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Legionary: The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual

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Overview

An insider's guide: how to join the Roman legions, wield a gladius, storm cities, and conquer the world
Your emperor needs you for the Roman army! The year is AD 100 and Rome stands supreme and unconquerable from the desert sands of Mesopotamia to the misty highlands of Caledonia. Yet the might of Rome rests completely on the armored shoulders of the legionaries who hold back the barbarian hordes and push forward the frontiers of empire.
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Legionary: The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual

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Overview

An insider's guide: how to join the Roman legions, wield a gladius, storm cities, and conquer the world
Your emperor needs you for the Roman army! The year is AD 100 and Rome stands supreme and unconquerable from the desert sands of Mesopotamia to the misty highlands of Caledonia. Yet the might of Rome rests completely on the armored shoulders of the legionaries who hold back the barbarian hordes and push forward the frontiers of empire.
This carefully researched yet entertainingly nonacademic 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. Combining the latest archaeological discoveries with the written records of those who actually saw the Roman legions in action, this book provides a vivid picture of what it meant to be a Roman legionary.
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Editorial Reviews

New York Military Affairs Symposium
“A very useful introduction to military practice in the late First Century.”
Boston Sunday Globe
“A fascinating little handbook of serious scholarship and irrepressible wit, Legionary vividly illuminates military life in ancient Rome.”
School Library Journal
Adult/High School—Written as if it were a guidebook for the young recruit about to join the Roman legions in A.D.100, as well as for the seasoned legionary, this highly informative and readable volume lays out in detail the high honor and great risk of defending Rome as a foot soldier. Readers learn who was allowed to join the legions and under what circumstances; how one was selected by the legion of one's choice (there were 28); how they were structured; how a kit was kept tidy and a sword sharp; how much walking and how much digging were expected (a lot of both); how one fought and conquered various enemies, from Berbers to Picts to Parthians; how the system of ranks worked (not in the favor of those looking for career advancement); how to unload (finally!) a pilum; how to storm a city; how to plan for and enjoy life as a pensioner (some did make it); and much more. The author knows his subject thoroughly and presents it with flare, a touch of humor, and authority. The many illustrations, including 16 color plates, add measurably to the enjoyment of the book. Also helpful are several sidebars, quotes from writers of the Roman era, a glossary, and an index. For anyone who has ever wondered what it was like to march in the armies of Augustus and Caesar and Trajan, Legionary will more than satisfy.—Robert Saunderson, formerly at Berkeley Public Library, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500251515
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 6/29/2009
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 210,192
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Matyszak has a doctorate in Roman history from St. John’s College, Oxford. His books include Legionary, Gladiator, Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day, Ancient Athens on 5 Drachmas a Day, The Classical Compendium,
Chronicle of the
Roman Republic,
and The Greek and Roman Myths. He lives in
British Columbia, Canada.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

4 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2013

    A well written and easy to read book. Well suited to anyone look

    A well written and easy to read book. Well suited to anyone looking for a book to get them interested in Roman history.  The lack of any citations, notes, or bibliography left me questioning the author's sources for his claims on several occasions. I wish he had wrote this more in line with his other book, Rome on five Denarii a Day. Guiding us, the new recruits into the army as if we had just joined and revealing this new life to us. I dock it stars solely for this disappointment and the lack of documentation on his work, not for the quality of his writing.

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  • Posted January 11, 2012

    Come for the history, stay for the humor!

    I had read this book for a project in my Latin class. At first sight, its lengthy size was rather daunting. It seemed dull and unimaginative while it really was interesting and vibrant. The Humor doesn't hurt, either.
    -informational
    -interesting
    -humorous
    I would highly recommend this to any student of history, scholar of Latin, and person harboring the interest of the militant strategies of old.

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  • Posted May 2, 2011

    Written by a scholar with a sense of humor.

    Well organized, insightfully presented with a keen eye for the common soldier's plight, Dr Matyszak's wonderful little hardbound manual is a preferred substitute for reams of other source material.
    I loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    A good historical overview of the Roman soldier of late Republic and early Empire but done in the style of modern manuals for prospective soldiers, which piques interest.

    Seems to be very well written and historically accurate. Good illustrations. A very readable style. Very useful for quick and dirty lesson on the Roman Legionary. For those who are into this period, very good. It does not pretend to be a history of Rome or a political history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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