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Lucius Verus and the Roman Defence of the East (Hardback)

Ancient History > Rome & the Roman Provinces Military > Biographies

By M C Bishop
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 197
Illustrations: 18
ISBN: 9781473847606
Published: 8th May 2018



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Lucius Verus is one of the least regarded Roman emperors, despite the fact that he was co-ruler with his adoptive brother Marcus Aurelius for nine years until his untimely death. The later sources were strangely hostile to him and modern writers tend to dismiss him, but contemporary writings shine a more favourable light on his accomplishments. His handling of military affairs, particularly the conflict with Parthia after their invasions of Armenia and Syria, deserves a new consideration in the light of a careful reassessment of all the available source material. This volume looks at the upbringing of the boy who lost two fathers, acquired a brother, had his name changed twice, became a general overnight, and commanded the army that defeated one of Rome’s greatest foes in the 2nd century AD. His rise to power is placed in the context of Rome’s campaigns in the East and the part played by all – from the ordinary soldiers up to the aristocracy who commanded them – in making Lucius Verus’ Parthian Wars a success.

Reviewed by Thomas R. Keith, University of Chicago

Bryn Mawr Classical

This is a valuable read for anyone with an interest in Roman history. It not only offers a more nuanced account of the life of Verus and his campaigns, as well as a survey of the history of the defense of the Roman east from the late Republic, but also provides a valuable example of how to make good use of a source as notoriously unreliable as the Historia Augusta.

Read the full review here

Strategy Page

An interesting look at a lesser-discussed Roman emperor.

The Armourer, September 2018
 M C Bishop

About M C Bishop

Dr Mike Bishop is one of the leading names in Roman Military archaeology. An archaeologist and archaeological illustrator by training, he is the founder of the Journal of Roman Military Equipment Studies and of ROMEC (the Roman Military Equipment Conference). He is also a Visiting Lecturer in the School of Classics at St Andrews University, Scotland. His best known work is the highly regarded Roman Military Equipment (Oxford, 1993, revised 2005), which he co-authored with J C N Coulston. His previous work for Pen & Sword, Handbook of Roman Legionary Fortresses was published in 2012. He lives in Wiltshire.

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