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Haynes marches in with a new Roman Soldier Operations Manual

Quis, Quid, Ubi, Cur, Quomodo, Quando?
2nd August 2019
Simon Forty
Thursday, 25 July, 2019


2nd August 2019: The history of the Roman Empire and its military prowess resounds through the ages. But how did a small city state in Latium achieve such prominence, and build an empire against which all other empires are measured? The answer is, in part, Rome’s legions. Now, Haynes’ latest title, Roman Soldier Operations Manual, sheds light on the daily life of Roman soldiers – officers, centurions, legionaries and auxiliaries – covering everything from fighting tactics to weapons, equipment clothing and kit.

At its height, the Roman Empire covered five million square kilometres and held sway over 70 million people. It was Roman soldiers who conquered this territory and made the empire safe from external menaces – such as the Carthaginians, Parthians and ‘barbarians’ – and who defeated fierce tribal leaders such as Boudicca in Britain and Vercingetorix in Gaul. Haynes’ Roman Soldier Operations Manual uses accessible text and the latest research to provide details of the weapons, fighting formations and battle tactics that led to their success. 

The manual, written by military historian Simon Forty, provides a concise history of Roman warfare from 750BC to AD300. The lavishly illustrated book features over 200 photographs and illustrations including contemporaneous statues and bas-reliefs, modern interpretations and re-enactments, to build a picture of a Roman soldier’s daily life.  

Talking about the manual, author Simon Forty explained: “The ancient world has left us many landmarks, but few can compare to the permanence of Roman remains. Roads, aqueducts, walls, cities, villas and forts: hardly a country in Western Europe or around the Mediterranean is without a permanent feature that announces the presence of Rome. 

“Rome was not always a major force in Western Europe. Indeed, until the third century BC, it wasn’t even the major force on the Italian Peninsula. The growth of Roman territory, from its legendary founding to its dominance of the Western world, took more than 750 years. As with all legends, it’s difficult to separate truth from fantasy and there are plenty of stories covering Rome’s rise to control first Latium and then Italy. 

“This book examines the Roman soldier from the founding of the city of Rome to the end of the Principate – the term used to cover the period initiated by the accession of the first emperor, Augustus, and ended by the arrival of Domitian and the Tetrarchy. It covers the development of the Roman war machine from what was, essentially, a Greek hoplite army to the all-conquering legions that dominated the Mediterranean world.  In writing this manual, I was keen to bring to life how Roman soldiers lived both on and off duty as they did much more than just battle. Whilst they maintained internal order, crushed rebellions by subjects or slaves, and provided the necessary muscle for imperial governors, I wanted to highlight details such as what they were paid, what they ate and what happened to them when they retired.” 

The Roman Soldier Operations Manual is a must-read for history fans wanting to discover more about the day to day life of Roman soldiers of all ranks and in all theatres — from the deserts of Africa to the wilds of Scotland. 


Title details

Roman Soldier Operations Manual is priced at £22.99 in the UK and available from The book number is H6565. The ISBN is 9781785215650. It is published in August 2019.


About the author

Simon Forty was educated at Sedbergh School and London University’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies. He has been involved in publishing history titles for over three decades and specializes in military history, having contributed to a large number of books, including Hadrian’s Wall and 100 Innovations of the Industrial Revolution, for Haynes. 

The author is available for interview - contact:


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