Leading the Roman Army

Leading the Roman Army

Jonathan Eaton
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
This book is based on a thesis the author wrote for his PhD, one which was obviously successful as he is now Dr Jonathan Eaton. The book retains much of the style of a thesis in that it is very well annotated with a good index and bibliography. However, the author has taken the thesis and turned it into a very readable book.

The book is split into 6 main chapters

  • The Political Influence of the Rome Garrison – the army was always a very political animal
  • Discipline and Morale – life of a Legionnaire
  • The Legionary Centurionate – the long term soldiers who actually ran the Legions
  • Commanding the Emperor’s Army – the Consuls and Tribunes – political animals to the core
  • Political Awareness in the Army – how soldiers were tuned in to politics in Rome
  • The Emperor and his soldiers - how did Emperors keep the widespread Armies in their court
These chapters take up just half the book, the next section is the author’s conclusions – summing up the previous chapters and it is nice to see an author actually come away with some conclusions rather than just leaving to the reader to work out. The Appendix deals with the army that rarely left Rome, mainly the Praetorians and how they are linked in to the success, and life, of an Emperor.

The final 60 plus pages are given over to a large bibliography, extensive notes and a comprehensive index.

All in all this is a very readable book laying out the information logically, completely understandable to the layman. My only critique here is the author uses Latin phrases, which given that is the language of the Legions, but he does not give the translation, which is a touch annoying at times.

If you are interested in this era and the Army that propped it up then this is an excellent book to lead you in.

4/5 Mr MRHs

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