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Brand: Simon Elliott

Sea Eagles To Empire

by Simon Elliott

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Sea Eagles To Empire

The Roman war machine comprised land and naval forces. Although the former has been studied extensively, less has been written and understood about the naval forces of the Roman Empire. Britain's navy, known as Classis Britannica until the mid-third century, was a strong fighting force in its own right.

Its vessel types, personnel, tactics, roles and technology have never been studied in depth. Here in Sea Eagles of Empire Simon Elliott explores the story of this famed naval force, through the reigns of several Roman emperors, discussing the important role it played in military campaigns all across Europe and in policing the waters of the Roman Empire in Britain.

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A great deal has been written about the Romans and their army, but little has been published about their navies and their functions. Simon Elliott has redressed this omission in part by concentrating on the Classis Britannica, the naval unit responsible for the waters around Britain during the first three centuries of occupation of these islands by the Romans. Elliott delivers a very well-researched narrative that presents not only facts from written sources of the time, such as those of Tacitus and Pliny the Elder, but also offers well-argued reasoning for certain assumptions. Not only do we have detailed information on the formation of the Roman navy in general, but also in relation to British waters, and whole chapters devoted to the military and civilian roles carried out by the Classis Britannica. For instance, it was responsible for the oceanic and littoral zones around the British Isles (its headquarters being Boulogne), transport and intelligence gathering, as well as iron manufacturing and quarrying in Kent. The campaigns involving this branch of the Roman navy during all three centuries of its existence are given specific attention, with extremely detailed chapters that not only describe the specific offensives but elaborate on the state of the Roman Empire at the time and how events in Rome as well as the near east impacted on actions in the north-west of the Empire. I found this book very addictive. However, it is probably not to everyone's taste as it does delve quite deep into the history of the time and the whys and wherefores as far as they impact on the Classis Britannica. This book does give a magnificent insight into the complications encountered by Rome of administering an Empire and shows how they utilised all available resources where and when required. Angela Blaydon Friends of The National Archives http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/get-involved/friends.htm Friends of The National Archives