Book Review: The Roman War Machine


by John Peddie

Conshohocken, PA: Combined Publishing, 1996. xiv, 169pp. Illus, maps, tables, diagr, append., notes, bibliog, index. $16.95 paper. ISBN:0938289853

A look at the organization, training, logistical, and operational structure of the the Roman armed forces during the late Republic and Early Empire. There is a great deal of useful material here, such as how the Romans seem to have conducted an "amphibious assault" and the frequency that each type of warship (quinqueremes, biremes, liburinians, etc.) was found in the Roman fleets. The author relies heavily on ancient sources, though it is unclear what editions he is using and, moreover, seems not to understands the nature of ancient source material. This causes some difficulties (e.g., the Notitia Dignitatum is hardly a useful source for the late Republic, nor is Vegetius considered very reliable). More extensive use of secondary materials that are critical of the sources would have been advised.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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