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Riding for Caesar: Roman Emperor's Horseguards

Riding for Caesar: Roman Emperor's Horseguards

Paperback

By (author) Michael P. Speidel

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  • Publisher: HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 248 pages
  • Dimensions: 148mm x 226mm x 17mm | 540g
  • Publication date: 20 August 1997
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge, Mass
  • ISBN 10: 0674768981
  • ISBN 13: 9780674768987
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition

Product description

Caesar praised them in his Commentaries. Trajan had them carved on his Column. Hadrian wrote poems about them. Well might these rulers have immortalized the horse guard, whose fortunes so closely kept pace with their own. Riding for Caesar follows these horsemen from their rally to rescue Caesar at Noviodunum in 52 B.C. to their last stand alongside Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge. It offers a colorful picture of these horsemen in all their changing guises and duties--as the emperor's bodyguard or his parade troops, as a training school and officer's academy for the Roman army, or as a shock force in the endless wars of the second and third centuries. Written by one of the world's leading authorities on the Roman army, this history reveals the remarkable part the horse guard played in the fate of the Roman empire.

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Review quote

Only Michael Speidel could have written so thorough and expert an account of the horse guard's place in Roman military and political affairs from its inception under Julius Caesar until it was cashiered by Constantine...This authoritative and colorful history of the guard is crafted with meticulous scholarship, clearly written, and readily accessible to the non-specialist. -- David Cherry Military History Speidel's exhaustive knowledge of the Roman army emerges on every page...Well researched, rich in new ideas, and attractively produced. -- Everett L. Wheeler American Historical Review [Speidel] returns to his favorite subject with a systematic and comprehensive analysis of the topic...These troops were the actual protectors of the person of the Emperor, wherever he went, even closer than the Praetorian guard. Since proximity to the Emperor is an index of influence, these troops, though small in number and often of barbarian and provincial origin, had a tremendous influence. Their loyalty was far more impressive than even the Praetorian Guard, and promotion of individual horse guards usually led to influential centurionates in the regular legions. Inscriptions and funeral monuments are the principle sources, outside of the scattered literary texts and ancient military manuals; these are comprehensively handled in masterly fashion by Speidel...Highly recommended. Choice