The Navies of Rome

March 2009
10 colour, 24 line illustrations
384 pages
24x17.2 cm
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS002020, HIS027150

The Navies of Rome

Michael Pitassi


Hardback out of stock

A groundbreaking new chronological study of the role played by the Navy in the successful development of the Roman Empire.
This publication represents the first true examination of the Roman Navy as an independent arm of the military. Though many may perceive the Roman Empire as a primarily land based organisation, an empire forged by the formidable legions of infantry, the truth is that the Roman Empire was as much a maritime empire as that of the British in the nineteenth century, and in fact the Roman Navy was the most powerful maritime force ever to have existed. It secured the trade routes and maintained the communications that allowed the Roman Empire to exist. It brought previously untouchable and unreachable enemies to battle and enabled the expansion of Imperial power into areas thought hitherto inaccessible. In the Mediterranean its power was un-rivalled and it maintained bases scattered around the coasts of Western Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

At the height of its power the Roman Navy employed tens of thousands of sailors, marines and craftsmen who manned and maintained a fleet of warships numerically far larger than anything in existence today. And yet this fascinating aspect of Roman rule has remained largely unstudied. Structured around a detailed chronology of the establishment, development and eventual decline of Rome's sea going forces, this work examines the role of naval warfare in the construction of Europe's first great empire. Bringing together archaeological, pictorial and documentary evidence, it suggests many new avenues for research and highlights a long overlooked arena of naval scholarship.

Table of Contents

Introduction - Michael Pitassi
General Chronology
Beginnings: Foundation to the First Punic War, 753 to 264 B.C.
A Great Naval Power: The First Punic War, 264 to 218 B.C.
Interbellum & The Struggle Resumed, 218 to 201 B.C.
The Growth of Empire: 201 to 86 B.C.
The Road to Civil War. 86 to 44 B.C.
End of the Republic- Start of Principate. 44 B.C. to A.D.13
The Early Empire - A.D. 12 to 70
Apogee and Nadir - A.D. 71 to 285
The Late Empire. Renewal and Decline. A.D. 285 to 476
Appendix I: The Kings and Emperors of Rome
Appendix II: Navy Personnel Ranks
Appendix III: Suggested Crew Levels of Ship Types
Appendix IV: Glossary of Place Names
Appendix V: Glossary of Nautical Terms


Both welcome and useful. [...] This is a narrative history as well as a focused study of the development of the ships, officers, and crews and the overall naval establishment. Recommended. CHOICE
The first comprehensive history of Roman fleets from their inception to the end of the Roman empire in the West. [...] An interesting and handy overview of military Rome on sea and river. ANCIENT WARFARE

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