Legions in Crisis: Transformation of the Roman Soldier AD 192–284

Legions in Crisis: Transformation of the Roman Soldier AD 192–284

Product no.: 978-1-78155-334-3
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The Roman Empire stumbled and almost fell in the 3rd century AD, weighed down by civil war, usurpers, invasion, plague and inflation. Rome teetered on the brink of disaster. Legions in Crisis looks at the crippling body blows inflicted on the Roman Empire during this 3rd century trauma. In particular it charts the changes that the legions underwent, sometimes by imperial decree, at other times through necessity. The idea of the legions as an unchangeable, undefeatable elite is challenged here as we see the army transformed along with its equipment and weaponry.

The book begins by explaining how the changes in the period 200 – 300 first came about, moves on to look in detail at the legions and how they started to differ in organisation and weaponry to those of the past, then moves back to chart the bloody military history of the end of the 3rd century.

Key events that shape our understanding are explained, including the rise of Septimius Severus, the fall of Dura Europus and the tough stance of the eastern queen, Zenobia. Discussion of artefacts, equipment, clothing and weaponry is enhanced through the experiments and reconstructions of the author who has specialized in the 3rd century Roman period.


Paul Elliott has a degree in ancient history and archaeology and writes books on military history. Previous titles include The Last Legionary, Warrior Cults and Vietnam: Conflict & Controversy. He has also written articles on Roman military history for Ancient Warfare magazine. Paul has been involved in historical reconstruction for the past decade, in particular he has experimented with bronze casting, flint knapping, slinging and the fabrication of Roman shield types. He lives in East Yorkshire with his wife, Christine and son, John.

Dimensions: 233 x 156 mm
Binding: hardback
Pages: 176
Illustrations: 32 colour photographs

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