Roman Legionary AD 69-161 by Ross Cowan
(Warrior)

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Synopsis

Between AD 69 and 161 the composition of the Roman legions was transformed. Italians were almost entirely replaced by provincial recruits, men for whom Latin was at best a second language, and yet the 'Roman-ness' of these Germans, Pannonians, Spaniards, Africans and Syrians, fostered in isolated fortresses on the frontiers, was incredibly strong. Like the Italian yeomen who had battled Pyrrhus and Hannibal centuries before, the provincial legionaries were imbued with the traditional ethos of the Roman army. They were highly competitive, jealous of their honour, and driven by the need to maintain and enhance their reputations for virtus, that is manly courage and excellence.
The warfare of the period, from the huge legion versus legion confrontations in the Civil War of AD 69, through the campaigns of conquest in Germany, Dacia and Britain, to the defence of the frontiers of Africa and Cappadocia and the savage quelling of internal revolts, gave ample opportunity for virtus-enhancing activity. Despite a radical change in the makeup of the legions, the period AD 69-161 was characterised by continuity and revival. The classic battle formation that had baffled Pyrrhus and conquered Hannibal was revived. Heroic centurions continued to lead from the front, and common legionaries vied with them in displays of valour. The legions of the era may have been provincial but they were definitely Roman in organisation and ethos.
 

About Ross Cowan

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Ross Cowan went to the University of Glasgow with the intention of studying Medieval history but was waylaid by Classics, and eventually emerged with a Ph.D. for research on the Praetorian Guard and Second Parthian Legion. Now a freelance writer and historian, Dr Cowan has published five books and numerous articles on all aspects of warfare in the Roman World.
 
Published April 23, 2013 by Osprey Publishing. 64 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Roman Legionary AD 69-161

The Wargamer

Plate C shows a number of weapon types-swords, daggers and pilum heads, competently executed but did it need a whole plate to show these?

May 08 2013 | Read Full Review of Roman Legionary AD 69-161 (Wa...

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