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Armies of the Germanic Peoples, 200 BC to AD 500 (Hardback)

History, Organization and Equipment

Ancient History Colour Books Military

By Gabriele Esposito
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 176
Illustrations: 80 colour & black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526772701
Published: 3rd November 2021


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Gabriele Esposito presents an overview of the military history of the Germanic peoples of this period and describes in detail the weapons and tactics they employed on the battlefield. He starts by showing how, from very early on, the Germanic communities were heavily influenced by Celtic culture. He then moves on to describe the major military events, starting with the first major encounter between the Germanic tribes and the Romans: the invasion by the Cimbri and Teutones. Julius Caesar's campaigns against German groups seeking to enter Gaul are described in detail as is the pivotal Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, which effectively halted Roman expansion into Germany and for centuries fixed the Rhine as the border between the Roman and Germanic civilizations. Escalating pressure of Germanic raids and invasions was a major factor in the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

The author's analysis explains how Germanic warriors were able to crush the Roman military forces on several occasions, gradually transformed the Roman Army itself from the inside and, after the fall of the Empire, created new Romano-Germanic Kingdoms across Europe. The evolution of Germanic weapons, equipment and tactics is examined and brought to life through dozens of colour photos of replica equipment in use.

This is a useful English language account of this conflict. The decision to include a history of the war is essential, given the general lack of knowledge of the war, and makes the army section more valuable.

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History of War

Review as featured in


These would be the people who resisted the might of Rome during the rapid expansion of the Roman Empire before and after the birth of Christ. Gabriele Esposito is a regular writer for Pen and Sword and always turns in a brilliant story.

Books Monthly

As with the other books in this series the real value is the photographic plates, featuring re-enactors and all in full colour. These are so very useful for anybody wanting a guide to modelling or painting these people and this period. As with the others a well deserved 5 out of 5.

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ARRSE (Army Rumour Service)

About Gabriele Esposito

Gabriele Esposito is an Italian researcher and a long-time student of military history, whose interests and expertise range widely over various periods. Most of his recent studies have been dedicated to the reconstruction of the organization, functioning and tactics of the armies across history; in each of his publications there is always some relevant space dedicated to the 'material culture'of the various armies taken into account and - more in particular - to the empirical science known as 'uniformology'. Gabriele is the author of numerous books on armies and uniforms and is a regular contributor to many specialized magazines in Italy, France, Netherlands and UK. His many previous works include Armies of Early Colonial North America 1607-1713Armies of the Late Roman Empire 284-476Armies of the Hellenistic States 323 BC to AD30Armies of Celtic Europe 700 BC-AD 106Armies of Ancient Greece, circa 500 BC to 338 BC; and The Macedonian Army of Philip II and Alexander the Great 359-323 BC, all published by Pen & Sword since 2018. He lives in southern Italy, near the ancient battlefield of Beneventum.

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