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Rome's Greatest Defeat (NF) by Adrian Murdoch

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Rome's Greatest Defeat (NF) by Adrian Murdoch

Post by parthianbow » Fri February 7th, 2014, 4:47 pm

If you're interested in the Varian/Kalkriese disaster in AD/CE 9, you need to buy this fine textbook by Adrian Murdoch. Firstly, there aren't many texts out there on this subject, which is surprising, given that it was one of the greatest defeats that Rome ever suffered. Secondly, the ones that are around aren't as well written or presented as this volume. This book is firmly based on research, both of the ancient texts and the archaeological finds in Germany, from the sites of forts to the reputed site of the battle, which is in a little place called Kalkriese, some distance east of the Rhine.

One of the other reviews on Amazon complains that there's not much in this text about the battle itself. That comment reflects the ignorance of the reviewer more than anything else. Like so many events from Roman times, very little material survives about the Kalkriese disaster. If Murdoch had confined himself to that, the book would be very short indeed. Readers would then also miss out on the background to the battle - Rome's campaigns into Germany for the preceding 20 years or so, and descriptions of the German tribes, of Arminius and Varus. After the story of the battle, Murdoch delves into its aftermath, and the effects that the clash had on later German history.

If you were to buy two texts on this famous battle, I would go for this book and one other - a magazine, actually, the 2009 Ancient Warfare special - The Varian Disaster. Buy it at karwansaraypublishers dot com

I give this great textbook five solid stars out of five.
Ben Kane
Bestselling author of Roman military fiction.
Spartacus - UK release 19 Jan. 2012. US release June 2012.

Twitter: @benkaneauthor

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