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Dr Simon Elliott is an award winning and best selling historian, archaeologist and broadcaster. He is best known as an expert on Roman Britain and the Roman military, with his eight published books to date covering subjects including the Classis Britannica Roman navy in Britain, Roman legionaries, Roman military construction techniques, Roman Britain and Roman London, Julius Caesar, and the emperors Septimius Severus and Pertinax. He is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Kent, a Trustee of the Council for British Archaeology, an Ambassador for Museum of London Archaeology and a Guide Lecturer for Andante Travels.
Setting out to show “how the Roman military changed from one always on the front foot, driving the borders of the Republic and early Empire ever forward … to one acting as the bulwark on the Roman limes as offence turned to defence”, Dr Simon Elliott’s Romans at War draws on the huge canon of existing literature on the Roman military, while also being informed by the author’s pioneering primary research. Elliott’s scholarly lucidity is shot-through with an engaging, entertaining style, which means the keen layperson will find his exhaustive assessment of the Roman military’s key chronological phases (the Republic, the Principate Empire and the Dominate Empire) eminently accessible. Readers already familiar with literature on this subject will be especially interested in the author’s assertion that late Roman military leaders were effectively independent warlords. Elliott also shares new research into the Severan campaign in 3rd century Scotland, and offers a fresh evaluation of late Roman troops. Accompanied by a wealth of colour photography, and supported by a detailed timeline, thorough glossary and maps, this is a mightily impressive - and edifying - feat.
Legio IX Hispana had a long and active history, later founding York from where it guarded the northern frontiers in Britain. But the last evidence for its existence in Britain comes from AD 108\. The mystery of their disappearance has inspired debate and imagination for decades. The most popular theory, immortalized in Rosemary Sutcliffe's novel _The Eagle of the Ninth_, is that the legion was sent to fight the Caledonians in Scotland and wiped out there. But more recent archaeology (including evidence that London was burnt to the ground and dozens of decapitated heads) suggests a crisis, not on the border but in the heart of the province, previously thought to have been peaceful at this time. What if IX Hispana took part in a rebellion, leading to their punishment, disbandment and _damnatio memoriae_ (official erasure from the records)? This proposed 'Hadrianic War' would then be the real context for Hadrian's 'visit' in 122 with a whole legion, VI Victrix, which replaced the 'vanished' IX as the garrison at York. Other theories are that it was lost on the Rhine or Danube, or in the East. Simon Elliott considers the evidence for these four theories, and other possibilities.
The son of a former slave, Pertinax was the Roman Emperor who proved that no matter how lowly your birth, you could rise to the very top through hard work, grit and determination. Born in AD 126, he made a late career change from working as a grammar teacher to a position in the army. As he moved up the ranks and further along the aristocratic cursus honorum, he took on many of the most important postings in the Empire, from senior military roles in fractious Britain, the Marcomannic Wars on the Danube, to the Parthian Wars in the east. He held governorships in key provinces, and later consulships in Rome itself. When Emperor Commodus was assassinated on New Year's Eve AD 192/193, the Praetorian Guard alighted on Pertinax to become the new Emperor, expecting a pliable puppet who would favour them with great wealth. But Pertinax was nothing of the sort and when he then attempted to reform the Guard, he was assassinated. His death triggered the beginning of the Year of the Five Emperors' from which Septimius Severus, Pertinax's former mentoree, became the ultimate victor and founder of the Severan Dynasty. This previously untold story brings a fascinating and important figure out of the shadows. A self made everyman, a man of principle and ambition, a role model respected by his contemporaries who styled himself on his philosophising predecessor and sometime champion Marcus Aurelius, Pertinax's remarkable story offers a unique and panoramic insight into the late 2nd century AD Principate Empire.
'The order was brutal, its message unequivocal - kill the men, women and children of what is now Scotland and don't shed a tear for any of them.' - The Scotsman The SpectatorSince 1975 much new archaeological evidence has come to light to illuminate the immense undertaking of Septimius Severus' campaigns in Scotland, allowing for the first time the true story of this savage invasion to be told. In the early 3rd century Severus, the ageing Roman emperor, launched an immense 'shock and awe' assault on Scotland that was so savage it resulted in eighty years of peace at Rome's most troublesome border. The book shows how his force of 50,000 troops, supported by the fleet, hacked their way through the Maeatae around the former Antonine Wall and then pressed on into Caledonian territory up to the Moray Firth. Severus was the first of the great reforming emperors of the Roman military, and his reforms are explained in the context of how he concentrated power around the imperial throne. There is also an in-depth look at the political, economic and social developments that occurred in the Province. This book will particularly appeal to those who are keen to learn more about the narrative of Rome's military presence in Britain, and especially the great campaigns of which Severus' assault on Scotland is the best example.
Julius Caesar has been the inspiration to countless military commanders over the last two millennia. Born into an aristocratic family, his early military campaigns, part of his progression along the cursus honorum, included campaigning in the east, Spain and in the early Roman civil wars. His participation in the Gallic Wars is known mainly through the commentary on the wars that he wrote and published, along with his incursions into Britain. This concise history details his military life, and how it impacted with his political career, from his youth through the civil wars that resulted in his becoming the dictator of Rome, and his legacy.
The might of Rome rested on the back of its legions; the superbly trained and equipped fighting force with which the imperial Roman army conquered, subdued and ruled an empire for centuries. The legionary soldier served for 20 years, was rigorously trained, highly equipped, and motivated by pay, bonuses and a strong sense of identity and camaraderie. Legionaries wore full body-armour, carried a shield which could be used defensively to form a shield wall or a tortoise, or it could be used offensively to punch at opponents and throw them off-balance in close-quarters fighting, as well as two javelins, a sword, and a dagger. In battle they hurled their javelins and then immediately drew their swords and charged to close combat with the enemy. They were the finest heavy infantrymen of antiquity, and a massed legionary charge was a fearsome sight. Many legionaries had rural backgrounds; they were considered hardy with higher levels of endurance. This was needed to cope with incredibly tough training, during which recruits had to march first 29 km in five hours, and then 35 km in five hours with faster steps - all the while carrying a backpack that weighed over 20 kg. The slower ones were severely beaten by centurions and officers with their staffs. They were drilled in battlefield maneuvers, signaling and weapons handling, with faux swords and shields that were twice as heavy as the real ones, to acclimatize them to the exhaustion that could happen in the heat of battle. This concise and entertaining history of the Roman legionary covers their history from the age of Augustus through the heyday of the Roman Empire. Topics include training, tactics, weapons, the men themselves, life on and off the battlefield as well as significant triumphs and disasters in the great battles of the era.
Since 1975 much new archaeological evidence has come to light to illuminate the immense undertaking of Septimius Severus campaigns in Scotland, allowing for the first time the true story of this savage invasion to be told. In the early 3rd century Severus, the ageing Roman emperor, launched an immense shock and awe assault on Scotland that was so savage it resulted in eighty years of peace on Rome s most troublesome border. The book shows how his force of 50,000 troops, supported by the fleet, hacked their way through the Maeatae around the former Antonine Wall and then pressed on into Caledonian territory up to the Moray Firth. Severus was the first of the great reforming emperors of the Roman military, and his reforms are explained in the context of how he concentrated power around the imperial throne. There is also an in-depth look at the political, economic and social developments that occurred in the Province. This book is aimed at all who have an interest in both military and Roman history. It will particularly appeal to those who are keen to learn more about the narrative of Rome s military presence in Britain, and especially the great campaigns of which Severus assault on Scotland is the best example.
The armed forces of Rome, particularly those of the later Republic and Principate, are rightly regarded as some of the finest military formations ever to engage in warfare. Less well known however is their use by the State as tools for such non-military activities in political, economic and social contexts. In this capacity they were central instruments for the Emperor to ensure the smooth running of the Empire. In this book the use of the military for such non-conflict related duties is considered in detail for the first time. The first, and best known, is running the great construction projects of the Empire in their capacity as engineers. Next, the role of the Roman military in the running of industry across the Roman Empire is examined, particularly the mining and quarrying industries but also others. They also took part in agriculture, administered and policed the Empire, provided a firefighting resource and organised games in the arena. The soldiers of Rome really were the foundations on which the Roman Empire was constructed: they literally built an empire. Simon Elliott lifts the lid on this less well-known side to the Roman army, in an accessible narrative designed for a wide readership.
The Roman war machine comprised land and naval forces. Although the former has been studied extensively, less has been written and understood about the naval forces of the Roman Empire. Britain's navy, known as Classis Britannica until the mid-third century, was a strong fighting force in its own right. Its vessel types, personnel, tactics, roles and technology have never been studied in depth. Here in Sea Eagles of Empire Simon Elliott explores the story of this famed naval force, through the reigns of several Roman emperors, discussing the important role it played in military campaigns all across Europe and in policing the waters of the Roman Empire in Britain. Military History Monthly Book of the Year Gold Award winner 2017.