At the end of February 1993, Batsford Books published the first edition of our Roman Military Equipment from the Punic Wars to the Fall of Rome (B&C1). This was effectively an expansion of the ideas we put forward in our short booklet, also called Roman Military Equipment, published by Shire Books in 1989 (B&C0). When Batsford divested themselves of their archaeology list, we published our 2nd edition with Oxbow Books in 2006 (B&C2).
We have been considering producing a 3rd edition of Roman Military Equipment (B&C3) for some time. For us, certain conditions had to be met to justify this, not least sufficient new and interesting finds which affect the story we wish to tell. At the same time, we have decided to expand the compass of the book chronologically, by extending the start and end points. We will also add pointers to the equipment of the principal enemies that Rome faced, particularly where this had a bearing on the development of Rome’s own equipment. We also felt that, just as with the transition from B&C1 to B&C2, B&C3 should have revised illustrations. New items will be substituted at various points where they better support the text.
Whenever a new edition of a book is published it is a legitimate concern that it will be the same as the last, plus corrections, and thus not worth the additional purchase (we have all been caught out by this in the past). Rest assured that, just as B&C2 was massively expanded and updated from B&C1, B&C3 with be covering new chronological ground, new areas of study, new discoveries, and have an even more packed bibliography.
Not everybody wants and needs the large book, however. To cover more popular interest in military equipment, we will be producing a short (and cheaper) introductory booklet, equivalent to the 1989 Shire booklet (but in full colour and also with revised illustrations), as well as an accompanying educational wall poster. To avoid confusion with its bigger brother (as happened with the original volume), this will be titled An Introduction to Roman Military Equipment.
The source books
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, we wanted to introduce some completely new elements as part of the project: freely accessible source material to back up (or perhaps even allow the reinterpretation of) our text. To this end we will be simultaneously producing three open access source books (with appropriate Creative Commons licences) of literary, representational, and archaeological evidence. We hope that these will be downloadable for free in digital format but will also be available to be purchased as hardcopies, for those who are fans of pulped dead trees.
To support the study of Roman military equipment even further, there will be a categorised bibliography accessible in standard formats such as BibTeX. This will be just one of several new elements we will add to this website. Further additions will include a comprehensive glossary of military equipment terminology and a gallery of artefacts, replicas, and 3D reconstructions of Roman militaria, as well as a list of museums (with contact details) which contain important collections of military equipment and/or relevant iconographic material. There will also be a Roman military equipment bookshop (both popular and more technical volumes), proceeds from which will help fund the costs of this website. Finally, we will provide links to downloadable ebooks on the subject of equipment and this will include searchable PDF versions of B&C0 and B&C1.
We have other ideas (such as a series of podcasts) that we may well include in the project in due course. The current text, notes, and bibliography update file stands at more than 16K words. A proportion of which is substitution, rather than just addition (B&C2 is about 123K words, including index). We have not signed a contract and do not as yet have a publication date, since work on this project is still in progress. When we have more news, we will make it available here.