Adopted from the Celts in the 1st century BC, the spatha, a lethal and formidable chopping blade, became the primary sword of the Roman soldier in the Later Empire. Over the following centuries, the blade, its scabbard, and its system of carriage underwent a series of developments, until by the 3rd century AD it was the universal sidearm of both infantry and cavalry. Thanks to its long reach, the spatha was the ideal cavalry weapon, replacing the long gladius hispaniensis in the later Republican period. As the manner in which Roman infantrymen fought evolved, styles of hand-to-hand combat changed so much that the gladius was superseded by the longer spatha during the 2nd century AD. Like the gladius, the spatha was technologically advanced, with a carefully controlled use of steel. Easy maintenance was key to its success and the spatha was designed to be easily repaired in the field where access to a forge may have been limited. It remained the main Roman sword into the Late Roman period and its influence survived into the Dark Ages with Byzantine, Carolingian and Viking blades. Drawing together historical accounts, excavated artefacts and the results of the latest scientific analyses of the blades, renowned authority M.C. Bishop reveals the full history of the development, technology, training and use of the spatha: the sword that defended an empire.
There are a wide range of ancient weapons from around the globe. Ancient weapons are often advancements on the earlier phase of weapons development, the primitive weapons man first created for hunting and warfare. However, some have no primitive predecessors, like the sword. Swords can only be crafted through a forging process that had not been invented in the earliest phase of weapon construction. Ancient weapons come in three forms, ranged weapons, melee (close combat) and siege weapons. Many of these weapons, like the sword, are almost universally known while others like the bizarre hunga-munga are little known and defy classification. The age of ancient weapons technically ended with the dawn of the medieval period, but these human powered weapons continued to dominate battlefields up until the ascendance of firearms. However, they can still be found on battlefields up to this very day. This book has been written keeping in view the requirements of undergraduate and postgraduate students and research scholars in the area of Military History & weapons and warfare.
This biography of the Roman Emperor Caracalla challenges his tyrannical reputation with a revealing narrative of his social reforms and military campaigns. Caracallahas one of the worst reputations of any Roman Emperor. Many ancient historians were very hostile, and the 18th century English historian Edward Gibbon even dubbed him the common enemy of mankind. Yet his reign was considered by at least one Roman author to be the apogee of the Roman Empire. He was guilty of many murders and massacres—including that of his own brother, ex-wife and daughter. Yet he instituted the Antonine Constitution, granting citizenship to all free men in the Empire. He was also popular with the army, improving their pay and cultivating the image of sharing their hardships. Historian Ilkka Syvanne explains how the biased ancient sources in combination with the stern looking statues of the emperor have created a distorted image of the man. He then reconstructs a chronology of Caracalla’s reign, focusing on his military campaigns and reforms, to offer a balanced view of his legacy. Caracalla offers the first complete overview of the policies, events and conflicts he oversaw and explains how and why these contributed to the military crisis of the third century.