For the best part of seven centuries the relationship between the Germanic tribes and the Roman Empire played a major role in the history of Western Europe. The two were neighbours and rivals for most of that period, and over time the Germans learnt from the Romans, and the Romans absorbed many Germans into their army.
Most of the book (eight of the nine chapters) covers the ‘History’ part of the subtitle. There is plenty of material to cover here – the Germans played a major role in the history of the Roman Empire, from the late Republic and the dramatic clash with the Cimbri and the Teutones to the fall of the Western Empire. The many campaigns are covered well, although I think the author over-plays the inevitability of the fall of the Western Empire. However we get plenty of detail on each of the major periods of conflict,
The final chapter looks at the arms and armour of the Germanic tribes, and how they changed over time, from the largely unarmoured warriors of the Republican period to the well equipped opponents of the late Empire. As with all of these books the text is supported by a vast array of colour photographs showing re-enactors in modern but well researched reproduction equipment. The variety of equipment isn’t that great, so we do get a lot of pictures of unarmoured Germans with spear and shield, but there are plenty of details of different types of shields, changing armour and weapons etc.
1 – The Early History of the Germans
2 – The Cimbrian War
3 – Julius Caesar and the Germans
4 – The Campaigns of Augustus in Germania
5 – Arminius and the Battle of Teutoberg
6 – The limes of the Rhine and the Marcomannic Wars
7 – The Migration Period and the Battle of Adrianople
8 – The Sacks of Rome and the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains
9 – Weapons and Tactics of the Germans
Author: Gabrielle Esposito
Publisher: Pen and Sword Military