Roman Standards & Standard-Bearers (1): 112 BC - AD 192

Published: January 23rd, 2018     
Product Image
Author: Raffaele D’Amato
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus - IPMS# 35035
ISBN #: 978-1-4728-2180-5
E-Book ISBN #: 1472821807
Other Publication Information: Soft Bound ; 7.3” x 9.8”, 64 pages
Price: $19.00
Product / Stock #: 221

Dr Raffaele D'Amato is an experienced researcher of the ancient and medieval military worlds. After achieving his first PhD in Romano-Byzantine Law, and having collaborated with the University of Athens, he gained a second doctorate in Roman military archaeology. He currently works in Istanbul at the Fatih University as visiting Professor for the TUBITAK (Turkish Government Research Institution) on a project linked to the arms and armour of Rome and Byzantium. He has authored or co-authored over a dozen books for Osprey.

Born in 1950, Peter Dennis is an accomplished illustrator having contributed hundreds of books, including many Osprey Publishing titles. Peter studied at the Liverpool Art College and has been working as a professional artist and illustrator since 1991. Peter Dennis is also afflicted with the modeling bug and is a keen war-gamer terrorizing other war-gaming aficionados near Snowdonia Nation Park in North Wales. Check out his website at

Osprey's 221st book in the Elite series is a square back soft cover includes 64 gloss paper pages. The cover painting by Peter Dennis appears on page 37 in this book. It illustrates the Trajanic period and commemorates Trajan's First and Second Dacian Wars. I counted 59 photographs, 46 in color and 13 black and white. There also 29 eight color illustrations, and 3 black and white drawings. This is the first volume of a two-part series.

The Roman Standard (Signa) was essentially a way of communicating field actions in battle. A source of pride to the Roman legion or cavalry, the Roman Standard Bearer was also a primary target of the opposing side. A good Standard Bearer could easily be granted hero status by rallying the troops. Roman Standards were often emblazoned with an animal with the eagle (Aquila) probably the most recognized. Roman Standard Bearers would wear special armor garnished with the heads and pelts of bears, boars, wolves, horses, lions, and even minotaurs. The more than sixty standards they carried also varied from portraits of the emperor, flags, and windsocks.

The sections include:

  • Introduction
    • The Meaning of the Standards
    • Late Consular Period [Page 7]
    • Sources for Research
  • The Legions: Late Consular Period
    • Distribution: The Aquila
    • The Legion's Vexillum
    • Signa: Maniples or Cohorts? [Page 20]
    • The Augusto-Claudian Period
    • Appearance: The Aquila
    • The Legion's Vexillum
    • Signa of Legionary Units
  • The Legions: Early Imperial period
    • Distribution
    • The Claudio-Neroninan Period
    • Appearance: The Aquila
    • The Flavian Period
    • The Legionary Vexillum
    • The Imago
    • The Genius Legionis
    • The Chapel of Standards
    • Signa of the Legionary Units - Cohortes, Centuriae and Manipuli [Page 31]
    • Miscellaneous Standards
  • Imperial Guard Standards
    • Praetorian Cohorts
    • Praetorian Aquila
    • The Trajanic Period (I)
    • Other Praetorian Signa
  • Standards of the Auxilia
    • Distribution
    • Appearance
    • The Trajanic Period (II)
    • The Cavalry Vexillum [Page 45]
    • Cavalry Imagines and Signa
  • Standard-Bearers
    • Career
    • Uniforms & Equipment
    • The Antonine-Aurelian Period
    • Headgear
    • Body Armour
    • Belts and Swords [Page 55]
    • Shields
    • Clothing and Footwear
    • Military Decorations
  • Standard-Bearers in Battle
    • Standards of the 1st Century BC-2nd Century AD
    • The Column of March
  • Select Bibliography
  • Index

I really appreciated the structure that Dr Raffaele D'Amato provides and as a bonus, you get to bone up on your Latin. I found the section on the Draco to be very interesting. This was an adaptation for the cavalry that was probably introduced during the reign of Hadrian. This consisted of a bronze dragon head with trailing wind socks that no doubt made a spectacular entrance with the cavalry. The photographs support the text, with most being in color, albeit of rather black and white statues or other carvings. Dr Raffaele D'Amato brings his expertise and the latest research to the table with this excellent tome that represents the first part, covering 112 BC-AD 192. Peter Dennis' illustrations help depict the variety of attire of the Roman Standard Bearer and the Standards themselves.

This is a great reference for the figure modeler for this era. The color plates provide a great depiction of the typical attire, as well as the wide variety of Standards in use at the time. I am looking forward to the second part of this work. If you own one the previous releases in the Elite series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.

My thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035

  • Back Cover
    Back Cover
  • Page 07
    Page 07
  • Page 20
    Page 20
  • Page 31
    Page 31
  • Page 45
    Page 45
  • Page 55
    Page 55

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