[By Nic Lindh on Friday, 31 March 2006]
In Casar’s Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar’s Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome, Stephen Dando-Collins has created a comprehensive history of the famed Legio X, known as the Roman Empire’s finest fighting unit.
The book covers the legion from the time it was raised by Julius Caesar in Spain until its end in Syria centuries later, interweaving the broad scope of the historical events in which the legion played a part and gritty details of military organization, tactics, and weaponry.
Dando-Collins is at his best when sticking to the known details of the daily life of the men and the battles and maneuvers in which Legia X took part, but stumbles a little bit narratively when covering the political shenanigans that tore the Roman Empire apart—unless the reader is already intimately familiar with the naked power grabs of succeeding emperors and emperors-to-be, things become a bit blurry.
Added to the sometimes slightly out-of-focus feel is that naturally when discussing events that transpired over two millennia ago, a lot of detail has been lost through the ages, and a fair amount of interpretation is needed.
Nevertheless, Dando-Collins writes in a breezy, easy-to-read style, and the human drama of Legio X is well-presented.
Recommended both for military history buffs and people interested in the Roman Empire.
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