Roman Conquests: Britain written by Dr Simon Elliott and published by Pen & Sword Books – £14.99 – Hardback – Pages 240

The Roman Conquests series seeks to explain when and how the Romans were able to conquer a vast empire stretching from the foothills of the Scottish Highlands to the Sahara Desert, from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf. How did their armies adapt to and overcome the challenges of widely varied enemies and terrain?

In this volume, Dr Simon Elliott draws on the latest research and archaeological evidence to present a new narrative of the conquest (never completed) of Britain. From Julius Caesar’s initial incursions in 55 and 54 BC, through the Claudian invasion of 43 AD and the campaigns of expansion and pacification thereafter, he analyses the Roman army in action. The weapons, equipment, organization, leadership, strategy and tactics of the legions and their British foes are described and analysed. The ferocity of the resistance was such that the island was never wholly subdued and required a disproportionate military presence for the duration of its time as a Roman province.

Roman Conquests: Britain has been one of those books I have been hoping to read as it’s one of the subject matters I would love to get further into. Having last done about the Romans back in my high school days when doing a group project on the Roman Empire, has since then always been a great fascination for me from a political, military and social viewpoint.

One of the fascinating points I have always had with the Roman Empire is looking at how it grew to cover such a huge area such as Europe, and to see how much effect it had on a country like ours when it is on the furthest outreaches of its conquested area. Another point I wanted to find out more about from this book was the organisation of the Romans, what did they do, how much effect did they have, was it easy and was there much push back from the peoples’ living in Britain at the time. In some ways, we learn from this book that there is a lot still in Britain, that comes from the Romans such as its transport system, the layout of towns and cities where and why, and of course we shouldn’t be surprised that the Romans had to fight tooth and nail for everything and piece of land, having to build forts and defensive walls to consolidate what they had earned. Plus we can’t be surprised that the Scots seemed to give them the most trouble and push back.

The author Simon Elliott gives what seems to me, a well balanced and informed book, he explains a wide range of information and subjects such as politics, government, organisation, weaponry, armies and logistics. It rightly seems Simon deserves our respect as a leading award-winning broadcasting historian/archaeologist, and I loved the fact that some of the pictures and models belonged to the author himself. Talking of the pictures in this book there are some great photos, drawings, models in the book that really add to the book and the writing. There is also a great timeline and bibliography at the back of the book, and the timeline gives the reader a good basis of knowledge to use through the book or to go on for further reading.

This book Roman Conquests: Britain written by Dr Simon Elliott is a great book, full of fascinating details and information covering the Romans conquest of Britain. A very informed book, covers a wide range of time in an easy and understandable way, this book is certainly one I would recommend for the beginner to the subject or the person who already knows quite a bit. So much so that this has spurred me on more to get back into reading more about the Roman Empire. My thanks go to Rosie at Pen & Sword Books for allowing me to review this book.