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Victory will establish Rome as the pre-eminent power in the ancient world. But in northern Greece, Philip V of Macedon is determined to restore Alexander the Great's kingdom to its former glory. Julius Caesar wrote his exciting Commentaries during some of the most grueling campaigns ever undertaken by a Roman army. The Gallic Wars and The Civil Wars constitute the greatest series of military dispatches ever written. As literature, they are representative of the finest expressions of Latin prose in its "golden" age, a benchmark of elegant style and masculine brevity imitated by young schoolboys for centuries.
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For fans of Victor Davis Hanson, Donald Kagan, and Barry Strauss comes a rich, sweeping account of the most imitatedand viciousbattle in history. Five long years have passed since the annihilation of three Roman legions in the wilds of Germania. Varus, the general who led the ill-fated army, is long dead, and the bones of his 15, legionaries moulder in the forests.
But not all the Romans were slain in the ambush. Centurion Tullus, a seasoned veteran, survived, and now he lives for revenge upon the tribal chieftain Arminius, who masterminded the ambush. Tullus will stop at nothing to kill his bitterest enemy or to recover his legion's lost Eagle. Tracing the extraordinary trajectory of Julius Caesar's life, Adrian Goldsworthy covers not only the great Roman emperor's accomplishments as charismatic orator, conquering general, and powerful dictator but also lesser-known chapters.
Ultimately, Goldsworthy realizes the full complexity of Caesar's character and shows why his political and military leadership continues to resonate some 2, years later. Based on real historical events. On the opposite side of the river, German tribes are resentful of the harsh taxes about to be imposed upon them.
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Suspicious that there might be unrest, Tullus knows that his men's survival will be determined not just by their training and discipline, but by his leadership. Julius Caesar was nothing if not bold. When, in the wake of his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus his victorious legions refused to march another step under his command, he pursued his fleeing rival into Egypt with an impossibly small force of Gallic and German cavalry, raw Italian recruits, and nine hundred Spanish prisoners of war - tough veterans of Pompey's Sixth Legion.
Cleopatra's Kidnappers tells the epic saga of Caesar's adventures in Egypt through the eyes of these captured, but never defeated, legionaries. Pax Romana examines how the Romans came to control so much of the world and asks whether traditionally favorable images of the Roman peace are true.
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Goldsworthy vividly recounts the rebellions of the conquered and examines why they broke out, why most failed, and how they became exceedingly rare. He reveals that hostility was just one reaction to the arrival of Rome and that from the outset, conquered peoples collaborated, formed alliances, and joined invaders, causing resistance movements to fade away. In the fifth century BC, a global superpower was determined to bring truth and order to what it regarded as two terrorist states.
The superpower was Persia, incomparably rich in ambition, gold, and men. The terrorist states were Athens and Sparta, eccentric cities in a poor and mountainous backwater: Greece. The story of how their citizens took on the Great King of Persia, and thereby saved not only themselves, but Western civilization as well, is as heart-stopping and fateful as any episode in history.
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From penetrating insights into the mind of history's greatest general to a grunt's-eye view of the gruesome realities of war in the Classical Age, this unique and riveting true account sets a new standard of excellence and detail to which all authors of ancient military history will now aspire. Fehrenbach, author of Lone Star. I'm a phase reader. Typically, something will spark my interest in a particular historical person or period, and I'll read several books on the topic before some other spark leads me elsewhere.
In a classical history phase, I listened to "Caesar's Legion" in its entirety, without my interest waning.
The details of everyday life in a Roman legion, its recruitment, training, chores, etc. I think it can be more difficult sorting out some of the similar sounding names and places of the classical period without the visual cues of print, but I don't mind not having an exact grasp of incidental geography northern Egypt or western Armenia is good enough or an assured understanding of each and every proconsul and tribune of the period. Purists may be put off by a lot of the speculative description the author employs--"Pompous Hubris would have jumped to his feet and rushed to wall for a view of the enemy's approach, barking out a string of orders as he ran"--but he rarely goes beyond this sort of likely human behavior.
The narration, like a lot of others I hear, seems like it may be problematic at first; but as usual for me, anyway , after 10 minutes, or so, it becomes unobtrusive This is not a dense, scholarly tome.
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A general reader, with an interest in the period, or one just passing through the epoch, should enjoy it quite a bit. This is the kind of historic story telling I adore. Julius Caesar was an incredible warrior and leader of men. But he may well have laid the ground work for the western world we now live in when he put together 10th Legion circa 60 BC from raw recruits in the Roman territory of Spain and birthed an an entity that would shaped western history for nearly years into the future.
The the details of the troop movements and detailed information on what it took to form a legion of fighting man into a coherent force fleshed out the realities of the Roman age. For me it was the personal stories of soldiers that made up the 10th Legion that really what sets this work apart from others. In fact, I was shocked that the 10th eventually found itself on the opposing side of the from Caesar's nephew Octavius and under the leadership of Mark Anthony at Actium. I do wish more detail was provided on Caesar's battle for Alexandria but true to the goal of the work the 10th Legion was not involved in the struggle in Egypt.
Long after the time of Caesar at the end of the Julian dynasty upon the death of Nero, the role played by the 10th Legion in the rise of the Flavian rulers of Rome and the history of the Jewish revolts proved fascinating. Excellent reading of the work. Essentially, this book is the military history of the Roman empire told through the exploits and history of the 10th Legion.
The book does not really concern itself with the details of individual life in the Roman military, as much as it concentrates on battles and key events where the legion went, where they were placed on the battleline, which unit broke first , with almost half of the book devoted to the Legion's history under Julius Ceaser. Given the high level of detail, it is remarkably well-narrated and engaging, but it is difficult to imagine that someone uninterested in the subject will want to listen to the whole thing, since the strategies and methods of many of the battles is similar the 10th was usually on the right flank, etc.
In short -- great as Roman military history, very good for people interested in the history of the Roman world, and only okay for people interested in general history.
I've listened to just about all of the audio books I could find that pertain to ancient Rome and I think this one could have been the best one of them all. If interested in this time period, I'd highly recommend listening to this title. Although I have little interest in military history, I thoroughly enjoyed Caesar's Legion and was amazed at the detail and wealth of knowledge about this time in history that is available, and that the author made use of to write this book.
A wonderful storyteller, Dando-Collins gives us a vivid and compelling portrait of Julius Caesar, the man, the military leader, and the legions he fashioned. Although much of the book is devoted to Julius Caesar, several chapters continue the story of the Roman Legions, the 10th in particular, long past his assassination. Readers with a passion of ancient military history will likely appreciate the book more than I did; however, anyone with an interest in Roman history should find great enjoyment in the book.
Stuart Langton does a fine job of narration. All in all, a great read! This book does a good job of balancing the big events with the little details that the historical record provides, such as the side-plot involving the life of Crastinus. Fascinating material; deadly narration. I would have been better served to have read a hardcopy version of this book. The material suits itself well to an index and jumping back to prior battles, legions, locations and individuals.
If you truly love history, this may be one of those times that you want to read the book rather than listen to it.