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Military History of Late Rome 284-361 (Hardback)

Ancient History Military

By Ilkka Syvanne
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 435
ISBN: 9781848848559
Published: 16th September 2015



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This ambitious series gives the reader a comprehensive narrative of late Roman military history from 284-641. Each volume (5 are planned) gives a detailed account of the changes in organization, equipment, strategy and tactics among both the Roman forces and her enemies in the relevant period, while also giving a detailed but accessible account of the campaigns and battles.

Volume I covers the period 284-361, starting with recovery from the 'third-century crisis' and the formation of the Tetrarchy. Constantine's civil wars and stabilization.are also major themes, with the pattern repeated under his sons. Constantius II's wars against the usurper Magnentius, the Danubian tribes and the Sassanid Persians illustrate the serious combination of internal and external threats the Empire faced at this time. The author discusses these and the many other dramatic military events in their full context and puts forward some interesting conclusions on strategic and tactical developments. He argues, for example, that the Roman shift from infantry to cavalry as the dominant arm occurred considerably earlier than usually accepted. Anyone with an interest in the military history of this period will find it both informative and thought-provoking.

Although it's clear from the outset that this book is a well-researched and ambitious study and that the author has a lot to say, his message is emphatically meant for those readers who are already versed in the subject.

Ancient Warfare, March/April 2018 - reviewed by Robert Vermaat

As featured 'on the shelf' by Neil Smith

Wargames Illustrated, June 2017

This is a valuable overview of a period in which the Roman Empire was clearly still militarily powerful and resilient, capable of overcoming a series of internal threats and external enemies, and restoring her borders after the sort of Barbarian invasions that in the next century would see the fall of the Western Empire. I'm looking forward to volume two.

Read the full review here.

History of War

As featured in

Slingshot, July/August 2016

As featured in

Desperta Ferro, No. 37

Un ouvrage tres documente qui fait autorite sur un sujet peu etudie et passionnant.


A very documented book that makes authority on a subject little studied and exciting.

Ex Libris: L'actualite litteraire disponsible en librairie

This reviewer believes the work provides a comprehensive examination of Rome’s military history during this period of the empire and looks forward to the forthcoming volumes.

ASMEA - Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa - Dr. Wyndham Whynot

About Ilkka Syvanne

Dr Ilkka Syvanne gained his doctorate in history in 2004 from Tampere University in his native Finland. His doctoral thesis was published as The Age of Hippotoxotai, Art of War in Roman Military Revival and Disaster 491-636 (Tampere University Press, Tampere 2004). He has also written numerous articles on late Roman/Byzantine warfare, and contributed seven entries for Blackwell's Encyclopaedia of the Roman Army (2011). From 2007 to 2016 he was Vice Chairman of the Finnish Society for Byzantine Studies. Dr Syvanne is An Affiliated Professor of the University of Haifa and lives in Kangasala, Finland.

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Military History of Late Rome 425–457 (Hardback)

The Military History of Late Rome 425-457 analyses in great detail how the Romans coped with the challenge posed by masses of Huns in a situation in which the Germanic tribes had gained a permanent foothold in the territories of West Rome. This analysis reassesses the strategy and tactics of the period . The book shows how cooperation between the West Roman Master of Soldiers, Aetius, and East Roman Emperor Marcian saved Western civilization from the barbarian nightmare posed by the Huns of Attila. A fresh appraisal of the great clash at the Catalaunian Fields in 451 offers new insights into the…

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