the Roman Emperors


Compared to modern standard, the Roman army of the imperial era was surprisingly small. However, when assessed in terms of their various tasks, they by far outstrip modern armies – acting not only as an armed power of the state in external and internal conflicts, but also carrying out functions which nowadays are performed by police, local government, customs and tax authorities, as well as constructing roads, ships, and buildings.

With this opulent volume, Thomas Fischer presents a comprehensive and unique exploration of the Roman military of the imperial era. With over 600 illustrations, the costumes, weapons and equipment of the Roman army are explored in detail using archaeological finds dating from the late Republic to Late Antiquity, and from all over the Roman Empire. The buildings and fortifications associated with the Roman army are also discussed. By comparing conflicts, border security, weaponry and artefacts, the development of the army through time is traced.

This work is intended for experts as well as to readers with a general interest in Roman history. It is also a treasure-trove for re-enactment groups, as it puts many common perceptions of the weaponry, equipment and dress of the Roman army to the test.

Table of Contents

Translator’s Preface
The state of research
The iconographic sources
On armament, equipment, and the buildings
Basic information on the history and structure of the Roman army
Notes to introduction
Part I Iconographic sources for the Roman military by Dietrich Boschung
1. Introduction
2. Republican representations
3. The Early Empire: Augustus to Domitian
4. Representations from the middle imperial period
5. Representations from the Tetrarchic period
6. Representations from Late Antiquity
Notes to Part I
Part II General remarks on the Roman army
1. Introduction
2. A history of research
3. Armament and equipment
4. Find contexts of Roman weapons and equipment parts
5. Legionary or auxiliary equipment?
6. Rank insignia
7. On the reconstruction of Roman fighting methods
8. Comments on the re-enactment scene
9. Forgeries
Notes to Part II
Part III Costumes, weapons, and equipment of the army from original archaeological finds
1. Infantry
2. Cavalry
3. Artillery
4. Standards and instruments for signalling
5. Awards and decorations
6. Pioneer tools, tents, field pack
Notes to Part III
Part IV The buildings of the Roman army
1. Introduction
2. Roman camps and forts
3. The most important types of camps and forts
4. Late Roman fortifications
5. Military infrastructure
6. Limites and ripae
Notes to Part IV
Part V The development periods of Roman military history
1. Introduction
2. Republic
3. The early Imperial period from Augustus to Nero
4. The middle Imperial period from Vespasian to Trajan
5. The middle Imperial period from Hadrian to Septimius Severus
6. The middle Imperial period from Caracalla to the reforms of Diocletian
7. Late Antiquity
Notes to Part V
Part VI The Roman navy
1. Arming and equipping the marines
2. Bases of the Roman fleets in the Imperial period by Thomas Schmidts
3. Roman warships by Ronald Bockius
Notes to Part VI
End matter 375
Illustration credits
Persons and peoples

Reviews & Quotes

"The range of material covered in this work is remarkable, making this book a useful resource for students looking deeper into the material culture of the Roman army, including dress, equipment, and infrastructure. Fischer’s book provides a strong notion of the development over time of military equipment and infrastructure. All readers will find the tools of this book—illustrations and end matter—especially useful. This book is a great starting point for learning about the hierarchy and structure, the equipment used, buildings and infrastructure, and other material culture of the Roman military. It can serve as a reference work that sums up the archaeological and historical evidence."
Michael A. D'Amato
H-Net Reviews (03/10/2022)

"In this work, Thomas Fischer gives an excellent overview of the buildings and equipment of the Roman military from the Republic to Late Antiquity, completed by the excellent contributions of the co-authors. All authors involved are proven experts, which is all too clear in the contributions. Numerous illustrations and the presentation of numerous finds, some of which have not yet been published, complete the book. This is certainly a standard work on the Roman military and can only be warmly recommended to anyone who is interested."
Jennifer Schamper
Bonner Jahrbücher (07/04/2022)

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