There is a tendency when dealing with world superpowers to focus on their successes. After all, these are what made them superpowers in the first place. However, reverses and disasters suffered on the way to preeminence are equally significant. The experience of ancient Rome is no different. This book is the first to examine the paradoxical role lost battles and defeat played in the success of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. Over some 1200 years, the Romans proved adept at learning from military disaster and this was key to their eventual success and hegemony. Roman Military Disasters covers the most pivotal and decisive defeats, from the Celtic invasion of 390 BC to Alaric’s sack of Rome in AD 410. Paul Chrystal details the politics and strategies leading to each conflict, how and why the Romans were defeated, the tactics employed, the generals and the casualties. However, the unique and crucial element of the book is its focus on the aftermath and consequences of defeat and how the lessons learnt enabled the Romans, usually, to bounce back and win.
ROMAN MILITARY DISASTERS Dark Days and Lost Legions
This is a valuable book that lists and presents under the title “Roman military disasters” sixty or so decisive and significant defeats” ranging from the Gallic invasion in the early fourth century BC and the first sac of Rome to the second sac of Rome in 410 AD by Alaric. Alongside the better known disasters, such as Cannae, Carrhae, Teutoburg Forest or Adrianople, there are also a number of lesser known ones, including some – such as Arausio against the Cimbri and Teutones – were the Romans suffered horrendous losses that exceeded some of the better known events.