Author Topic: Late Roman Book List  (Read 8930 times)

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Valentinian Victor

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Late Roman Book List
« on: August 16, 2008, 11:41:51 AM »
I am sure all of us have at one time or another experienced the frustration of attempting to find information and books that cover our particular ancient armies and nations of interest.
To this end I thought I would share the book list I have compiled from my own collection that covers a wide range of topic concerning the Later Roman Empire.
Please note that the comments made about the books are purely mine and your own thoughts and comments may differ.

Martijn Nicasie (1998)- 'Twilight of Empire: The Roman army from the reign of Diocletian until the battle of Adrianople'-
Hugh Elton (2004)- 'Warfare in Roman Europe, AD 350-425'
Richard Cromwell (1998)- 'The Rise and Decline of the Late Roman Field Army'
Phil Barker (1981)- 'The Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome'
John Peddie (1997)- 'The Roman War Machine'
Pat Southern & Karen R. Dixon (2000)- 'The Late Roman Army'
Benjamin Isaac (2004)- 'The Limits of Empire- The Roman Army in the East'

Of the above books 'Twilight of Empire' and 'Warfare in Roman Europe' are absolute essentials. To be honest if you buy 'Twilight of Empire' then there is no need to waste your money on Cromwell's over-priced and under researched book. Crowell's only saving grace in my eyes is that he agreed that the Roman cavalry during this period were prone to brittleness. If you have more money than sense, or can find a cheap copy as I did, then by all means purchase Cromwell's book, otherwise just get 'Twilight of Empire'. A word of caution here about 'The Late Roman Army'. Whilst it contains much that is of interest, it also contains a number of errors and mistakes, some of them quite glaring. Take a look near the beginning under the table of Emperor's for example. Valens is quoted as dying from a natural death. I don't know about you, but I thought that being shot by an arrow then being burned alive does not equate to a natural death! The table is also wrong as he was Emperor of the East, therefore both he and Valentinian should appear under the table of the Divided Empire. Peddies book is a good source book on all aspects of a Roman army, from supplies, baggage, to building field and permanent fortifications. Phil Barker's book is essential for history buffs and wargamer's alike. Full of illustrations, will keep figure painters amused for hours!


Herwig Wolfram (1990)- 'The History of the Goths'
Peter Heather (2007)- 'The Goths (The Peoples of Europe)'
Peter Heather (1991)-  'Goths and Romans, 332-489'
Michael Kulikowski (2007)- 'Rome?s Gothic Wars: From the Third Century to Alaric'
Thomas S. Burns (1995)- 'Barbarians within the Gates of Rome: Study of Roman Military Policy and the Barbarians, 375-425 AD'
Alessandro Barbero (2007)- 'The Day of the Barbarians: The Battle that led to the fall of the Roman Empire'
John F. Drinkwarter (2007)- 'The Alamanni and Rome 213-496 (Caracalla to Clovis)'
Beate Dignas & Englebert Winter (2007)- 'Rome and Persia in Late Antiquity: Neighbours and Rivals'
Michael H. Dodgeon & Samuel N.C. Lieu (2003)- 'The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (AD 226-363)'
Geoffrey Greatrex & Samuel N.C. Lieu (2002)- 'The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (AD 363-628)'

All of the above books I would consider worthy of being in the library of anyone interested in the Late Roman Empire and those who it fought against. Barbero's book is good for references, but he relies too much on the Osprey 'Adrianople' book for information about that battle and falls into the trap of supporting the author of the above books belief that the Goths had wagon barricades, purely because that author does not believe that the wagon laager could be circular due to the number of wagon's he surmises must have been present. These barricades are not mentioned by any ancient author.


A.H.M. Jones (1973 1st reprint)- 'The Later Roman Empire 284-602: A Social, Economic and Administrative Survey'
Averil Cameron (1993)-'The Later Roman Empire'
John Mathews (2008)- 'The Roman Empire of Ammianus'

There are a vast number of books out there dealing with the Later Roman Empire. I chose these three in particular as they cover all the bases as far as I am concerned. Jones work is still widely available in a 1986 reprint. Matthews has been slated for his books over-indulgence. However, the man's passion for Ammianus and the age he lived in is totally forgivable in my opinion.


Peter Heather (2006)- 'The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History'
Arthur Ferrill (1990)- 'The Fall of the Roman Empire: The Military Explanation'
Michael Grant (2003)- 'The Fall of the Roman Empire'
Bryan Ward-Perkins (2005)- 'The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization'

Again, there are a vast amount of books that deal with the fall of the Roman Empire. The ones above are thought to be essential reading.
Heather, Ferrill and Ward-Perkins all argue that it was the 'barbarians' who led to the direct downfall of the Roman Empire. Grant takes a different view, believing that social factors led to the fall.


Ammianus Marcellinus- 'Res Gestae' (Various translations are widely available)
Anonymous- 'De Rebus Bellicis' (Translated by E. A. Thompson 1952)
Jordanes- 'The Origin and Deeds of the Goths' (Translated by Charles C. Mierow (1908)
Julian- 'The Works of Julian the Emperor' (Various translations, some of which can be found online for free)
Libanius- 'Oratitions' 'Letters' etc (Various translations are available, some of which are online for free)
Paulus Orosius- 'The Seven Books of History Against the Pagans' (Translated by Roy J.Deferrai)
Vegetius- 'The military institutions of the Romans' (Various translations, can be found online for free)
Zosimos 'Historia Nova' (Various translations, can be found online for free)

All of these translations are essential for those who want to read the history directly from those who were there to either witness it, or were living contemporary with the age they are describing.

Well there you have it, your be broke buying all that lot, but your have some of the best books on the Later Roman Empire to show for it!
« Last Edit: September 01, 2008, 06:43:03 PM by Valentinian Victor »