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Military History of Late Rome 425–457 (Hardback)

Ancient History Rome Colour Books Military

By Ilkka Syvanne
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 32 colour & black and white maps & battle diagrams
ISBN: 9781848848535
Published: 17th June 2020



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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 mechanics of the fighting and shows that it was a true battle of nations which decided nothing less than the fate of human civilization. Had Aetius and his allies lost the battle and had Marcian not cooperated with Aetius in 451 and 452, we would not have seen the rise of the West and the rise of the scientific thinking.

This a well written book, with a good amount of excellent illustrations and well done maps. The author clearly knows his field and it's not at all dry or academic either. I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in the period.

Read the full review here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

As the title suggests, focusing as it does on a relatively brief period of the declining Roman Empire, this is a comprehensive account of the significant military actions involving Roman armies; their allies and auxiliaries; and the many competing armies pressing on the Empire from outside and, increasingly, from within the Empire.

Dr Svyanne clearly lives and breathes this period of history that is so often dismissed in a few lines in the history most of us read at school. Inevitably, a focus on such a slim slice of history is not for the faint-hearted; the accounts of the many actions are given in comprehensive detail and are well illustrated with maps and diagrams. Equally inevitably, and quite properly for an author with Dr Svyanne’s passion for the period and his significant references to a wide range of sources, there is much in his account that is prefaced with ‘probably’, ‘in my opinion’ or ‘might‘. However, the way in which the author weaves together a consistent and comprehensive account of this turbulent period is such that such departures from what is demonstrably the case from primary sources to include a personal interpretation from the range of possibilities feels entirely natural. It is also to Dr Svyanne’s credit that he is clear where an opinion is given, rather than a fact or a consensual agreement.

NetGalley, K Manley

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The title, "Military History of Late Rome 425-457", sounds like the book might be a bit dry - it's not. It's very, very well-written and laid out in a simple way so it's easy to keep track of events. There are plenty of maps and photos to support the text, and I found them equally as interesting.

NetGalley, Dawn Lewis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I read this book out of curiosity as I thought the Roman Empire was pretty much gone by the time of 425 AD. I was very wrong! I never knew the power and influence the Emoire still had nor did I understand how the flow of history would progress . The Romans had a lot to deal with, especially all the newcomers looking for land to farm and escaping the invaders from the east. The Romans still had a plan I found out and it pretty mcuh did work. The Goths and Huns were absorbed into the Empire and it went on. The illustrations and pictures are excellent. There are pictures of modern people wearing the uniforms . Not just line drawings or artists renderings but real actually realistic copies of the soldiers and their uniforms. Excellent and very interesting.The detail and references are given and this book IMO is going to be a historical addition to military and anyone interested libraries.

NetGalley, Patrick Carmen


Wargames Illustrated, July 2019

About Ilkka Syvanne

Dr. Ilkka Syvänne gained his doctorate in history in 2004 from the University of Tampere in his native Finland. Since then he has written extensively about ancient and medieval warfare and his publications include: The Age of Hippotoxotai, Art of War in Roman Military Revival and Disaster 491-636 (Tampere UP 2004), The Reign of Gallienus (Pen & Sword, 2019), the multivolume Military History of Late Rome published by Pen & Sword and the critically acclaimed Caracalla. A Military Biography also published by Pen & Sword. He is the co-author with Professor Katarzyna Maksymiuk of the Military History of Third Century Iran (Siedlce UP, 2018) and the Military History of Fifth Century Iran (Siedlce UP, 2019). He was Vice Chairman of the Finnish Society for Byzantine Studies from 2007 until 2016. He has been an Affiliated Professor of the University of Haifa since 2016. He lives in Kangasala, Finland.

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