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Anonymous

In my searching for good informational books on Roman history and the like I coudn't help, but notice the many books that were written by Michael Grant. What is your opinion in terms of the accuracy, style, etc.....?<br>
~Quintus <p></p><i></i>
I read only his Emperors of Rome. I liked it very much and found interesting and conveniently organized info regards the military activity of each. But I read it years ago and in the mean time I have changed so I am interested also in knowing how he is viewed by the real "experts". Maybe I'll re-read parts. Ciao <p></p><i></i>
In our of my first years at University, we were taught that we were to use Michael Grant's books with care, bordering on suspicion. Some are ok, some are, uhm, not so good.<br>
Just passing on what I learned, after that I never read any books by Grant, I believe.<br>
<br>
Greets<br>
<br>
Jasper <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://pub45.ezboard.com/ujasperoorthuys.showPublicProfile?language=EN>Jasper Oorthuys</A> at: 6/22/01 12:25:40 pm<br></i>

Guest

Salve,<br>
<br>
Grant is a popularising author and his work is not too highly regarded. Of his works I have only read <i> The army of the Caesars</i>, which contains a number of inaccuracies and contains many dated views. For an introduction to the Roman army I would recommend reading L. Keppie's <i> The making of the Roman army</i>, <i> Roman warfare</i> by Goldsworthy or (read: <b> and</b>) Connolly's <i> Greece and Rome at war</i>.<br>
<br>
Regards,<br>
<br>
Sander van Dorst <p></p><i></i>
"Popularizing" -- great term! Very apt in this case. I agree w/ Sander's assessment of Grant.<br>
<br>
<br>
Jenny <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Sander....<br>
What kind of inaccuracies have you seen in his work? <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Yo Quint,<br>
<br>
When I first became interested in the legions (a big year and a half ago, newbies rule!), Grant's "Army of the Caesar's" was the second book I bought (first being HMD Parker's "Roman Legions"). Sander and I have had a similar conversation and he was good enough to offer suggestions for my reading wish list which were quickly accepted. Shortcomings noted, I liked this book. For me, it seemed lighter and it held my interest well. It was the first place I found an answer to what the hell 'SPQR' means. Hey, I read anything I can get ahold of. Personally, I'm waiting for Sander to translate Durry. <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

I also have purchased the book and have enjoyed what I've been reading. I did want to be careful about the inaccuracies though. After reading something it's hard to break the habit of remembering it as fact if it is indeed not true. I have also enjoyed the more digestable explanations of this book. For being a "newbie" *L* I've found some other books difficult to understand. For me the interest has been going on for a couple months so you're even more the expert.<br>
I appreciate your input,<br>
~Quintus<br>
<p></p><i></i>

Guest

Salve,<br>
<br>
There are some instances where there are inconsistencies in the author's narative, eg the use of saddles which are said to be absent in the introduction and then reffered to in the appendix on equipment. Also Marius is said to have rejected conscrption in favour of voluntary enlistment whereas volunteers were sought to supplement rather than replace levied troops. In addition there are instances where the author copies statements from works without checing references. The idea of the <i> scholae</i> being largely barbarian or Germanic, still found in recent publication (eg Barlow, J. and P. Brennan, 'Tribuni scholarum palatinarum c. AD 353-364: Ammianus Marcellinus and the Notitia Dignitatum'in: <i> Classical Quarterly</i> 51 (2001), 237-254, where it is stated that because a couple of officers were Germanic, so must have been the rank and file, a doubtful conclusion given the evidence collected by H. Elton), is not based on firm evidence. In general the use of notes is somewhat haphazard and could have been done in a more ordered fashion.<br>
<br>
Overall, because of criticisms like these this book rates in my opinion lower than some others, which does not mean it's entirely worthless. This is just my view however, no Stalinist official truth, and you are ofcourse entitled to hold a different one. Before I bought it and read it I had already consumed loads of books and articles on the Roman army and that colours one's view and expectations regarding other works. Should reading Grant have awakened your interest in the Roman army, than that is a good thing. My advice however is to read further, preferably as many publications as one can get hold of and form your own opinion. As you go along you become aware of the strengths and shortcomings in particular books.<br>
<br>
Regards,<br>
<br>
<br>
Sander van Dorst <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Thank you Sander.....<br>
It's good to know the kinds of inaccuracies to look out for. Being a "newbie" (as coh3pr put it *L*) I'm not yet able to throughly distinguish between fact and fiction.<br>
Thank you for your input,<br>
~Quintus <p></p><i></i>
Avete!<br>
I believe it was a Michael Grant book I read many years ago, no idea which one but it must have been a translation of a primary source. In any case, his introduction discussed some of his translation philosophies. He refused to use the word "colony" for "colonia" because the Roman concept was different from that of more modern (read "18th century") ideas, and he didn't want to cause confusion. Seemed to me that anyone reading about Roman colonies would pick up any significant differences pretty easily... He also translated "toga" into "GOWN", of all things, and insisted on translating well-known terms like centurio, cohors, and the like into "captain", "battalion", etc. VERY annoying! And yet he left "curule aedile" unchanged--maybe he thought it was self-explanatory?<br>
<br>
Anyway, I found that all very difficult to read, and never read anything by him again. Not just for that reason, though, to be fair! I was diving deeper into technical hardware stuff which he doesn't write about. But obviously it's colored my thinking. Actually, I must have read his book on the army at some point, just don't remember. My recommendation, always go with the more recent authors!<br>
<br>
Valete,<br>
Matthew/Quintus, Legio XX <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Old as this topic is, I feel I jsut have to jump in.<br>
<br>
The criticisms of Grant are, I think, by and large valid. There is nothing wrong with being a popularizer, in this day and age when classical studies are almost moribund, at least here in the U.S.<br>
<br>
Grant is far more interested in the social implications of history than the technical details. He makes a good introduction to the study of Rome and things Roman, and he is usually more "readable" than the better sources.<br>
<br>
As for reading him with suspicion: <b> all scholarly works should be read with suspicion, or at least, a seriously critical attitude.</b> No one has an exclusive grasp of or insite on reality. Only the Pope or a bishop or cardinal can speak "ex cathedra." Read multiple works on a subject, and decide for yourself which, if any seems to be the most worthwhile. <p>Salve,<br>
Triarius<br>
One of the pack, maybe. One of the herd, <i>NEVER!</I></p><i></i>