The Roman centurion, holding the legionaries steady before the barbarian horde and then leading them forward to victory, was the heroic exemplar of the Roman world. This was thanks to the Marian reforms, which saw the centurion, although inferior in military rank and social class, superseding the tribune as the legion's most important officer. This period of reform in the Roman Army is often overlooked, but the invincible armies that Julius Caesar led into Gaul were the refined products of 50 years of military reforms. Using specially commissioned artwork and detailed battle reports, this new study examines the Roman legionary soldier at this crucial time in the history of the Roman Republic from its domination by Marius and Sulla to the beginning of the rise of Julius Caesar.
Ancient Rome was uniquely bellicose. Her legionaries are often cited as the original professional soldiers and famed for their iron discipline, but they were also formidable individual warriors, sometimes berserks, who gloried in single combat, taking heads and despoiling their enemies. They were men who believed they were sired by a god of war, driven by the need to create and sustain heroic reputations, and who disrobed in public to display battle scars. Yet these same warriors read philosophy, wrote history and recited poetry. For the Glory of Rome introduces the heroic, yet utterly ruthless men who carved out the Roman Empire. The author examines the deeds of men like Siccius Dentatus, the victor of eight single combats and a hero of the common people; Decius Mus, the consul who charged into the midst of the enemy at Sentinum to devote himself to the gods of the Underworld; and the feuding centurions Pullo and Vorenus, rivals for every post and honour but bound together by their loyalty to Caesar. Ross Cowan explores the mindset of the Roman fighting men, examining their motivation, beliefs and superstitions, illuminating why they fought and died for the glory of Rome.
In AD 312, the Roman world was divided between four emperors. The most ambitious was Constantine, who sought to eliminate his rivals and reunite the Empire. His first target was Maxentius, who held Rome, the symbolic heart of the Empire. Inspired by a dream sent by the Christian God, at the Milvian Bridge region just north of Rome, he routed Maxentius' army and pursued the fugitives into the river Tiber. The victory secured Constantine's hold on the western half of the Roman Empire and confirmed his Christian faith, but many details of this famous battle remain obscured. This new volume identifies the location of the battlefield and explains the tactics Constantine used to secure a victory that triggered the fundamental shift from paganism to Christianity.
Diocletian and Constantine were the greatest of the Late Roman emperors, and their era marks the climax of the legionary system. Under Constantine's successors the legions were reduced in size and increasingly sidelined in favour of new units of elite auxilia, but between AD 284 and 337 the legions reigned supreme. The legionaries defeated all-comers and spearheaded a stunning Roman revival that humbled the Persian Empire and reduced the mighty Goths and Sarmatians to the status of vassals. This title details the equipment, background, training and combat experience of the men from all parts of the empire who made up the backbone of Rome's legions in this pivotal period.
From the civil wars of the Late Republic to Constantine's bloody reunification of the Empire, elite corps of guardsmen were at the heart of every Roman army. Whether as bodyguards or as shock troops in battle, the fighting skills of praetorians, speculatores, singulares and protectores determined the course of Roman history. Modern scholars tend to present the praetorians as pampered, disloyal and battle-shy, but the Romans knew them as valiant warriors, men who strove to live up to their honorific title pia vindex - loyal and avenging. Closely associated with the Republican praetorian cohorts, and gradually assimilated into the Imperial Praetorian Guard, were the speculatores. A cohort was established by Marc Antony in the 30s BC for the purposes of reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, but soon the speculatores were acting as close bodyguards - a role they maintained until the end of the first century AD. This title will detail the changing nature of these units, their organization and operational successes and failures from their origins in the late Republic through to their unsuccessful struggle against Constantine the Great.
Between AD 69 and 161 the composition of the Roman legions was transformed. Italians were almost entirely replaced by provincial recruits, men for whom Latin was at best a second language, and yet the `Roman-ness' of these Germans, Pannonians, Spaniards, Africans and Syrians, fostered in isolated fortresses on the frontiers, was incredibly strong. They were highly competitive, jealous of their honour, and driven by the need to maintain and enhance their reputations for virtus, that is manly courage and excellence. The warfare of the period, from the huge legion versus legion confrontations in the Civil War of AD 69, through the campaigns of conquest in Germany, Dacia and Britain, to the defence of the frontiers of Africa and Cappadocia and the savage quelling of internal revolts, gave ample opportunity for virtus-enhancing activity. The classic battle formation that had baffled Pyrrhus and conquered Hannibal was revived. Heroic centurions continued to lead from the front, and common legionaries vied with them in displays of valour. The legions of the era may have been provincial but they were definitely Roman in organisation and ethos.
First in an exciting series, charting Rome's bloody road to empireRecounts the desperate struggles for survival of the young Roman republicDescribes how and why Roman Armies eventually beat their Etruscan, Samnite, Celtic and other neighbours to dominate all of ItalyDiscover how the Roman legion fared in its first battles against Hellenistic pike phalanxes and war elephants.For who is so worthless or indolent as not to wish to know by what means...the Romans have succeeded in subjecting nearly the whole inhabited world to their sole government- a thing unique in history? Or who again is there so passionately devoted to other spectacles or studies as to regard anything as of greater moment than the acquisition of this knowledge. POLYBIUS
The book clearly explains and illustrates the mechanics of how Roman commanders - at every level - drew up and committed their different types of troops for open-field battles. It includes the alternative formations used to handle different tactical problems and different types of terrain; the possibilities of ordering and controlling different deployments once battle was joined; and how all this was based on the particular strengths of the Roman soldier. Covering the period of classic legionary warfare from the late Republic to the late Western Empire, Ross Cowan uses case studies of particular battles to provide a manual on how and why the Romans almost always won, against enemies with basic equality in weapon types - giving practical reasons why the Roman Army was the Western World's outstanding military machine for 400 years.
This fascinating new book challenges traditional assumptions about Roman warfare and paints a grim picture of the reality of combat.
Between AD 161 and 244 the Roman legions were involved in wars and battles on a scale not seen since the late Republic. Legions were destroyed in battle, disbanded for mutiny and rebellion and formed to wage wars of conquest and defence. This volume explores the experience of the imperial legionary, concentrating on Legio II Parthica. Raised by the emperor Septimus Severus in AD 193/4, it was based at Albanum near Rome and as the emperor's personal legion, became one of the most important units in the empire.
The period 31 BC-AD 43 saw the greatest expansion of the Roman Empire. In 31 BC Octavian defeated Antony at the Battle of Actium and remodelled the semi-professional Roman army into a permanent force of 28 legions. Octavian became the first emperor (Augustus) and under his leadership the legions conquered northern Spain, all Europe south of the Danube line and Germany west of the Elbe. The legionaries exemplified the heroic culture of the Roman world and this title takes a behind-the-scenes look at their lives, training, weaponry and tactics, including the bloody massacre of the Teutoberg forest.