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Eager for Glory: The Untold Story of Drusus the Elder, Conqueror of Germania (Anglais) Relié – 23 mars 2011

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Eager for Glory Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus (Drusus the Elder) was one of the most extraordinary figures of Caesar Augustus' family and the original conqueror of Germania Magna. Yet for too long his life and exploits have been consigned to footnotes in the annals of the Roman Empire. In fact, Drusus the Elder is the most important Roman who has not been written about - until now in EAGER FOR GLORY. Full description

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LINDSAY POWELL is a writer for Ancient Warfare and his articles have appeared in Military Heritage, Desperta Ferro and Strategy & Tactics magazines, as well as on UNRV.com. His books have been published by Pen and Sword and Osprey Publishing. He is a member of the Classical Association and the Historical Writers' Association, and a Friend of The Vindolanda Trust.

He is a historical detective motivated to uncover and tell the stories of the under-reported personalities and events of history in the belief that they deserve to be told if our knowledge and understanding of the past is to be complete. A historian, researcher and writer by training and vocation, Lindsay has a particular passion for the military history of the Roman Empire. He scours ancient documents, inscriptions, coins and museums for stories, and archaeological, engineering, medical and scientific reports to reveal deeper truths.

His new book for Pen and Sword is MARCUS AGRIPPA: RIGHT-HAND MAN OF CAESAR AUGUSTUS. It is the first book in English since 1937 to describe the life and achievements of this crucially important figure in Roman history. "The contribution of Marcus Agrippa to Augustus' success cannot be understated. In many ways he is the unsung hero," says Lindsay, "but it was clear from my research that he intended it to be that way". Why is the great mystery explored in the book.

He began writing EAGER FOR GLORY when researching the Battle of Teutoburg, AD 9, and learned of the critical role Nero Claudius Drusus (Drusus the Elder) played in establishing the Romans' presence in Germania Magna. He was astonished to find there was no book about him. EAGER FOR GLORY: The Untold Story of Drusus the Elder, Conqueror or Germania is the book he had hoped to find. "I think readers will be very surprised," he says, "at how important this relative of Augustus was in the formation of the early Roman Empire. He was a successful military commander, a gifted governor, a daring explorer, and a monumental builder. He was a loving husband and father, and a man admired by friend and foe alike. In this book I hope to have restored him to his rightful place in the eventful story of Ancient Rome".

The life of Drusus the Elder's son is the subject of Lindsay's latest book GERMANICUS. "Germanicus Caesar was Rome's most popular general who expunged the shame of the 'Varian Disaster' at Teutoburg in AD 9," says Lindsay. The book tells the story of how he was suddenly thrust into prominence, put down a mutiny of the Rhine legions, led military campaigns in Illyricum and Germania Magna, and earned a reputation as a formidable court advocate. Lindsay examines the possible causes of his mysterious death in Syria and follows the tragic fate of his wife and children. "GERMANICUS tells a compelling tale which inspired generations of painters and playwrights down the centuries and is told for the first time in this new biography," says Lindsay.

Writing COMBAT: ROMAN SOLDIER versus GERMANIC WARRIOR, 1st CENTURY AD enabled Lindsay to dive deeper into the German Wars he described in EAGER FOR GLORY and GERMANICUS. Working with acclaimed illustrator Peter Dennis, the author/artist team have produced a dramatic and visually exciting account of the battles at Teutoburg (AD 9), Idistaviso (AD 16) and Angrivarian Wall (AD 16), seen from the perspective of soldiers on both sides of the battlefields.

Connections between the present and the past also fascinate him. Combining a researcher's skill at finding unexpected connections in everyday events and a historian's knowledge of source material, in ALL THINGS UNDER THE SUN: How Modern Ideas are Really Ancient, Lindsay takes a clear eyed and often witty look at modern times through the longer perspective of ancient history and reveals that, as the old adage goes, 'all things under the Sun, there's nothing new'. "Human societies have faced many of the same problems before," says Lindsay, "and if we're smart, we'll learn from the Past and pick the solutions that worked - and avoid those that didn't."

Lindsay divides his time between Austin, Texas and Wokingham, England.

Visit him at http://www.Lindsay-Powell.com/

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Amazon.com: 15 commentaires
20 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Eager For Glory, Biography. Drusus the Elder 30 juillet 2011
Par GySgt Red Millis USMC (ret) - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I received my copy of this work and within a short time discovered to my immense pleasure, that I actually had two superior works in one volume!
While the title and primary subject of the work is of course the first comprehensive biography written on Drusus The Elder, the bonus contained between its covers is that the author, Lindsay Powell, has also included a very good historical account of not only the subject, but his times, culture and associated events connected to him!
This dual representation makes this work even more valuable for historians or even those with a casual interest in the period.
The author's style is light, comprehensive and immensely readable making both works I have read by him serious "shelf keepers".
This work deserves a five star rating and is highly recommended.
GySgt D.A. "Red" Millis II USMC (ret) Curator, Marine Corps Legacy Museum
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The `must have' book on a real Roman hero 31 juillet 2011
Par STJAustin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I was drawn to this book because it promised to tell an untold story. And what a story it turned out to be! The Romans considered Nero Claudius Drusus one of their all-time greats, and reading this book you can see why. Lindsay Powell brings evidence from the ancient world and pieces together the story of this little known Roman's life. The book is brim full of information about Drusus' life and times. The author seems to have meticulously researched his topic and it shows because the book is crisply written and easy to read. I especially liked maps that really help to bring the story to life.

It's wonderful to be able to read about a real flesh-and-blood Roman hero, rediscovered and vividly brought back to life. Between the antics of the Roman imperial family, the politics, great building projects, the adventure, two wars, a medical mystery (which he solves) - even a ghost makes an appearance - it's a great non-fiction story and 'must have' book!
17 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A work of considerable research. 31 juillet 2011
Par Ned Middleton - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
There are names from history which always spring readily to mind even if we may not correctly remember the relevant dates or deeds - Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Attila the Hun and so forth. In all my years of hearing such names in whatever context, I have never previously heard of Drusus the Elder. On reading this book, two thoughts occurred to me. The first is that I really do not understand why his name is not as widely known as any other from ancient history. Certainly his achievements are worthy of such acclaim. My second is that, somehow, I rather fancy I will be hearing his name again and again in coming years now that this important job of research is published.

Drusus the Elder. Perhaps, you also heard it first here - in this book!!!

Described as the "... most important Roman who has not been written about - until now," Drusus was stepson of Augustus, the first Roman Emperor, through marriage. His exploits included successful, and very daring, military campaigns by land and sea which expanded the Roman Empire as far as the River Elbe in Germany and supervising one of the largest military infrastructure developments of the time. He even married Marc Antony's daughter Antonia with whom he fathered the Emperor Claudius and Germanicus who became Rome's most popular general.

And yet, he somehow remained a footnote to the many historical documents which testified to his achievements and greatness. To me that is something akin to reading a potted history of WW2 where Churchill is only mentioned right at the very end as an afterthought.

As an historian who spends countless hours immersed in research, I am able to recognise dedicated investigation wherever I see it. This book is an absolute triumph of such hard work and I congratulate the author on his investigative prowess. Having said that, I did find the style rather difficult to get into. The writing is somewhat hard going and lacks relaxation. Nevertheless, that should not prevent anyone from enjoying the exploits of one of the most important and overlooked Romans of all time.

6 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Virtus 10 novembre 2011
Par Anibal Madeira - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Drusus the Elder embodied all the qualities a Roman should possess. Loyal to his family, brave beyond belief, a great warrior, a fine general, a loyal husband, an able governor with authority, a diplomat, a respectable virtuous man. He was a hero, bred and groomed to BE a hero. But for an incredible stroke of bad luck, almost all contemporary sources were lost! And this man, that was so loved and respected in Rome, was all but forgotten by History turning into a footnote of Augustus principate.

In his first book, Powell investigated tirelessly the sources and gives us this very well annotated biography of Drusus the Elder. From the minute references in the sources, archeological record, numismatic, etc, the author reconstructs his life and career including the highlights like the war in Raetia and Noricum; his administration in Gaul (including the creation of the Concillium Gallorum), the invasion of Germany through an impressive amphibian operation (where he reached the Elbe and managed to achieve Spolia Optima...a very rare trophy indeed), his diplomatic skills with the Batavians and other tribes that became friends to Rome, also detailed is his tragic death in Castra Scelerata. Lindsay Powell also hasn't forgotten the dedication of Drusus to his wife Antonia Minor, or his political Republican tendencies.

Drusus was a remarkable man indeed, and now you can read a very good account of his exploits. Some limitations are expected of course; for example, describing the Alpine Celts the author used generic information about the Celts. Powell does this several times, but it is important to those readers who aren't that familiar with ancient history, so they get the basic information about what the author is mentioning (for example the cursus honorum, the roman army, the Germanic tribes, etc.)...I don't consider them "filler", they are useful for many readers.

This work has very good notes, remarkable maps (most by Carlos de la Rocha), excellent gazetteer with details of what we must visit, and foreword by the great Graham Sumner (why didn't you provide plates for this book? Why? Why?).

The only serious shortcoming in this book is the plate references throughout the text. There are too many mistakes. For example in page 26 referring to the passage through the alps, points to Plate 7 (a carving of Drusus in Ara Pacis); on page 31 the text is providing info on the pole legionaries used to carry equipment and points to plate 12, but that pole is illustrated in plate 11! There are numerous mistakes like those. I advise caution in a next edition, but I cannot honestly remove a star to this great work.
10 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A good read but an (over) eagerness to tell the tale? 12 mars 2012
Par JPS - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
First posted on Amazon.co.uk on 14 November 2011

This is a very interesting book about one of the less well known members of Augustus' generals: his stepson Drusus the Elder. One commentator wondered why he was not better known, at least in our times. In addition to the loss of almost all contemporary sources (most of the ones we have are written at least a hundred years after the facts), Drusus never became Emperor, unlike his stepfather Augustus (who, technically, was "Princeps", not Emperor) his brother Tiberius, or his son Claudius. In addition, he died young and his claim to fame as the "Conqueror of Germania" was somewhat overshadowed by Varus' disaster (the Teutoburg battle where 3 legions were lost) and his eldest son's achievements that won him the title of "Germanicus" some 20 years latter.

I had mixed feelings after having finished this book. As other commentators have mentioned, Lindsay Powell has tried to make much with little. This can be seen as a quality - the ability to write a whole story although there is not much detail about his character in the sources - but also a defect because the book includes a lot of padding to make up for the lack of specific details about Drusus' achievements. Having said that, the book is meticulously researched, makes very good use of archeology and offers several fascinating glimpses into this early period when what we know as the Roman Empire was starting to be established. One of these is to show that, after Actium, whole areas needed to be pacified (Northern Spain), conquered (Northern Alps - Rhetia, Illyria and Noricum), or administered (the Gauls) and that Octavius/Augustus and Rome had their work cut out to do so. Another, less original, insight, is to show how much Octavius/Augustus relied on Agrippa and never quite managed to replace him by a single figure once his right-hand man died.

I do, however, have a few problems with this book. Minor, but irritating, issues include poor editing and misleading references, although the maps that are provided are generally very helpful and allow to follow each of Drusus' and Tiberius' campaigns. More questionable, however, are the author's views that portray Drusus into a Roman hero, the epitome of Roman virtues and the Conqueror of Germania. Here, it seems that Powell has chosen to believe the Roman propaganda that comes across even through the second hand sources that remain (a bit like believing Alexander the Great's propaganda and that of his Successors as it permeates through the sources). There are several problems with this:

- It seems like Drusus was in fact OVER eager for glory. He over extended himself at least twice during his campaigns in Germania and was lucky to avoid the fate that would be that of P. Quinctilus Varrus' a few years latter in supposedly conquered Germania. In other words, this was a huge mistake for someone portrayed as a "fine general", and he did it twice, not once, and almost got destroyed on one of the occasions. The author seems to have chosen to gloss over this: Drusus was perhaps lucky, but rash and his eargerness for glory could easily have lead to disaster in Germany

- Another interesting point that could be either propaganda or recklessness is Drusus' "heroïc" behaviour of slaying ennemy chiefs single handed. Interestingly, while the author mentions this and tells us how this stems back to the beginning of Rome, he cannot give us a single name of a chieftain slain by Drusus, simply because the sources do not provide any such name. Granted, as mentioned before, all we have left are second-hand sources, so that the names of some small chieftain of a "barbarian" Germanic clan may easily have been dropped. However, the omission could also mean that this was a piece of "spin" to portray Drusus as the "Roman Hero".

If you take a more cynical view to Drusus' achievements and behaviours, then the picture of the super "Roman hero" becomes one of an ambitious, over eager young man in a hurry. The author hints at this several times, but unfortunately fails to discuss this issue at length.

The last point here is whether Drusus had "noble intentions" or whether he was an ambitious, competitive and self-serving young man that was driving to position himself as the successor of Octavius/Augustus. The author tends to believe that the former was true, but does not make the case that demonstrates his view. I wonder whether the latter is not more likely.

The author has somehow avoided an ackward but interesting discussion is about Drusus' alleged "Republican" opinions (handing the power back to the Senate) and the reactions that these views drew from Octavius/Augustus and Tiberius. Drusus' alleged opinions, which would be shared by his son the Emperor Claudius latter on, could just as well have been a ploy to get support from the main senatorial factions. If this was the case, then his behaviour would have bordered on treason and it is not at all surprising that Tiberius would have handed the incriminating letter that Drusus wrote to him to Augustus, especially since the latter seemed to see Drusus as some kind of "wonder boy" who could do no wrong and who outshone his more ponderous but more reliable brother. Lindsay Powell insists on Tiberius being jealous of his brother. While there may be truth about this, Tiberius also deeply loved his brother and would not have travelled hundreds of miles at breackneck speed to see him on his death bed if this had not been the case (he didn't really need to, unless the travel was seen as necessary to secure the loyalty of the legions). The point here is that Tiberius, while possibly jealous, must also have been torn between the love of his brother and his duty (and seeking the affection, love and recognition of Augustus). If anyone knew about Drusus' ambitions and self-serving behaviors, and how far he could go to reach his goals, it would have been Tiberius.

As for the two last sections of the book, I found that the "return home" was simply too long - it makes up about 20% of the book. Drusus' achievements were also presented in a much too favorable way and perhaps even somewhat overblown.

He certainly did play a major role in conquering the Alps. However, the author does not really assess how much can be ascribed to him and how much credit is due to Tiberius. Also, one could wonder as to whether Tiberius was initially meant to attack jointly from the West while Drusus invaded from the South East or whether Tiberius was brought in to help out his younger brother who had got himself into trouble and was having a thougher time than expected.

Moreover, I find the title of the book that portrays Drusus the Elder as the Conqueror of Germania to be exagerated or even a bit misleading. This was, of course, how imperial roman propaganda portrayed him (just like Julius Caesar portrayed himself as conqueror of Britannia or Germany), although he was never granted the title of "Germanicus", unlike his son (who was also served by good propaganda that overemphasized his real achievements!). However, the author should perhaps have know better. While Drusus did reach the Elbe, use innovative strategies such as his seaborn invasion, raid deeply into Germania and set up a number of forts on the other side of the Rhine, the following years would show that this did not necessarily equate to "conquest". In my view, the topic as to whether Germany was really conquered by Drusus' death and, if so, to what extent, could have been discussed in much more length.

Including some or all of these discussions would have significantly alleviated the author's need for "padding". The book nevertheless makes for a good and a very interesting read, but it could have been significantly better...
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