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Mons Graupius AD 83: Rome's battle at the edge of the world (Anglais) Broché – 20 juillet 2010

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"The author is an expert on ancient Greek and Roman warfare and he draws on firsthand accounts of Tacitus, Agricola’s son-in-law." -www.mataka.org (October 2010)

Biographie de l'auteur

Dr Duncan B Campbell is a specialist in ancient Greek and Roman warfare. He published his first paper in 1984, as an undergraduate at Glasgow University, and produced a complete re-assessment of Roman siegecraft for his Ph.D. His work has appeared in several international journals. He lives near the Antonine Wall in Scotland with his wife and son. The author lives in Scotland.

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 96 pages
  • Editeur : Osprey Publishing (20 juillet 2010)
  • Collection : Campaign
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1846039266
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846039263
  • Dimensions du produit: 18,4 x 0,6 x 24,7 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 61.835 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par maria21 le 11 novembre 2011
Format: Broché
C'est un superbe ouvrage qui nous transporte dans le temps et nous fait revivre avec émotion, cette grande page d'histoire. Les 2 camps sont bien étudiés et détaillés dans leurs forces et faiblesses, tactiques et objectifs de campagne. Les illustrations dynamiques rendent vivante cette étude.
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Amazon.com: 12 commentaires
25 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Many educated assumptions.... 25 juillet 2010
Par lordhoot - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
It must have taken Osprey a lot of thought before they okay this project. Mons Graupius is a battle that culminated seven years of campaigning toward what is now modern Scotland. The primary source is the Roman historian Tacitus with few supporting sources of bits and pieces. The Roman commander, Gnaeus Julius Agricola is Tacitus's main subject matter in his histories. However, Tacitus himself wasn't what we would called a very exacting historian and there lies the problem.

However, I thought the author, Duncan Campbell did justice to this subject. While he does relied a lot on Tacitus, I believed he made many logical, educated and sometimes a leap of faith assumptions to filled in the blanks and there are a lot of "blank" that needed to be filled out before a book like this could be written. So what you will be reading is basically Duncan Campbell's take on this campaign and battle. He even got the battleground picked out you, a place in northeastern Scotland known in modern name of Bennachle. Battle of Mon Graupius was one of these "lost victories" where Romans won an overwhelming victory but didn't take advantage of it and ended up retreating down the British Isles in a slow but deliberate way.

The book come with nice maps and photos that helped the narrative. Many of the photos are those of reenactors in Roman outfits that help gives the reader a good idea what kind of men marched all the way up Scotland. (One photo looked like there is female reenactor in a Roman lorica segmentata armor.) There is very little information on the Celtics side. So the author basically took a page out of Celtic Warrior 101 and applied it here. Even the leader of Celtics isn't exactly known - Calgacus - is that a name or title? There are couple of battle maps in the usual Osprey style effects. Of course, like most of the book, these maps are based on educated and logical assumptions made by the author (with a few leap of faith thrown in). But I thought it works pretty well for me.

The book only weakness is that sometimes, it meander around too much. It doesn't stay on the subject matter and maybe spend more then it should matters involving modern Roman archaeology.

Overall, I enjoyed this book since it is the reflection of how the author view the events based on his knowledge, education and understanding as well as his perception. It is well written and he have done his research well. I'll buy into his assumptions at least until I know better or heard something more educated or logical. If you are a reader who don't like historical guess work, this book is probably not for you. But anyone with interest in Roman or Celtic history should find this book quite an interesting reading material.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Scholarly Account Based upon Tacitus 7 octobre 2010
Par R. A Forczyk - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Romans vs. Scots - what could be more interesting? Scottish historian Duncan B Campbell attempts to harness this evocative image to drive forward into the unknown in assessing the Campaign of Mons Graupius AD 83 in Osprey's Campaign No. 224. This work is necessarily based on the ancient Roman historian Tacitus, who - for the unfamiliar - is a tough and frustrating read on the best of circumstances. Tacitus covered the campaign from the Roman side and did so in a manner that left many questions unanswered. The author has no sources to represent the Caledonian (Scottish) viewpoint. Nor can the author turn to modern battlefield archaeology for much help, since the actual battlefield has yet to be definitely identified although it is strongly suspected to be at Bennachie in Scotland. Adding to these layers of ambiguity and unknowns, the author's writing style is erudite but also a bit wandering and dull in the long lead-up to the battle. Overall, Mons Graupius is certainly better than a number of the other Osprey ancient warfare titles and the section on the battle itself is interesting, but at points the reader may feel smothered and gasping for air. Indeed, while the artwork and maps are very nice, the text appears better suited for a scholarly journal article rather than this type of format.

The author begins with a lengthy introduction and places the campaign in the context of the Roman desire to complete the conquest of Britain. Other than imperial expansion, there is no discussion on why Rome would commit such military resources to conquer an island with no real natural resources (Welsh coal not being a factor in the 1st Century AD) and not posing a direct threat to Rome. The four legions committed to Britain - which are enumerated in the section on opposing armies - would almost certainly have been more useful on the Rhine. The author then discusses what little is known about the Caledonian forces (next to nothing) and the arrival of Agricola as the new governor. The author then begins the "campaign" in a 20-page section that discusses the various marches and camps of Agricola and his army between 77 and 82 AD. This section is interminably dull, with not much occurring and based almost as much on guesswork as Tacitus.

The battle per se begins on page 57 and ends on page 83, with barely a dozen pages of text in between. Actually, this section should appeal to model builders and re-enactors, with its three nice color plates and two 3-D BEV maps. The author's description of the battle is coherent and detailed enough, for an ancient battle. In short, the Romans did not commit their main legionary infantry but cut the Caledonian war bands to mincemeat with a combination of Batavian auxiliary infantry and Roman cavalry. The fact that the enemy would commit to battle with a mountain to their backs is not commented upon, but clearly this proved unsound when it came time to run away. The author does mention that the Caledonians chose the ground, which begs the question why they built no obstacles to protect their flanks against the Roman cavalry (e.g. some ditches with stakes in them). Based upon the description of the battle, it is also plausible that the Caledonians committed their forces piece-meal to the battle and were not able to really employ their numerical superiority - a command and control issue which often plagued barbarian armies fighting the more centrally-controlled Romans.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Useful account of the campaign 24 août 2010
Par Nick - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This book provides a clear and interesting account of the Roman conquest of what's now northern England and southern Scotland and Agricola's expedition further into Scotland. While I'm not familiar with the debate around the accuracy of Tacitus' account, on which the book is (unavoidably) heavily based, Duncan Campbell appears to have assessed it critically and provides a logical narrative of the campaign.

While many Osprey books struggle to fit into the standard structures which are dictated for the various series, the campaign series structure works well for this book. It opens with a good account of the background to the campaign and moves onto short chapters covering the opposing forces and commanders before moving into the coverage of the Roman operations. This is split into two chapters, with the first covering the Roman campaigns in Britain from AD 77 to AD 82 and the second covering the Battle of Mons Graupius. The book then concludes with a further two short chapters which discuss the events following the battle and what Campbell argues is the generally accepted location for where it took place. The length of each chapter felt about right, particularly given the limited sources, and the narrative is well illustrated with appropriate maps and other images.

Overall, Campbell presents a convincing account of Roman warfare in northern Britain and the factors which contributed to their success. It's unfortunate that greater detail isn't provided on the Caledonians, but the coverage is reasonable given the few reliable sources of infomation on the topic. My only substantive complaint about the book is that the photos of Roman reenactors are rather unconvincing as many of them appear to be older than Roman soldiers would have been and the group appears to include a woman dressed as a Roman soldier; surely more authentic images could have been used. Given that the location of the battle remains disputed it would also have been helpful if Campbell had identified the other plausible locations.

All up, this is a useful account of the Roman campaigns in Britain between AD 77 and 83 and serves as a good introduction to the topic.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Two civilizations, two ways of living - one decisive battle 21 octobre 2010
Par Anibal Madeira - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
The Caledonians were some of the last remnants of Celtic civilization in the world. Obviously, later in the early medieval period, the Irish (Hibernians) maintained alive the Celtic flame and repopulated northern Britain through the Scots tribe.

But for the Romans and Caledonians in the late seventies, early eighties of the first century of our era, it was an all or nothing gambit. This is very clear for our "reporter" Tacitus (that had prime access to the sources and wrote his "Agrigola" very near the event) and especially clear in the great speeches he puts in the mouth of Calgacus and Agricola (although obviously not the actual speeches, probably they transmitted the general idea...or at least what the Romans thought the Caledonians would feel).

The author, Duncan Campbell, makes a superb exposition of the facts known of the campaign, including routes, side operations, fortifications and camps, overall strategy, and political limitations throughout the campaign.

It also describes in passage the Roman presence in Britain since Caesars expeditions, and the often difficult relations between Romans and British natives.

The author raises several questions, including very logic interpretations and corrections of the oldest written sources (the Aesinas Codex) and possible mistakes made in past translations. He also makes a fine work trying to identify the units and vexilations present at the time of the battle. Like most investigations, there must be some deductive reasoning and some guessing but most of it is very solid.

The plates by Sean O'Brogain are excellent and they include the deployment phase; the clash between the crack Batavian auxiliaries and the Caledonian front ranks and a third plate representing the chase of the routing Caledonian army by Roman cavalryman.

Highly recommended.
One of the vey best Osprey Campaing titles 29 novembre 2012
Par JPS - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I am often disappointed with Osprey's publications. Part of it is because of the rather limited format that authors have to comply with. It may also be because quality may be uneven (some good, some bad, some indifferent) and perhaps also because I may be expecting too much from them to begin with, and I am probably a bit fussy anyway. This one, however, is simply excellent because it has it all.

As another Osprey author mentioned in his review of this book on Amazon.co.uk, Duncan Campbell has used all of the sources available. He has discussed them and, however briefly, analysed them, showing for instance that Tacitus, although biased, is mostly preferable to Dio Cassius. He has also used all the other sources at his disposal (archaeology, numismatics, aerial photography etc...). Finally, he has also managed to present the main issues and areas of discussions that his subject has generated for decades. All this is done is a way that is neither pedantic, nor arrogant. It is done thoroughly and professionally, with the author taking great care to distinguish between what can be backed by sources from what are mere interpretations or speculations, however plausible they may seem. This certainly needed to be emphasized because, at least up to now, I do not think I have come across a book in this collection which could boast all of these qualities to such an extent, although, arguably, I have not (yet!) read all of them.

Some reviewers have claimed that the author was biased and at least implied that he told the story from the Roman point of view. One even went as far as to insinuate that this was an apology of Roman imperialism and that, since it was also an apology of Tacitus' father in law and since Tacitus had no military experience and was not on the spot, the whole story lacked credibility. I was surprised to read this because each of these points is thoroughly discussed and addressed by the author very convincingly, in my view

Given that the Caledonians left no written source, we only have the Roman view to go on anyway. However, this is a very interesting and terribly lucid Roman view, a view that does not exactly uphold the "politically correct" view that we could have expected. Can anyone imagine Caesar, Titus-Livius or Suetonius putting in the mouth of a "Barbarian" chieftain and warlord the indictment about the Romans "plundering, butchering, raping in the false name of empire (imperium), where they have created desolation, they call it peace?" Hardly. This in itself is extremely interesting. It is also for these kinds of glimpses into the Roman "psyche" that Tacitus can be so valuable. This statement probably reflects the Roman author's own point of view, and perhaps also that of Agricola. After years of hard campaigns and ruthless war, with Tacitus probably taking part in some of it, you do get the impression that they were getting sick and tired of killing and destroying. It does not make the Roman conquerors very much more sympathetic, of course, but it definitely makes them more human and it makes the whole story "look and feel" much more real.

Then we have the events themselves and here both the form and the substance are rather excellent. The author summarizes previous events since the initial invasion some 40 years before. He also provides the standard pieces of background information on the Roman army. These are perhaps briefer than usual, something that I appreciated if only because reading the same (or very similar) pages of context on the Roman army in each and every Osprey publication that examines one of their campaigns or one of the stages in its evolution can be somewhat repetitive and tedious. So here again, the author struck a nice balance in my view: just enough. Another very interesting piece was the author's tentative reconstitution (and acknowledged as tentative!) of the Roman battle order, the succession of campaigns and the analysis of their methodical advance. Here again, the author deserves praise, if only for having managed to summarize so much in a nevertheless clear and comprehensive way.

Last but one, we get to the battle. This is where they might be a few reservations, although there seems to be little doubt that it happened, that Agricola's plan was successful and that the Romans won hands down after a hard fight, despite allegations trying to pretend that the battle did not take place or trying to minimize it. I am a bit sceptical, but given the limitations of our information, I can go no further than that, about the "body count". Despite accusations of inflating the numbers, which simply cannot be substantiated, it is quite possible than the Caledonians lost some 10000 or about a third of their initial force. This is rather plausible when one remembers that they got themselves either trapped against the mountain or hunted down and massacred by the Roman cavalry once they had broken and were trying to flee. What is perhaps less convincing is the very low losses on the Roman side (360 killed) after what is portrayed as a long and hard fight.

There may however be a number of explanations to that. In addition to the Romans being armoured whereas the Caledonians were mostly not, this number could only include the fatalities on the battlefield and not count the wounded. These could be anything between three to five times as numerous and many Romans, given their heavy defensive equipment and the slashing swords of their enemies, would have been wounded rather than killed. Some of these may not have survived their wounds but at least they would have been taken care of so that those that could be treated were saved. The losing side, of course, did not have such an opportunity, which wounded Caledonians being mostly finished off by the victors. Besides, the Roman swordplay tactics and training would have implied that many Caledonians received gut wounds or wounds to the throat or neck which they would be very unlikely to survive.

Anyway, as so much with that battle (we are not even entirely certain of its location), all of this is also speculative, although it seems plausible and may go a long way to explain the huge discrepancy in the losses on each side.

Finally, there is the aftermath: all of this, the seven years of campaign, the marching, the fighting, the battle, the hardships, the bloodshed, the loss of life turned out to be almost for nothing because Domitian pulled troops out of Britain to fight on the Danube. As Campbell makes clear (and it is even clearer when you read Tacitus), Tacitus resented this and had little sympathy for Domitian partly because of this. His views are likely to have been shared by Agricola himself and probably also by most if not all of the Roman tribunes, prefects and legates that had taken part in these hard campaigns. All of this is easily understandable and this, in itself, may be a reason for Tacitus to write the history of the Agricola's campaigns. That way, at least, they would be remembered...
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