Roman Republican Legionary 298-105 BC (Anglais) Broché – 17 avril 2012
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Even though still a citizen militia recruited from property owners supplying their own war gear, it was the manipular legion that faced Pyrrhus and his elephants, the Gauls and their long swords, Hannibal and his tactical genius, the Macedonians and their pikes, to name but a few of its formidable opponents. This book, therefore, will look at the recruitment (now based on age and experience as well as on wealth and status), training (now the responsibility of the state as opposed to the individual), weapons (new types being introduced, both native and foreign), equipment (ditto) and experiences (which included submission to a draconian regime of military discipline) of the legionary at the epoch of the middle Republic. The middle Republican era opens with the last great war with the Samnites (Third Samnite War, 298-290 BC) and closes with the Republic at the height of its imperial glory after the victory in North Africa (Iugurthine War 112-105 BC). The provisional legion in which the legionary served now exhibited many of the institutions and customs of the later professional legions, perhaps best reflected in one of its most notable practices, the construction of a temporary camp at the end of each day's march. Lest we forget, however, for our legionary, military service was not a career, but an obligation he owed to the state, and it was this militia army that conquered the peninsula of Italy, defeated the magnificent Hellenistic kingdoms and the mercantile empire of Carthage. All of the Mediterranean basin was now within the imperium of Rome, some of it organized into provinces governed by Roman magistrates, the rest reduced to client status. Romans were acquiring a sense that they possessed a world empire.
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Il est question d’organisation, d’équipement, d’entraînement mais aussi de techniques de combat et de ravitaillement en campagne. Un Osprey classique et de qualité.
This latest offering from Osprey covers the Roman legionary from the Camillan reforms, following Rome's defeat in the Third Samnite War, to the reforms of Marius, following the Jugurthan War. Or put another way, the legionary who fought some of the most well-known battles in history--Trebbia, Cannae and Zama--which expanded the influence of Rome into Greece, Spain and the Middle East. Those looking for a history of the conflicts themselves will have to look elsewhere; this book concentrates on the men on the front-lines.
Warrior books have a fairly standard layout. There is a chronology of the period with chapters on "Recruitment and Training", "Organization", "Equipment and Appearance", "On Campaign", "Experience of Battle" and of course a "Glossary" and "Bibliography". This title also has a short chapter on the "Origins of the Manipular Legion".
I like Dr. Fields writing style and his practical scholarship. It's crisp and clear and whilst well-grounded in the latest academic research, he is prepared to speculate when there is a lack of evidence. But, importantly, he makes clear how much of a stretch he is making.
As well as a nicely written text the book is supported by eight pieces of original colour artwork. These are spread through the book and are strategically placed to illustrate details in the text. Mr. O'Brogain has illustrated a number of Osprey books and I was impressed by his work in Galloglas.Lire la suite ›
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Most people choose to read about the imperial period of Rome, but there's easily as much history before Augustus, the first emperor, as there is after him. The period covered in this book covers the change in legionaries from men who fought in a phalanx formation to those who fought in the manipular fashion, right down to the changes made by Gaius Marius circa 105-100 BC.
Expect the usual Osprey sections on organisation, unit size, training, equipment and weapons. There are also sections about campaigning and battle. It's well-written for the most part, although in some sections the text is a little 'clunky'. There's a good chronology at the start, and a decent bibliography. The illustrations, as expected, are excellent. Well worth the money. Readers who want more in depth discussion of equipment and weaponry of this and other periods might like the fantastic Roman Military Equipment: From The Punic Wars To The Fall Of Rome by Bishop & Coulston. There are other good Osprey titles based in this period too, including Early Roman Armies and Republican Roman Army 200-104 BC.
Ben Kane, author of Hannibal: Enemy of Rome and Spartacus: The Gladiator.
This little Osprey volume displays the usual structure that can be found in the series, with introduction and chronology, origins of the manipular legion, recruitment, training and organization, followed by a piece on appearance and equipment. The book ends with a section on the legionary during campaigns and another one on his "experience of battle".
By and large, and for those that already know quite a bit on this period, there is little new or original. Even these, however, will find value in this book because it clearly illustrates the hybrid and transition Roman army and its shift from a hoplite type organization to what would become the "classic" Roman legions by the time of Marius. For those who are new to the subject, however, and those who are looking for some rather vivid visual illustrations, this book will be fine for you.
Both the contents and the eight plates are, however, well presented and thought out. The plates in particular are distributed throughout the book to cover evenly most of the sections: recruitment, training, one for equipment of first and third line infantry, and one for cavalry and then one each for battles on land, on sea and for siege. A minor gripe here is that there is - oddly - no plate for the Principes - the second line of legionaries. A minor positive is that the plates allow the reader to get a clear grasp of Roman equipment, and Roman helmets in particular, of the time.
A final merit of this book is to explain the advantages that the manipular formation allowed the Romans to build over their various foes, whether the Carthaginians, which initially were using a hoplite type organization, the Gauls, or the Hellenistic monarchs and their pike phalanxes which was itself an evolution from the hoplite phalanx. A related feature is to show through the equipment section how versatile the Romans were and would remain for centuries in adopting pieces of equipment (with the gladius being one of the most well-known examples) from their foes and improving on them.
Two final remarks need to be made, however. One is that the book does contain a number of repetitions which may be mildly annoying for some. Another element is that the text is very largely inspired from Keppie's "The Making of the Roman Army: From Republic to Empire" to the extent that, at times, it almost reads like a shortened version.
With a good chronology that saves immense space, the author focus on the main elements that define the roman warrior. How he was selected, how he fought, how he trained, how he was organized, what he wore and with what equipment he fought. In this book you will probably won't find any new data if you study this period, but you have here the perfect summary, concentrating in a small book several theories (like the maniple in combat for example, stating both the extended frontage and the vacant space), clear presentation of each subject, and intelligent analysis.
Nice pictures of artifacts, reliefs, sculptures and coinage gives the reader a good visual reference, completed by the very good plates by the resourceful and competent Seán Ó' Brógáin (the color plates are: Enlistment; Training; First-line legionary - hastatus; Third-line legionary - triarius; Eques; Battle on land; Battle at sea; Siege of syracuse, 214-212 BC). Few can depict military equipment with such remarkable details has this great welsh illustrator.
This work is far stronger than the previous man-at-arms book by the same publishing house titled "Republican Roman Army 200-104 BC". I strongly recommend this book as the perfect introduction on the roman legionary of the mid-republican period.