Book Review: Imperial Roman Warships 27 BC 193 AD by Raffaele D’Amato.


Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: Osprey Publishing (UK) (20 Jan. 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1472810899

This is a series that has something to say. Picking up were he left off with Republican Roman Warships, Raffaele D’Amato introduces us to the Navy of the Empire. Much as in other cases once the great fleet actions were over no one pays much attention to the navy. Indeed the Roman Navy is best known in its struggle against Carthage and its role during the civil wars.
But as with most things about the Republican armed forces, it did not represent the true Roman navy.

This title sheds some light on how the Imperial Fleet built the Roman Empire, and the tactics and equipment it used to do so. From the protection of trade routes, to the ferrying of armies to distant locations, to pontoon bridges, to river campaigns the Roman Fleet was the oil that greased the wheels of Roman military expansion.
Without the security of sea power Rome could not have grown, it would have economically stagnated and history would have been changed forever.

Broken into sections that deal with notable campaigns, ships, and tactics, this book is rich in detail and Giuseppe Rava once more provides vivid and colourful artwork that demonstrates the colour and grace of the vessels and violence of warfare in the Roman Navy. Unlike in the army the Greek and Phoenician influence on the Imperial Fleet never died away, words, tactics and classes of ship often retained clues to their origins.

Readers will find out how the Roman Navy adapted from a battle fleet, useful for massed action and amphibious assaults, to a more flexible series of commands dotted around the empire, dependant not only on its big galleys but especially on smaller, faster craft capable of multiple duties. A great insight into the intricacies of ancient naval forces, drawing on recent and tried and true sources in literature and archeology this book and its predecessor are to be highly recommended.


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