Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier, From Marius to Commodus, 112 BC-AD 192, Raffaele d'Amato and Graham Sumner

Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier, From Marius to Commodus, 112 BC-AD 192, Raffaele d'Amato and Graham Sumner

This is the first in a series of books that will form a comprehensive study of the equipment of the Roman army. In this volume Raffaele d'Amato looks at the late Republic and early Empire, covering the weapons, cloths, armour, awards, symbols and insignia of the Roman infantry, cavalry, naval troops and auxiliaries during the three centuries that saw the Roman Empire reach its greatest extent.

D'Amato's key argument is that art generally portrayed contemporary military equipment, and can thus be used alongside archaeology. This differs from the more normal view, which is that Roman art often represents an idealised or outdated view of military equipment. D'Amato makes a good argument to support his case - the Roman military was always very visible, so most of the artists involved would have been very familiar with the equipment of their day, as would their audience. As archaeology finds more Roman military equipment this argument looks ever stronger. This would also fit with what we know of better documented periods, where artists were more likely to depict historical figures in contemporary armour than the other way round.

This may be the best illustrated book of its type that I have ever seen. Nearly every page features several colour photographs, many taken by the author. These show surviving equipment, sculpture, coins, paintings and depictions of soldiers on graves, and are supported by a number of line drawings that bring out hidden details or show now lost or damaged items, and by a series of full page colour illustrations showing example soldiers and their equipment.

The text is hugely detailed, but very well organized into sections and sub-sections that make it very easy to find any particular topic of interest, and prevent the mass of detail from overwhelming the reader. This is a very valuable contribution to the field, and will be of use to anyone with an interest in the Roman army.

Chapters
I: From Marius to Augustus 112-30 BC
Sources and Historical Outline
Military Organisation
Weaponry
Auxiliary Troop Equipment: Bow and Arrows, Slingers
Special Equipment and Rank Symbols
Cavalry Equipment: The Man
Cavalry Equipment: The Horse
Clothing
Naval Equipment

II: The Roman Empire in the Age of Expansion, 30 BC-AD 192
Sources and Historical Outline
Military Organisation
Weaponry
Auxilia, Numeri and Cohortes Equitatae
Signa Militaria and the Equipment of Standard-Bearers
Medical Corps, Special Equipment, Musicians, Rank Symbols and Military Decorations
Special Equipment
Cavalry Equipment: The Man
Cavalry Equipment: The Horse
The Hyppika Gymnasia
The Heavy Cavalry: The First Catafractarii
The Imperial Guard and Urbaniciani and Vigiles Equipment
Clothing
Naval Equipment

Author: Raffaele d'Amato and Graham Sumner
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 290
Publisher: Frontline
Year: 2009


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