RomanArmyTalk

Full Version: Cavalry book: worth the price?
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2
This book has been on my Abebooks watch list for eons it seems; it is always over $100 US. I can't remember where I heard of it initially, though it may be because it talks about republican cavalry, but has anyone seen/read this book and can say where it fits vis a vis the other cavalry books out there?

McCall, Jeremiah B.
The Cavalry of the Roman Republic
Hi Richard,

Quote: McCall, Jeremiah B.
The Cavalry of the Roman Republic

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek here in Munich has it. I ordered it and will get it mid next week - I'll let you know more then ....
Is it still in print? What is the cover price?
Quote:Is it still in print? What is the cover price?

ah, sorry, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is the Bavarian State Library here in Munich, and I'm afraid they won't be willing to sell theirs ;-) ) ...
I just came across the book on Amazon.co.uk
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cavalry-Roman-R ... 53&sr=1-12
and was also wondering if it was worth the price, especially when the original question hasn't been answered!
Martin? Anyone?
Quote:... has anyone seen/read this book and can say where it fits vis a vis the other cavalry books out there?
Harry Sidebottom (review in Classical Review 2004): "This engaging short work will the first port of call for its subject, and should encourage further research." He points out that it covers ca. 300-100 BC (so, strictly speaking, "Middle Republic" rather than "Middle and Late" as in the title).

J.E. Lendon (review in Classical Journal 2004): "excellent", "McCall's approach to the Roman army is so fresh that even he found it a little terrifying, and so drew back from pushing his conclusions to their ends" (referring to the cultural context of Roman aristocratic cavalry). Sounds intriguing.

Quote:Is it still in print? What is the cover price?
Yes. Seventy pounds sterling!
Thanks, Duncan. I'd love to just splash out that much, but I might check out the libraries first, and see what I think. £70 is half a leather scutum cover from Peroni!
This quite a specialist subject of course, and hardly a best-seller which goes a long way to explaining the price for a (relatively) short book - some 200 pages or so.

As mentioned, it really refers to the middle Republic, and is specifically about the Roman citizen 'equites' roughly 300 BC to their demise in the first C BC. In essence, it is McCall's PhD Thesis in book form, and as such is probably more for the specialist reader then the general one, and of course excellently referenced in footnotes/endnotes, well indexed and has a full bibliography.

It's eight chapters cover:
1 Cavalry service and elite reputations: the
problem of the citizen cavalry’s disappearance P.1

-sets out service, and the myth that Roman citizen cavalry were 'ineffective', hence replaced by 'auxiliary' cavalry, and demonstrates that this view is completely wrong.

2 Assessing the Roman cavalry’s military
effectiveness P.13

- gives details of the history of the citizen cavalry, setting out its many successes until meeting Hannibal's cavalry, and subsequent changes to equipment etc as recorded by Polybius, see also....

3 Equipment and tack P.26
-examines the equipment of the Roman citizen cavalry.

4 Roman cavalry tactics circa 300–100 P.53 -self explanatory.

5 Combat motivation: cavalry service and elite
reputations P.78
- the importance of 'virtus' and service in the 'equites' as the path to distinction.

6 Dating the disappearance of the citizen cavalry
corps P.100
-discussion of just when service as cavalry by 'Equites' died out.

7 Alternative sources of prestige and the end of
citizen cavalry service P.114
- how the 'Equites' as a class grew so wealthy that military service as mere cavalry troopers died out due to social and economic change.

8 Conclusion P.137

All in all, an excellent book that successfully debunks a long-held myth - that Roman citizen cavalry were not much good. Is it worth the money? As the only work on its subject matter, it is up to the reader to decide for themselves whether their interest justifies the price..........
Sold! I gave in after seeing the chapter headings, for which thank you, Paullus Scipio. I'd especially like to read about the debunking of the myth about citizen cavalry being no good, and soon I'll be able to!
Have a look here:
[link removed. This material is still clearly in copyright]
Greets

Andreas
This is an interesting thread.....Peroni is charging how much for scutum covers?
Quote:This is an interesting thread.....Peroni is charging how much for scutum covers?
Quote:£70 is half a leather scutum cover from Peroni!
Top half, or bottom half ? Smile
And if you like Jeremiah B McCall's thesis, it might interest you to know he is now working on a biography of Marcellus, which will be a bargain by comparison at a mere £20. Should be out late 2011, early 2012.

Phil Sidnell
Commissioning Editor
Pen & Sword Books
I've read McCall's book from cover to cover, and it's an excellent read. His argument for the dating of the change from light armed Roman cavalry to heavier armed taking place during the Second Punic War is well put, as is his theory that Rome started using auxiliary cavalry units rather than her own not because citizen cavalry was inferior to the Republic's enemies, but because the priorities of first century young equestrians were very different to those of such men in the third and second centuries.

I'd definitely go with his arguments. They make so much sense - although they haven't been proved.

Well worth the purchase - especially now that a paperback is coming out at the far more reasonable price of £23.50. (See Amazon.)
It so happens that my family picked up on this and bought me the book! Good one too.
Pages: 1 2