The main theme of this issue is the first army of the Roman Empire, created from the vast armies of the civil wars by Augustus in the aftermath of his victory at Actium. This issue adopts a different format to most issues of this magazine, which tend to be built around a series of similar sized articles on the main theme. Here we get a single long article on Augustus’s army (spanning pages 14-33), with the other three articles on the main theme presented as short inserts into the main article. This is an interesting approach, which does give us a nicely focused main article. The secondary articles could have done with being a bit longer, but otherwise the approach works.
Away from the theme the focus is on Greece and Rome. The Greek articles start with a look at the description of Odysseus’s unarmed combat in Homer, asking if it amounts to a description of a Greek form of martial arts. Next is a look at the warriors portrayed on the Nereid Monumet, found at Xanthos in Lucia and dated to c.380 BC. The author has produced a full colour illustration based on a combination of that sculpture and modern research, and it is nice to get an explanation of why particular choices have been made. Finally there is a look at the way in which Greek hoplites might have used their spears, combining ancient artistic and literary sources with the results of modern reconstructions and experimental archaeology.
On Rome we have a look at the innovations introduced by Scipio Africanus during the Second Punic War, where he earned a reputation as the Republic’s greatest general. There is also a study of Roman military wives, using the tombstone of Marcus Aurelus Nepos and his wife as the frame, and an examination of the rather limited evidence for the rate of auxiliary pay.
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An Army Fit for an Empire - Roman forces after Actium
Problematic Sources - Working with limited information
Augustan heavy metal - the origins of lorica segmentata
Important influences - Agrippa and Maecenas’ debate
The fist of Odysseus - Ancient unarmed combat
The Nereid warriors - Greek hoplite, 390 BC
Strength in your spears - How hoplites wielded their dory
Lessons form Scipio - Rome’s master tactician
Married for eternity - M. Nepos and his wife
Poor relations? - the pay of the auxiliaries