Roman Military Disasters: Dark Days and Lost Legions

Roman Military Disasters: Dark Days and Lost Legions

by Paul Chrystal
Roman Military Disasters: Dark Days and Lost Legions

Roman Military Disasters: Dark Days and Lost Legions

by Paul Chrystal


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There is a tendency when dealing with world superpowers to focus on their successes. After all, these are what made them superpowers in the first place. However, reverses and disasters suffered on the way to preeminence are equally significant. The experience of ancient Rome is no different. This book is the first to examine the paradoxical role lost battles and defeat played in the success of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.

Over some 1200 years, the Romans proved adept at learning from military disaster and this was key to their eventual success and hegemony. Roman Military Disasters covers the most pivotal and decisive defeats, from the Celtic invasion of 390 BC to Alaric’s sack of Rome in AD 410. Paul Chrystal details the politics and strategies leading to each conflict, how and why the Romans were defeated, the tactics employed, the generals and the casualties. However, the unique and crucial element of the book is its focus on the aftermath and consequences of defeat and how the lessons learned enabled the Romans, usually, to bounce back and win.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781473823570
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 02/20/2016
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,055,902
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Paul Chrystal is the author of some seventy books published over the last decade, including recent publications such as Wars and Battles of the Roman Republic, Roman Military Disasters and Women and War in Ancient Greece and Rome. He is a regular contributor to history magazines, local and national newspapers and has appeared on BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and on BBC local radio throughout Yorkshire and in Teesside and Manchester. He writes extensively for several Pen & Sword military history series including ‘Cold War 1945–1991’, ‘A History of Terror’ and ‘Military Legacy’ (of British cities).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

List of Plates x

List of Diagrams xi

List of Maps xii

Timeline xx

Introduction xxiv

Part 1 The Republic

Chapter 1 Rome's Peninsular Wars 3

Chapter 2 The Roman War Machine 16

Chapter 3 The Sources 31

Chapter 4 The Fourth Century: the Gallic Invasion and the Samnite Wars 35

Chapter 5 The Third Century: the Wars with Pyrrhus, the Punic Wars and the Gallic Invasion 47

Chapter 6 The Second Century: the Spanish Wars, Viriathus and the Invasion of the Northmen 81

Chapter 7 The First Century: the Social War, Spartacus, Mithridates, Crassus, the Parthians and the Gauls 90

Chapter 8 'Doom Monster' - Cleopatra VII 132

Part 2 The Empire

Chapter 9 The Early Empire: Clades Lolliana 16 BC, the Teutohurg Forest AD 9 153

Chapter 10 Boudica's Revolt AD 60 165

Chapter 11 Beth-Horon AD 66 and the Jewish War AD 68 178

Chapter 12 Carnuntum AD 170; the Crisis of the Third Century - Abritus AD 251, Edessa AD 260 192

Chapter 13 The Theban Legion Massacre AD 286 199

Chapter 14 Adrianople AD 378 204

Chapter 15 Alaric's Sack of Rome AD 410 216

Epilogue 223

Appendix 1 Typical Cursus Honorum in the Second Century BC 224

Appendix 2 Roman Assemblies 225

Appendix 3 The Seven Kings of Rome 226

Appendix 4 Some Carthaginian Generals 227

Appendix 5 Greek and Roman Authors 230

Appendix 6 Glossary of Greek and Latin Terms 238

Notes 245

Bibliography 260

Index of Battles, Sieges and Wars 303

General Index 305

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