Armies of the Late Roman Empire AD 284 to 476 by Gabriele Esposito – Review

The other recent addition to the bookcase at home (memo to self, when moving next year, build bigger book shelves), is Gabriele Esposito’s Armies of the Late Roman Empire AD 284 to 476. As with the Armies of the Hellenistic States 323 BC to AD, this covers the history, organization and equipment of the Late Roman Empire. This work was also published by Pen & Sword Military (ISBN: 9781526730374
and published on 12 December 2018) is a little longer than his Hellenistic book, running to 178 pages.

Esposito looks at the Late Roman Army over the period of its decline and fall with 476 being the watershed year that officially notes the end of the Western Roman Empire at least. This period is from the time of the accession of Diocletian in 284 C.E. to emperor through to the final defeat and then deposing Romulus Augustulus on 4 September 476 by Odoacer and his proclamation of being the ruler of Italy.

Throughout that period Rome faced many barbarian invasions, the various Goth tribes being particularly persistent. Throughout this period we invasions from the Sassanians in the east, Goths in the north followed by Visigoths, Vandals, Alans, Huns, Ostrogoths not to mention the all too frequents bouts between various Imperial contenders, seeing Romans plus allies squaring off against Romans plus allies.

Esposito discusses the Roman military machine and contends that it was an effective force until the last few years of the Western Empire. Throughout the book, the equipment and weapons of the troops are described, using various Re-eactors for the photographic illustrations as well as the reconstructed equipment. The groups used are Cohors V Baetica VexillatioCohors Prima GallicaContubernium PrimumFectienses Seniores Felices Seniores and; Septimani Seniores.

The organization and structure is also covered with charts of the high command as well a covering the different kinds of troops, such as the:

  • comitatenses (field armies)
  • limitanei (frontier units)
  • foederati (allied soldiers)
  • bucellarii (mercenaries)
  • scholae palatinae (mounted bodyguards)
  • protectores (personal guards) and so on

Apart from the photographs of various reenactors in uniform and bearing arms of the period, the book also includes the shield devices from the Notitia Dignitatum.

Apart from the Acknowledgements, Introduction and a fine Chronology, the book contains the following chapters:

  1. The Roman Army of the Principate
  2. The Transformation of the Third Century
  3. The Great Reforms of Diocletian and Constantine
  4. Clothing, Equipment and Weaponry

This is then rounded out with some Appendixes covering the Roman Army of the Notitia Dignitatum; Equipment and Weapons of the Late Roman Army; Bibliography and Index.

As with Gabriele Esposito’s other books, I really enjoy the way he has illustrated the arms, armour, dress and organization of the subject, so much so that I am looking forward to his next book, Armies of Celtic Europe 700 BC to AD 106. I highly recommend Armies of the Late Roman Empire AD 284 to 476 to any with an interest in this period.

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Thomo gets Dumped

This happened in Maui a few years ago. We were there attending a friend’s wedding and decided to head to the beach … where I learnt a new respect for the Hawaiian shorebreak. Interestingly, this video was also blocked by YouTube for breaching community standards. Took about two weeks to get it back up again. I am not sure whether to be annoyed or proud 🙂

Irsk Festuke – 1997 or 1998

It was St Patrick’s Day,  many  years  ago. A pub in Trondheim, Dirty Nelly’s (since gone) was advertising their Irsk festuke (or Irish party week).

I had been to Dirty Nelly’s St Patrick’s party the year before. Truth be known, I had been to Dirty Nelly’s pretty much every Friday and Saturday night for nigh on three years – some habits are difficult to break.

Anyway, this was the advertisement in the local press advertising the event. Yours truly is included in the advertisement … see if you can see Thomo the Lost!

Life in the Philippines – Ingat!

Leave the office to go home or from having dinner with local friends and you will almost always hear “ingat” or “ingat ikaw”. It is pronounced, as near as I can hear, as “ing-at”. Often your friends and colleagues will translate that to English, knowing how terrible your Tagalog is. In English you will hear “take care”.

“Ingat” literally means take care or be cautious and is the usual farewell between folks here. So, when a Filipino is leaving the office, give them a friendly “ingat”!

Success or two!

So, I had only just posted that I’ve got a spare Pikeman … or two! and what should turn up at Makati Central Post Office but a book! And what a book.

This is Volume 1, covering all our favourite diadochi, like Ptolemy, Antigonus, Seleucus and Lysimachus, to name but a few. Mithridates of Pontus even rates a mention.

Is this the start of a new project?

 

Life in the Philippines – Ano!

“Ano”! The universal Tagalog word, often heard in Taglish sentences as well, sentences such as, “You are so ano!” This means, “you are so ‘what is the word I am looking for?'” So ano could mean “cute”, “terrible”, “lovely”, “horrible” etc. Sometimes it could mean all of the preceding.

So, it is not unusual to hear someone say, “See how you are? You’re so ano!”

I’ve got a spare Pikeman … or two!

The re-purposed Romans … almost completed the basing. Figures by Baccus 6mm

I have been re-purposing some 6mm figures recently and had re-based and am in the process of decorating the bases of some Early Imperial Romans. I purchased them a few years ago to base for Polemos’ SPQR Ancients. I decided to move off SPQR Ancients and return to DBA and/or Basic Impetus for my Ancient Wargaming, partly on the basis of space. When I purchased the Romans, I also purchased Numidians and a Pontic Army. The Numidians have been hacked around providing filler for the some other forces I have and I had clean forgotten about the Pontic army.

I rediscovered those figures the other day when looking for some decals in a little accessed box. Goodness I have a few. In fact, the following (all Baccus 6mm):

  • 144 x Thureophoroi
  • 18 x Skythian Light Horse
  • 48 x Foot Archers
  • 6 x Generals
  • 18 x Tarantine (??) Cavalry
  • 18 x Cataphracts
  • 144 x Imitation Legionaries
  • 144 Phalangites with no Sarissa
  • 192 Pikemen (pikes forward and raised)
  • 192 Pikeman (pikes raised)
  • 16 x lights, chariot crew, don’t know what
Bags of 6mm successor figures, pikes, imitation legionnaires and the like – the Pontic Army in 6mm

Quite a mountain of figures so … a re-purposing is in order. I can make a Mithradatic Pontic force (DBA Book II/48) from this bunch and will likely have enough figures left over to build another DBA army, maybe of Successors. I will need to add a couple of things though:

  • Scythed Chariot (maybe 2)
  • some slingers
  • some Javelinmen (maybe I can get some leftovers from the Erik Bloodaxe project)
  • some Companions  (for guard)

Of course this will naturally segue into more forces as the enemies need to be built as well and Pontus managed to acquire quite a few over time:

  • Skythian
  • Kappadokian
  • Bithynian
  • Sarmatian
  • Galatian
  • Parthian
  • Marian Romans (although I can substitute the Camillan (Polybian) or Early Imperial Romans for these.

I am really enjoying the ancient period again and I can see my lead pile increasing in the near futures again!

Life in the Philippines – and we wonder about the traffic

When is a one way street not one way?

Why on a Sunday of course.

These signs are seen all over Makati City. Mind you, I can’t help but think, if the one way streets work so well keeping the traffic moving, why would you bother to go back to two ways on a Sunday?

And worse, two weeks ago this one way street went one way the other way!

Microsoft … why do you think I am Chinese

Whenever my Office 365 subscription is due for renewal, I get the following:

Ian 您好:
感謝您訂閱 Office 365 Home。 歡迎您加入。我們即將針對您的訂閱收取下一期的定期款項。 在 2019年11月12日,我們會向您的 MasterCard **XXXX 收取 ₱4,699.00 的費用。

除非您在 2019年11月12日 的至少兩天前取消訂閱,否則您的訂閱將持續 1 年。

若要取消或進行其他變更,請登入您的 Microsoft 帳戶以管理您的訂閱。

And yes, Microsoft “Contact Us” was as useless as various cow appendages to bulls. Seriously Microsoft – your AI is hopeless and you promised me a human volunteer to help – which I was never connected on.

I guess I will just have to take Chinese lessons … was that Cantonese or Mandarin?

Life in the Philippines – Aray!

Ouch!

No, really, “ouch”. In the Philippines, stub your toe or be pinched by someone and you would say “aray”. Close as I can make it, you would pronounce it like “a-rye”.

So, be bumped by someone and say “aray”, then hear them respond with “ay sorry” 🙂