|Publication Date||March 19, 2009|
This publication represents the first true examination of the Roman Navy as an independent arm of the military. Though many may perceive the Roman Empire as a primarily land based organisation, an empire forged by the formidable legions of infantry, the truth is that the Roman Empire was as much a maritime empire as that of the British in the nineteenth century, and in fact the Roman Navy was the most powerful maritime force ever to have existed. It secured the trade routes and maintained the communications that allowed the Roman Empire to exist. It brought previously untouchable and unreachable enemies to battle and enabled the expansion of Imperial power into areas thought hitherto inaccessible. In the Mediterranean its power was un-rivalled and it maintained bases scattered around the coasts of Western Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. At the height of its power the Roman Navy employed tens of thousands of sailors, marines and craftsmen who manned and maintained a fleet of warships numerically far larger than anything in existence today. And yet this fascinating aspect of Roman rule has remained largely unstudied. Structured around a detailed chronology of the establishment, development and eventual decline of Rome's sea going forces, this work examines the role of naval warfare in the construction of Europe's first great empire. Bringing together archaeological, pictorial and documentary evidence, it suggests many new avenues for research and highlights a long overlooked arena of naval scholarship.