Roman Army Units in the Eastern Provinces (2) – 3rd Century AD, Raffaele D’Amato

Roman Army Units in the Eastern Provinces (2) – 3rd Century AD, Raffaele D’Amato

The 3rd Century was a period of prolonged crisis for the entire Roman Empire, and saw the military come to dominate the Empire more than in earlier periods. Despite the repeated crisis, disasters, defeats and civil wars, the army of this period proved to be robust enough to allow the Empire to survive. However that also meant that the nature of the army had to change, while units were formed and destroyed on a regular basis.

The complexity of this topic is demonstrated by the list of units, which takes up three pages. The purpose of this table is to identify the known locations of these units, so some do appear more than once (in particular amongst the legions), but even so we are still presented with a large number of units, many of them of some obscurity.

The bulk of the book looks at the arms, equipment and clothing of the Roman army of this period. Unusually this is organised by province rather than type of equipment. This actually makes rather a lot of sense. There are plenty of very detailed books that look at the individual elements of Roman army equipment in this period so any attempt to take the topic item by item would just duplicate those works. Instead what we get here is a look at the evidence from each area, looking at both artistic and archeological sources. The longest individual section looks at the impressive array of finds from Dura Europos, including an examination of the only intact rectangular Legionary shield ever found.

I like this approach to the topic. It gives us a different perspective on the equipment of the Roman Army, showing how the regional differences we see were overlaid onto a standard uniform, found all the way from the Danube to the deserts of Egypt.

Select Chronology
Military Organization
Distribution of Units
Arms, Equipment & Clothing

Author: Raffaele D’Amato
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 48
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2022

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy