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The Roman Army: A Social and Institutional History

The Roman Army: A Social and Institutional History

Paperback

By (author) Pat Southern

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 229mm x 33mm | 612g
  • Publication date: 11 October 2007
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195328787
  • ISBN 13: 9780195328783
  • Illustrations note: 3 maps, 32 halftones & line illus.
  • Sales rank: 342,638

Product description

Written by a leading authority on Roman military history, this fascinating volume spans over a thousand years as it offers a memorable picture of one of the world's most noted fighting forces, paying special attention to the life of the common soldier. Southern here illuminates the Roman army's history, culture, and organization, providing fascinating details on topics such as military music, holidays, strategy, the construction of Roman fortresses and forts, the most common battle formations, and the many tools of war, from spears, bows and arrows, swords, and slingshots, to the large catapulta (which fired giant arrows and bolts) and the ballista (which hurled huge stones). Perhaps most interesting are the details Southern provides about everyday life in the Roman army, everything from the soldiers pay (they were paid three times per year, but money was deducted for such items as food, clothing, weapons, the burial club, the pension scheme, and so on) to their often brutal life-if whole units turned and ran, about one-tenth of the men concerned were chosen by lot and clubbed to death and the rest were put on barley rations instead of wheat. Moreover, soldiers who lost weapons or their shields would fight savagely to get them back or would die in the process, rather than suffer the shame that attached to throwing weapons away or running from the battle. Attractively illustrated, this book offers a fascinating look at the life of the Roman soldier, drawing on everything from Rome's rich historical and archaeological record to soldier's personal correspondence to depictions of military subjects in literature and art.

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Author information

Pat Southern has published nine books on the Roman army and on Roman history, including The Roman Cavalry (with Karen R. Dixon) and The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine. She has also written biographies of Mark Antony, Pompey the Great, Julius Caesar, Augustus, and Cleopatra. She lives in the UK.

Review quote

Southern knows her readership well and provides an easily accessible introduction to the world of the Roman Army. David W. Madsen, Bryn Mawr Classical Review