Imperial Roman Warships 27 BC–193 AD, Osprey New Vanguard 230 Book Review


Imperial Roman Warships 27 BC–193 AD, New Vanguard 230

by Raffaelle D’Amato, illustrated by Giuseppe Rava

Series: New Vanguard Book 230

Paperback, 48 pages

Published by Osprey Publishing January 2016

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1472810899

ISBN-13: 978-1472810892

Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.2 x 9.5 inches

Imagine taking any major navy and attempting to describe every type of warship they operated over a two hundred year time span, using terms specific to that navy and the various types of vessel.  Now add in an overview of the campaigns in which they participated, with names of places and commanders which are likely new to the reader.  Then take all that information and condense it into a format which only allows 48 pages for text and illustrations.

The result is a confusing jumble of unfamiliar terms.  While it is apparent D’Amato has mastered the subject, the narrative is bewildering and ungrounded, the story just does not flow.  I found myself confused by the over use of Roman terms and names, and never did gain a clear understanding of the specifics of the many types of vessels described, nor what drove their development.  The advantages of one type over another is unclear, and the factors which determined their tactical employment and suitability is a mystery.

If you are well versed in Roman battles, geography, generals, and naval terms, then this may be a useful overview.  If you are looking to gain an understanding of the Roman navy but are not already familiar with the topic, you will find this book confusing.