This detailed examination of the way in which the Roman Army operated during a war and how it fought a battle breaks away from existing studies, which mostly concentrate on the army in peacetime, and attempts to understand the army as an institution whose ultimate purpose was to wage war. Adrian Goldsworthy explores the influence of the Roman army's organization on its behaviour during a campaign, emphasizing its great flexibility in comparison to most of its opponents. He considers the factors determining the result of a conflict and proposes, contrary to orthodox opinion, that the Roman army was able to adapt successfully to any type of warfare. Following the technique pioneered by John Keegan in The Face of Battle (1976), Dr Goldsworthy builds up a precise picture of what happened during battle: tactics employed, weaponry, leadership, behaviour of individuals as well as groups of soldiers, and, of utmost importance, morale.
'Meticulously researched and well written, it addresses every aspect of the army as a fighting force. The Roman Army at War falls into that most welcome category of books with proper footnotes ... The whole package is wrapped up with a refreshingly comprehensive bibliography ... the work he has compiled will keep this reviewer quite satisfied for the foreseeable future.'
Duncan B. Campbell, Britannia
'He has written a book about the realities of warfare in the early Empire and we should be truly grateful.'
Hugh Elton, Trinity College, Hartford, CT, Journal of Roman Studies
'The book does what it sets out to do, namely, it emphasizes the inherent flexibility of the Roman legion.'
Bryn Mawr, Classical Review
'useful study ... the attempt to refocus the discussion of the Roman army along the lines of actual (and not idealized) warfare is welcome and largely successful.'
Loren J. Samons II, Religious Studies Review
This is an academic book, based on the author's D.Phil thesis. It remains in print after more than a decade.
For more information see the OUP website:
|© Adrian Goldsworthy 2009|