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Forts and Roman Strategy (Hardback)

A New Approach and Interpretation

Ancient History > Rome & the Roman Provinces Military

By Paul Coby
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 272
Illustrations: 16 colour illustrations & 60 colour maps
ISBN: 9781526772107
Published: 28th July 2022


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Paul Coby here proposes a new system for the recording and mapping of Roman forts and fortifications that integrates all the data, including size, dating and identification of occupying units. Application of these methods allows analysis that brings new insights into the placement of these forts, the units garrisoning them and the strategy of conquest and defence they underpinned.

This is a new and original contribution to the long-running debate over whether the Roman Empire had a coherent grand strategy or merely reacted piecemeal to emerging needs. Although the author focusses on several major campaigns in Britain as case studies, the author stresses that his method's are also applicable to elsewhere in the Empire. Lavishly illustrated with colour maps, the book is also supported by a website and blogs, encouraging further investigation and discussion.

Coby’s approach may be a valuable tool, and students of Roman Britain will gain much from adding it to their own research.

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Beating Tsundoku

Featured in

Hexham Local History Society (Hexham Historian Newsletter - Spring 2023)

Forts and Roman Strategy: A New Approach and Interpretation" will prove to be a unique and prized addition to personal, community, and academic library collections and supplemental Roman Military History curriculum reading lists.

Midwest Book Review

Five stars. An imaginative and attractive book using modern methods to analyse Roman campaigns in Wales and Scotland, and succeeding in its aim.

Read the full review here

ARRSE (Army Rumour Service)

As featured in

Glamorgan Star, 25th August 2022

As featured in

The Bookseller

This is a most interesting analysis of the various stages of the Roman military strategy and tactics by using a well researched system of data analysis to supplement the existing sources. It focuses on the Roman Legions in Britain, but the lessons are equally valid for the Legions that manned the border in Germania, Dacia and beyond. The data is presented in a logical way and is supported by excellent images, maps and graphs. A really good approach to the subject that stimulates new thinking.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Paul Coby

After a career in the British civil service in roles including transport policy, Paul Coby became Chief Information Officer in charge of digital technology at British Airways and then the John Lewis Partnership. In 2018 he joined Johnson Matthey, a global leader in sustainable technologies, as CIO. He is also a member of the advisory panel of AND Digital, a digital accelerator in the UK and Europe.
He believes that his experience in digital technology has enabled him to deploy data analysis and visualisation to the Roman Army’s campaign methods and to apply organisational theory to how the Roman military machine thought.
He has always been fascinated by the Roman Army and how it succeeded in controlling an empire from the Highlands of Scotland to the deserts of Arabia. He continues to deploy up-to-date data analysis techniques to Roman forts and campaigns to generate new insights into the mind of the Roman military machine, now turning to the Roman Limes in Germany and Romania, as well as the Roman Army's response to Boudica’s Revolt and the dense network of forts in Northern England.

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