Armies of the Past Armies of the Late Roman Empire AD 284-476, History, Organization & Equipment

The image of a Roman legionary in most minds is in the uniform of the early years of Empire. This beautifully illustrated book depicts the very different arms and armour of the late Roman Empire as Roman soldiers adapted to the challenges of the rising barbarian armies. – Very Highly Recommended

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NAME: Armies of the Past Armies of the Late Roman Empire AD 284-476, History, 
Organization & Equipment
FILE: R2817
AUTHOR: Gabriele Esposito
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES: 178
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Roman Legions, auxiliaries, arms, armour, tactics, infantry, cavalry, 
naval warfare, Late Roman Empire, organization, equipment, Fall of Rome, Fall 
of the Western Roman Empire, barbarians

ISBN: 1-52673-037-5

IMAGE: B2817.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y3a2rrq2
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION:   The image of a Roman legionary in most minds is in the 
uniform of the early years of Empire. This beautifully illustrated book depicts 
the very different arms and armour of the late Roman Empire as Roman 
soldiers adapted to the challenges of the rising barbarian armies. -  Very 
Highly Recommended

The late Roman Empire in the West has received relatively little interest or attention in comparison 
with the Republic and the early Roman Empire. The result is that there are many misconceptions about 
the final two centuries and the changes that were necessary to the equipment and tactics of the Roman 
armies. The author has produced a fascinating history of arms and equipment during this largely 
unknown period at the end of Empire as the Eastern Empire became the lifeboat for Roman traditions.

The standard of illustration, in the form of drawings in full colour and photographs of re-enactment 
soldiers, also in full colour, is superb. This perfectly compliments the very readable overview of what 
is a complex subject. In addition to tracing military developments from the earlier traditions, the author 
has shown how the barbarian influence is reflected in the organization and equipment for Roman 
soldiers of the period.

In the earlier periods of Rome, the Legions were fighting traditional battles on land and at sea against 
Carthage, and what remained of Greece, and the Middle East, where the enemy was equipped in a 
similar manner and battles followed set piece engagements and sieges under tight discipline. In the late 
Roman Empire, the enemy was most frequently a barbarian army that was used in flexible fast moving 
engagements with equally flexible tactics. Many engagements involved smaller numbers of warriors 
who could strike and retreat before striking again. They rarely stayed around to give the Romans time 
to assemble the traditional formal formations.

As a result, the typical Roman soldier of the late period was likely to wear a helmet that most readers 
would associate with Saxon and Viking warriors, with chain mail coats, or scale armour, and circular, 
or oval, shields. As Roman soldiers began to look more like their enemy, it became necessary to adopt 
the colourful decoration of shields to stamp and identity rather than a uniform Roman appearance with 
eagle standards to rally a legion that trained together in formal dispositions.

The lavish illustration provides a wealth of information, mainly in full colour but also with some black
and white illustration. It shows the range of equipment and weapons that were better suited to the type 
of combat that soldiers then faced, with speed and movement more important than rigid squares of 
troops working through a set of standard postures.