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Ancient Empires

Ancient periods of time, while it was so long ago, there is also SO much written. for those who reenact these older periods, there ARE no photos, so you have to look at statuary and art that is left. In your quest for information, we have found some great books. Give 'em a look. Books... most reenactors have huge libraries and this period deserves no less... The first section here are books directly useful to the reenactor, not having so much emphasis on rusted bits of metal and their interpretation as others do. Scholarly works are fine, but not always the best for the reenactor.

And yeah, in many ways, we are "Osprey-heavy"... why? Because they serve a good purpose; not only to give one a good grounding in a subject, but also they have COLOR plates, which make things come alive. Part of being a reenactor is to live the past and you can't do that well with bad old drawings--history was in color.

Author: Dan Peterson
The Crowood Press UK


It is, without a doubt, the best thing for the reenactor to get, as it shows full-color photos of Roman reenactors!

If the movie "Gladiator" shows Roman troops in all their glory on the big screen, "The Roman Legions: Recreated in Colour Photographs" captures all this glory in a book. The photos contained in this book are the marching Roman recreations you see on The Learning Channel, PBS, Discovery, and other educational TV shows. The author, Daniel Peterson, is a military historian and a museum curator and is also the organizer for the largest and most accurate recreations of the Roman military life. He's a member of the world's only authentically reconstructed Roman Calvary unit and in his personifying role has lived, marched, and ridden hundreds of miles across what was once the Roman Empire. His unit is authentically armored and equipped and prepares and eats authentic rations during their outings as Roman Legions. It goes without saying that his book is just as he envisioned it down to the last detail.

Suffice to say, the photos are absolutely stunning! There are hardly any drawings, paintings, or "historical art" in this book; that is all photos of Roman gear and equipment are real replicas and are worn by real humans. Front and back views are presented of Legionnaires, Calvary, Standard Bearers, Centurions, and auxiliary infantrymen. There are plenty of close-ups and detail shots of daggers, helmets, chain main, link plate, shields, and siege engines. Best of all, there are photos showing Legions marching, in formation, defending, and setting up defenses. There are no enemy actors in the photos so someone looking of battle scenes or how Rome's enemies look like will have to use other books.

This book has a brief history of the Roman Empire and also shows gear worn by early (BC) and later (300AD) Romans troops. However, the main focus of this book is showing Roman soldiers at the height of the Roman Empire: 1AD-200AD, or the traditional Legionary and Centurion with the red tunic and chrome plate body armor we often remember.

Author: Ross Cowan
Illustrator: Angus McBride
Osprey (Warrior)


What I like about htis book, is that it tell sabout the soldier's LIFE, not just battles or his kit. The puffy people will look down their noses at Osprey books, but I tend to like them for the reenactor. Sure, you can buy books with more detail, but to start, to get a feel for the book, you need this! Buy it, you won't go wrong.

Publisher's description: The period 31 BC-AD 43 saw the greatest expansion of the Roman Empire. In 31 BC Octavian defeated Antony at the battle of Actium and remodelled the semi-professional Roman army into a permanent force of 28 legions. Octavian became the first emperor (Augustus) and under his leadership the legions conquered northern Spain, all Europe south of the Danube line and Germany west of the Elbe. The legionaries exemplified the heroic culture of the Roman world and this title takes a behind-the-scenes look at their lives, training, weaponry and tactics, including the bloody massacre of the Teutoberg forest.

Author: Philip Matyszak
Thames & Hudson

A great book that puts the information there in an easy to understand, yet humerous manner. Is it deep? No. Is it supposed to be? No. This book DOES, however, impart some really good knowledge about the Legions and their soldiers. And it really is, kind of like a soldier's handbook.

Publisher's description: This carefully researched yet entertainingly unacademic book tells you how to join the Roman legions, the best places to serve, and how to keep your armor from getting rusty. Learn to march under the eagles of Rome, from training, campaigns, and battle to the glory of a Roman Triumph and retirement with a pension plan.

Every aspect of army life is discussed, from drill to diet, with handy tips on topics such as how to select the best boots, or how to avoid being skewered by enemy spears. 15 color, 25 b&w illustrations

Author: M. C. Bishop and J. C. Coulston
Oxbow Books

Rome's rise to empire is often said to have owed much to the efficiency and military skill of her armies and their technological superiority over barbarian enemies. But just how 'advanced' was Roman military equipment? What were its origins and how did it evolve? The authors of this book have gathered a wealth of evidence from all over the Roman Empire—excavated examples as well as pictorial and documentary sources—to present a picture of what range of equipment would be available at any given time, what it would look like and how it would function. They examine how certain pieces were adopted from Rome's enemies and adapted to particular conditions of warfare prevailing in different parts of the Empire. They also investigate in detail the technology of military equipment and the means by which it was produced, and discuss wider questions such as the status of the soldier in Roman society. Both the specially prepared illustrations and the text have been completely revised for the second edition of this detailed and authoritative handbook, bringing it up to date with the very latest research. It illustrates each element in the equipment of the Roman soldier, from his helmet to his boots, his insignia, his tools and his weapons. This book will appeal to archaeologists, ancient and military historians as well as the generally informed and inquisitive reader.

Author: Peter Connolly
Illustrator: Peter Connolly
Frontline Books

One of the "Standards" in studying the Greeks and Romans. Really great illustrations and even photos of the battlefields in the present day. Worth every penny!

Publisher's description: In this sumptuous guide to twelve centuries of military development, the late Peter Connolly combines a detailed account of the arms and armies of Greece and Rome with his superb full-color artwork. Making use of fresh archeological evidence and new material on the manufacture and use of the weapons of the period, the author presents an attractive and impressive volume that is both scholarly and beautifully presented with illustrations that are, quite rightly, recognized as being the best and most accurate representation of how the soldiers from these formidable military empires appeared.Greece and Rome at War lucidly demonstrates the face of battle in the ancient world. Covering the wars between the Greeks and the Persians and the epic contest between the Romans and their most capable opponent, Hannibal, as well as organization, tactics, armor and weapons, and much more, this excellent work brings the armies of Greece, Macedon and Rome vividly to life. This new revised edition contains a Preface by Adrian Goldsworthy.

Author: Theodore Ayrault Dodge
Da Capo Press

Hannibal is often considered the finest general the world has ever known. Setting out from Carthaginian-dominated Spain with a small army of select troops, he fought his way over the Pyrenees and crossed the Alps with elephants and a full baggage train. Descending into Italy, he destroyed the main Roman army at Lake Trasimeno and came close to conquering Rome itself. At Cannae, Hannibal's brilliant cavalry tactics enabled him to cut to pieces a reassembled Roman army, and his subsequent defeats over a fifteen-year stay in Italy were due more to lack of sufficient support from home than to any failings of generalship.T. A. Dodge's classic history, first published in 1891, is equally perceptive of Hannibal's military prowess and his visionary character. Dodge followed Hannibal's route from Carthage to Italy, paying particular attention to the famous crossing of the Alps, exploring every pass in order to determine Hannibal's route. In this book, he wrote an entire history of the art of war among these two mighty armies and included hundreds of invaluable illustrations. Hannibal remains unequaled as the most comprehensive and readable study of history's greatest general.

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