Roman soldiers

1/2500th of a legion (approximately)

If, like me, you were thoroughly mediocre in most subjects at school, the discovery that there was something that inspired passion within you, stretched your brain until you thought it might snap, but never quite gave you all the answers, was redemption encapsulated.

The first book on the Romans I ever bought was R. H. Barrow’s Pelican volume entitled, quite simply, The Romans. I acquired it on a school trip to Bath, unaware that on the other side of the Abbey was the house of Marshall Wade, usually (and quite mistakenly) attributed with the destruction of some 30 miles of Hadrian’s Wall in order to build a road. Next came Graham Webster’s The Roman Imperial Army (amazingly still one of the best books on the subject), then The Sunday Times Roman Army Wallchart, and the rest, as they say, is ancient history, with a little help from one of those inspirational teachers government adverts for the teaching profession like to talk about (except Mr Fielding was real, not the product of the tortured imagination of some desperate advertising copywriter).

Thus the Romans, as pert a bunch of people as ever there were and, it has to be said (in true Sellars and Yeatman fashion), generally A Good Thing.