Friday, June 9, 2017

Review: Vindolanda by Adrian Goldsworthy

My edition was a kindle version from Net Gallery.

Briton at the start of the new millennium was of interest - it was the period just after Boudicca led the Iceni revolt and of Cartimandua reign over the Brigantes - so I was especially interested to know how things faired in light of these event. 

Vindolanda was a Roman outpost in the middle on no-man's land - between the safety of the Roman Empire and the wild and rugged domains of the native barbarians (in northern Briton). Hadrian's Wall had not been built so the timber outposts were small, exposed and lonely - despite speculation that numbers may have reach 1000 men. 

And into this we are introduced to the harsh realities of the lives of those troops on the frontline, as seen through the eyes of one Titus Flavius Ferox (a native Briton, now Roman Centurian) and Vindex, head of a band of Brigantine scouts employed by the Romans.  Goldsworthy credibly re-creates the realities of life in a border garrison, from the Roman point of view, where the native Britons are the enemy to be subjugated, and guerilla warfare was the name of the game.

Vindolanda Tablet

A new leader has emerged who is uniting the native tribes, stirred up by an equally enigmatic druid, hell bent on the destruction of Rome. But not all is what it seems, and Ferox is commanded to "always search for the truth". Even today, Vindolanda is slowly giving up its truths as archaeologists discover a veritable treasure trove of everyday artifacts.

Vindolanda is a weighty read - a knowledge of Roman Briton would be an advantage - and further reading about Vindolanda is a must.  

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