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Roman Empire at War (Hardback)

A Compendium of Roman Battles from 31 BC to AD 565

British History Ancient History Rome

By Don Taylor
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 215
ISBN: 9781473869080
Published: 27th July 2016

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In a single volume, Empire at War catalogues and offers a brief description of every significant battle fought by the Roman Empire from Augustus to Justinian I (and most of the minor ones too). The information in each entry is drawn exclusively from Ancient, Late Antique, and Early Medieval texts, in order to offer a brief description of each battle based solely on the information provided by the earliest surviving sources which chronicle the event. This approach provides the reader a concise foundation of information to which they can then confidently apply later scholarly interpretation presented in secondary sources in order to achieve a more accurate understanding of the most likely battlefield scenario.
In writing the battle descriptions, the author has not sought analyse the evidence contained in the surviving accounts, nor embellish them beyond that which was necessary to provide clarity to the modern reader. He allows the original writers to speak for themselves, presenting the reader with a succinct version of what the ancient chroniclers tell us of these dramatic events. It is an excellent first-stop reference to the many battles of the Roman Empire.

Roman Empire at War is an indispensable reference guide for any student of the Roman military.

Read the full review here.

StrategyPage.com

Prof. Taylor (Hardin-Simmons), who has specialized in Roman history, has complied a valuable reference guide to the battles of the Roman Empire through the reign of Justinian...

... This is an indispensable reference guide for any student of the Roman military.

NYMAS Review, Spring 2017

In conclusion, despite a few shortcomings, Don Taylor’s book has merit. Military historians may find accounts of battles they never knew had taken place; amateur historians and students might be inspired to take a greater interest in the latter years of the Roman Empire, and realise that Justinian I was as skilled a commander as Marcus Aurelius and should be respected as such; classicists might consider purchasing this book for their local library, viewing it as an easy-to-navigate introduction to the subject. Even those who, like me, are somewhat wary of reference books are sure to find something of value in Roman Empire at War.

Read the full review here.

UNRV

In sum, Roman Empire at War is what it sets out to be: a fine starting point for further investigation of the battles of this era. It is hard to overstate the convenience of having both battle summaries and primary source references all in the one place. Its usefulness for wargamers is obvious, and I could see it becoming a much appreciated resource for enthusiasts of the era and people interested in creating scenarios for game systems such as Commands & Colours: Ancients.

To my mind this publication is well worth its modest cost, and I hope it is not the last book we see from Don Taylor.

SlingShot, November-December 2016 – reviewed by Aaron Bell

Considering the amount of battles the Roman Empire was involved with during its existence, it seems hard to believe that the author has managed to include them all in a 230 page book. However, he clearly has, but it is obvious from an early stage that the author has only dipped his toe in the water of this vast subject. Whether this is deliberate or whether the age old problem of page constraints by the publisher has been against him is not clear, but I will view this book as an introduction to the multitude of battles to whet the appetite of those historians who want to find out more.
The book begins with an ‘Introduction to Roman Imperial Warfare’ which again, is a vast subject that has been compressed into just 22 pages, while the remainder is allocated to the Battles of the Roman Empire. Prior to the latter section starting, there is an alphabetical and chronological listing of the battle. The main section proper, ‘Battles of the Roman Empire 31 BC-AD 565 then begins in alphabetical form; personally I prefer a chronological approach. Regardless, this main section, which runs from page 46 to page 188, is very engaging and easy to dip into, covering battles from Abrittus through to Willows. The book is very well-producing and is complemented by a number of simple but informative battle plans. An ideal introduction into this huge subject which could produce and number of spin-off publications.
Recommended

Military Modelling

This new book is divided into two main sections. The first section presents an introduction to Roman imperial warfare, while the second section deals with the battles of the Roman empire. In this manner the book provides a brief description of every significant battle – and most of the minor actions - fought by the Romans from Augustus to Justinian. An introductory chapter provides an overview of the developments in Roman tactics, equipment and organisation across the imperial period. The information in each entry is drawn exclusively from the earliest surviving sources which chronicle the event in question, thereby presenting the literary evidence as a basis for further study. In writing the battle descriptions the author has not sought to analyse the evidence contained in the surviving accounts, neither has he embellished them beyond that which is necessary to provide clarity to the modern reader. He allows the original writers to speak for themselves, thereby presenting the reader with a succinct version of what the ancient chroniclers told of the events. Supported by numerous maps, diagrams and battle plans, the text includes alphabetical and chronological lists of battles, notes, a bibliography and an index. This book is really useful for looking up which battle happened when, and which sources need to be consulted for a more detailed study and should be regarded as a first call reference to the many battles of the Roman empire.

Stuart Asquith, author

The description of each battle is fairly summarized, in record plan , expounding a little more exclusively on the most representative , with playback using maps and charts , with the order of battle , situation and tactics used in addition to these chips.

A very interesting work of consultation and as guide as I like.

Read the full review here!

José Manuél Rico Cortés (Mister JM) - Miniaturas JM

About Don Taylor

Dr Don Taylor holds a PhD in European History with a concentration in Ancient Mediterranean Studies from Fulbright College of the University of Arkansas (USA). Since 1995 he has served as a university professor in European and Ancient History at Hardin-Simmons University, Texas and he has published and/or lectured on various topics of Greek and Roman history.

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