Ultimately though, this book tried to be TOO popular. It attempted what might be called "speculative history" whereby Dando-Collins would frequently state what WOULD have happened in a given situation. Be it a conversation between centurions around a campfire or how legionnaires would have reacted to an inspiring speech or what the speech WOULD have included--so it's double levels of speculation.
While such 'interpretations' might be fairly accurate, it was unecessary and cheap ahnd detracted from the work. Apr 15, Liam Lusk rated it it was amazing. I loved this book. Having read many books over the years about Roman history I found Stephen Dando-Collins' interpretation about the tenth legion to be both exciting and detailed. If you think history is boring then this book will change your mind. Aug 23, Chris Faulkner rated it it was amazing. Absolutely fantastic read on the day-to-day of the average Roman legionnaire. Incredibly detailed look at how they were raised, trained, paid and eventually retired.
Aug 16, Tanya rated it liked it Shelves: audiobook , historical. Stephen Dando-Collins knows his stuff!
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A little long for me, but that could be because I listened to the audiobook, and the narration was a little dry for a twelve hour listen. An extensive and entertaining historical text that centers around military combat, as well as the background, and personas of some of the major political players of ancient Rome, starting with Julius Caesar. Sep 04, Walt O'Hara rated it liked it Shelves: history. Already immersed in a rivalry with Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus aka Pompey the Great , it wasn't enough for him to inherit Legions 7,8, and 9 from Pompey-- he wanted a unit that would bear his own mark and be loyal to him.
Dando-Collins traces the story of the Legions exploits, from the early campaigns in modern-day Portugal, to the Gallic Wars, to the Civil Wars, the assassination of Julius Caesar and its aftermath, and inclusion into the new Imperial Army of Augustus and later Emperors of Rome. Dando-Collins's work is largely unknown to me; I suspect he got most of the facts right based on the leading historians of the day that have come down to us. His writing style is adventuresome and dramatic, which fits well with his body of work, which appear to be mostly light historical books written for a young adult audience.
I enjoyed Mr.
Dando-Collins' specific focus on individual military units. Obviously the focus is on the Legio X Equestris, but there are many other fellow travelling Legions in the book that reappear in the narrative constantly. The Legions raised in Hispania Pompey's , Caesar's 10 and later units appear to have been highly prized by Roman military commanders and deserving of their reputations of ferocity, boldness and toughness. Dando-Collins has written books on other Roman military units Nero's 14th Legion, Caesar's Sixth Legion, and the Third Gallica , which, if they follow the pattern of this book, I'd certainly be interested in reading.
I certainly enjoy the author's style-- it's chatty, focuses on the human moments that we can all relate to, and he does not shy away from the unpleasant topics. Directly after the epic Battle of Pharsala, where Caesar defeated Pompey, the much valued Spanish Legions all lapsed into mutiny over pay, retirement and the non-payment of bonuses, causing the entire Caesarian army to grow mutinous by their example.
This is a fact that Caesar himself never mentions in his history books. There's a lot of interesting detail in Caesar's Legion; not just about the wide scope of history but also about the day to day life of a common Roman soldier. I enjoyed it-- it's certainly not on the level of, say, Adrian Goldsworthy, but I'd read this author again. Dec 02, Andrew rated it really liked it. In Caesar's Legion Stephen Dando-Collins provides readers an account of the most famous Roman legion, the Tenth, that both novices and enthusiasts of Roman history can enjoy.
Dando-Collins writes in his introduction that thirty years of research went into this book. The wealth of information presented in the narrative and several appendices makes it show. The book also relies primarily on a wealth of classical sources Polybius, Tacitus, Plutarch, etc.
There is also a series of maps at the beginning of the book for readers to reference as they progress through the narrative. Despite the wealth of information, Caesar's Legion doesn't get bogged down in the details. The prose is easy to read, and pleasant, and the chapters are broken up into easily digestible lengths. Dando-Collins also usually uses modern place names and modern ranks in place of Roman ones.
This is both a strength and a weakness of the book. Modern terms are easier for the general reader to follow, but if you're interested in further classical reading, or you've already done some, it's not very helpful, since most works use the Roman titles and place names. The maps also could have been better, in a couple of ways. While it's nice that there are several maps included at the start of the book, they would aid the reader better if they were inserted in relevant parts of the narrative instead.
The maps are also all large scale, regional maps, so there isn't much detail.
There are no battle maps to help the reader trace the course of the many battles related in the narrative. Despite a couple of weak spots, Caesar's Legion is an enjoyable, accessible book that both general readers and Rome enthusiasts should enjoy. May 06, Gerry Germond rated it it was ok.
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That reads like a novel. While there is an atlas-like section of maps at the start of the book, there are no illustrations tracing operations, such as at Dyrrachium and Philippi. If not for Classical scholars, the book may be enjoyed by readers interested in ancient military history. Mar 31, Fred rated it liked it Shelves: military-history , history , ancient-history , rome.
Not a bad book to ring in the new year. It wasn't what I had hoped in some ways, thus the 3 star rating. This was a well written book that made for an easy read and I would actually say that if someone were looking for a book on Caesar or Rome in general that this wouldn't be a bad one to have. DC did a decent job of tying everything back around to the 10th Legion somehow. Which brings me to what I didn't like about this book. The title is fairly misleading. DC would talk for twenty or thirty pages about Caesar and Mark Antony and Germanic tribes and all the things covered in other books and then on the final page drop some reference like "oh, and the 10th was there of course and we know this because blah.
I already have his book on Nero's legion so I hope that one is a little more informative about the legion itself rather than events in the world at large. Feb 24, Tony Daniel rated it it was ok Shelves: history. Portrait of a Centuries-long Roman Institution. There's not anything new here, but Dando-Collins brings together all the classic authors Suetonius, Tacitus, Julius Caesar himself, etc.
We get an excellent storyteller's survey of the rise of Julius Caesar and the creation of the 10th Legion "Caesar's Legion" of the title in Spain. The book loses steam a bit after the 10th drops from Caesar's favor after Pharsala Portrait of a Centuries-long Roman Institution. The book loses steam a bit after the 10th drops from Caesar's favor after Pharsala the battle that won the Roman Civil War for Caesar , yet remains interesting enough through the death of Pompey in Egypt.
Then there's a dry stretch for a couple hundred years until we get to the Romans in 2nd century Israel, and a rousing finale with the fall of Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple by the Legions, and the scattering of the Jews. It's all great stuff, and will provide a excellent backgrounder for those who want to go on and read or listen to the classic era historians. As an avid history fanatic, I can wholeheartedly recommend this book. Caeser's Legion follows Julius Caeser's famous to history fans Legio X on a journey from its creation in Iberia to the bloody hills of Jerusalem and Masada.
While Collins can seem overzealous in this account, as a fellow fan of history I can fully understand his enthusiasm. He manages to give a compelling, easy to follow account of the Legion's life and battles that is accessible and interesting to people mildly interested i As an avid history fanatic, I can wholeheartedly recommend this book.
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He manages to give a compelling, easy to follow account of the Legion's life and battles that is accessible and interesting to people mildly interested in Roman history. I believe Collin's certainly could have delved far deeper into the Legion's history - possibly adding another or so pages - but I find the finished project to be very enjoyable, nonetheless. Overall, Collin's brings foreword a 'boring' history story and gives it enough adventurous flair to appeal to those only mildly interested in the subject matter.
Jan 06, Sang Vo rated it really liked it.
The author stats that it took about 3 decades to do research for this book. The time span for this book is about years spanning from the days of Julius Caesar to the second Jewish rebellion in the Roman Empire. The book is about the days of the tenth legion and more 7th, 8th, 9th. The historical information is well presented with descriptions of the many battles and the famous conquerors themselves. The book tells about the legion enlistment, days as a legionnaire, and their retirement mor The author stats that it took about 3 decades to do research for this book.
The book tells about the legion enlistment, days as a legionnaire, and their retirement more than any other books i have read then again i have not read that much on the topic. If anyone is interested in Roman History and Military, than this book is great. Apr 04, Gene rated it really liked it.
Fun read, the scope of the book is definitely broader than just the martial history of the eponymous military unit: the author delves deep into the some of the most fascinating portions of Roman late Republic and early Imperial history, mostly focusing on the logistic, tactical, and political angles. My only complain is the overwhelming dedication to historical accuracy when it comes to troop disposition and order of battle.
I appreciate the effort, and I usually love this sort of stuff, but for Fun read, the scope of the book is definitely broader than just the martial history of the eponymous military unit: the author delves deep into the some of the most fascinating portions of Roman late Republic and early Imperial history, mostly focusing on the logistic, tactical, and political angles.
I appreciate the effort, and I usually love this sort of stuff, but for a non-academic book, written for the general audience, the level of detail is at times unnecessarily pedantic and kicks the reader straight out of the immersion. Dec 04, Tony rated it liked it Shelves: history-military , history-roman , history-biography. An interesting and enjoyable book that provides a detailed view of some of the major Roman military encounters through the eyes of the 10th Legion.
The most detail is devoted to battles of the civil war that ended the Republic.
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One caveat--Caesar's Legion is meant for readers who are fairly familiar with Roman history of this period. I believe the book would be far less enjoyable if one were not already knowled An interesting and enjoyable book that provides a detailed view of some of the major Roman military encounters through the eyes of the 10th Legion. I believe the book would be far less enjoyable if one were not already knowledgeable regarding the general events described. Jul 31, Brian rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , history. The reason I can't give this book five stars is really the one thing that makes it readable.
As a history book I don't like the "if" factor that kept cropping up every time a "character" was discussed. For example, "If Centurion Crastinus looked to his left he would have seen I know we can't know if he actually looked to his left, but what was there was there, so just say, "to Crastinus' left he saw Apr 22, Nathaniel rated it liked it. Not a bad book. It was nice in that it didn't turn into a biography of Julius Caeser and instead focused on his soldiers. However, once he died sorry if that's a spoiler - I wasn't sure if I needed to mark it as such the book becomes a little rushed.
Feb 01, J. I haven't read much history of this sort, so the transition between character-driven and fact-driven narratives was difficult. I found what I read to be interesting, but - and this is more a comment on format than the content - I was unable to escape the moral questions that for me permeated the tactical sieges and slaughters that make up the history of these campaigns, and in the end I found that I wanted something other than an appropriately dispassionate history. Shelves: robbarrettsaudiobookshelf. Solid work as an introduction to Julius Caeser.
Stephen Dando-Collins paints a vivid and definitive portrait of daily life in the Tenth Legion as he follows Caesar and his men along the blood-soaked fringes of the Empire. This unprecedented regimental history reveals countless previously unknown details about Roman military practices, Caesar's conduct as a commander and his relationships with officers and legionnaires, and the daily routine and discipline of the Legion.
Jul 29, James rated it it was amazing. If you want to really understand the workings of a Roman legion, from selection to death on the battlefield and camaraderie to military pride, this is the book to read. Caesar ably used the Tenth Legion for his own ends, both military and political, a grim testament to the fact that a soldier's life is sometimes to be used and cast away. When I read this book, the men of the Tenth Legion were as real and vivid as if they were standing before me.
Let's say such importance as in later centuries - e. After disbanding such fighting formations they were either totally disbanded to minimize cost or renewed via recruitment in areas of their origin. Only some "military" units from ancient world were remembered to this day - Theban Sacred Company, Persian Immortals and Alexander's own Companions to name the most known - others weren't exactly what might be called military outfits [as they are known today] but either warrior bands Vikings e. As such very few legions had what today would be called a tradition of their own - they existed as part of a greater war machine and their sole purpose was to enforce the will of Rome.
Legions were treated as equal and only quality marker was the age of legionnaires - are they newbie's, seasoned veterans with still some years left to serve or old veterans just itching to go to retirement. Only few legions were remembered like special by historians and Legio X is one of them. Very interesting book. Worth reading, though the writing needs an uptick in quality. A nice bit of history to learn by reading this book.
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